In these tumultuous times, people need to be informed about the problems their community faces. This would enable them to be vigilant and to avoid potential problems. Also, this would give everyone the possibility to know about the progress or regress of the society from the standpoint of crime index. Thus, this report aims at informing the community about the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the strategies used to collect data, and the crime trends in Happy Town, Frown Town, Smooth Town, and Cool Town over the past five years.
The Uniform Crime Reporting Program, UCRP, was founded in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (p. 9), aiming at reliable uniform crime statistics for the entire nation. It has been the starting place for criminologists, sociologists, students of criminal justice, the media, and the public at large, issuing data that represents social indicators. Four annual publications are issued based on data collected by 18,000 agencies that participate in the program voluntarily: Crime in the United States, Hate Crime Statistics, National Incident-Based Reporting System, and Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (p. 9). The plan of the UCR Program includes standardized offense definitions for eight main offense classifications: murder and manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson (p. 10). In 1989 the National Incident-Based Reporting System, NIBRS, was established; later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, began accepting NIBRS data from several agencies. In 2011 already 15 states submitted all their data to via the NIBRS (para 2, https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/aboutucrmain).
The UCR Report makes use of statistical data in order to establish the criminal offense indexes for each locality and that are later issued in the four publications mentioned before. Still, it is unclear how accurate the statistical data is, due to several reasons (p. 10). Not all committed crimes are discovered and some types of crimes may have no identifiable victims (p. 11). Also, not all discovered crimes are reported to or recorded by the police. Lastly, some law enforcement agencies may conceal recorded crimes on purpose when, for example, the offense is an unfounded crime (p. 10).
The UCR issue the best statistics available on crime and still, the data becomes less and less accurate when it does not involve crimes recorded as a measure of crime commission. Therefore, the statistical data may be of help when it comes to police efficiency or allocations to the justice criminal system, but not when measuring the extent of the crime problem. Hence another type of data gathering strategy is needed.
The numerous qualitative methods used in evaluation are classified into three general categories: in-depth interview, observation methods, and document review. As in-depth interviews and observation methods would not be appropriate in this case, newspapers were reviewed in order to gather the necessary data. Thus, this report will further present statistical data collected by the UCR and data gathered from local newspapers analysis.
Upon analyzing statistical data regarding the criminal offenses in Happy Town from the past five years, it is clear that the situation worsened, major crimes increasing in number practically every year. The number of murders and/or manslaughters has risen from none to 7 per year, while the number of forcible rape increased six times (p. 5). The number of larceny-thefts increased by almost 25% (p. 5). The rates of robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft also increased, but just slightly (p. 5). In comparison with the past year, though, there was a five percent increase in major crimes, due to a higher number of thefts (p. 9). As according to the “Happy Town Tribune” newspaper, one of the most memorable cases was the theft of three dozen pairs of socks from Socks for Feet market that helped the police officers discover other major crimes (p. 9). The three suspects have also had cocaine and marijuana in their possession. Later, an unregistered handgun and more marijuana were found in a hotel room connected with the suspects (p. 9).
According to the statistical data, the criminal situation in Frown Town is not as bad as in Happy Town. Over the past five years, the number of murders and/or manslaughters has varied slightly, but no crimes of this type have taken place in the past two years (p. 6). The number of forcible rapes, burglary, and motor vehicle thefts remains stable, while the number of aggravated assaults is at its lowest for the past five years (p. 6). The number of larceny-thefts decreased dramatically last year: by almost 12% in comparison with two years ago (p. 6). The number of robberies has increased in the past five years, but still, it decreased by almost 24% in comparison with the last year (p. 6). There was a 17% drop in the village’s annual crime rate, as according to the “Frown Town Times” (p. 10), a change attributed to criminal investigations, arrests, and community involvement.
The Smooth Town crime statistics indicate that the number of major offenses did not change much. The majority of the numbers vary a little, but remain stable over the past five years, the only bigger change being in the number of burglaries, which increased by almost 45% (p. 7). According to the “Smooth Town Daily”, the major crime is at its lowest in at least five years (p. 11). The low crime rate may have its root in the high median household income, which is 15% higher than the median for the state.
The Cool Town crime statistics show that the criminality rate in this town is among the lowest. There were no murders and/or manslaughters in the last two years, and the number of rapes, aggravated assaults, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts remained stable, while the population of the town increased by 27% (p. 8). The number of larceny-thefts even decreased by 10% (p. 8). The only type of criminal offenses that increased distinguishably in the Cool Town in the last five years is burglary. There were 18 more cases of burglary the last year in comparison with five years ago (p. 8). According to the “Cool Town News”, the criminality rate in the town may be low due to the high median household income and the highly-educated population, 68% of them having a bachelor’s degree (p. 12).
Thus, this report presented information about the foundation, work principles and aims of the UCR Program. It has also mentioned the two strategies used in collecting data for this report, and an analysis of the crime rates in Happy Town, Frown Town, Smooth Town and Cool Town. By using quantitative research, taking statistical information collected by UCR Program, and qualitative research, analyzing information about crimes from local newspapers, it was concluded that the Happy Town has the highest crime rate, while the Cool Town has the lowest crime rate. In comparison with five years ago, the crime rates increased in all localities except Cool Town. Still, compared to the previous year, the situation is relatively better, the crime rate: increasing by 3% in Happy Town and by 1% in Smooth Town, decreasing by 17% in Frown Town and by 18% in Cool Town. In this way, a general progress can be remarked. The main factors proved to ensure a lower crime rate in a locality is the citizens’ higher level of education, as well as a higher median household income.