“The GovLab Index: Crime and Criminal Data” provides information about the type of crime and criminal justice data collected, shared and used in the United States. Because it is well known that data related to the criminal justice system is often times unreliable, or just plain missing, this index also highlights some of the issues that stand in the way of accessing useful and in-demand statistics.
Please share any additional statistics and research findings on the use of data within the criminal justice system with us by emailing Ryan at thegovlab.org.
Data Collections: National Crime Statistics
- Number of incident-based crime datasets created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): 2
- Number of years the National Incident Based Reporting System has been in use and has supposed to have replaced the UCR: 28
- Number of U.S. Statistical Agencies: 13
- How many of those are focused on criminal justice: 1, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
- Number of data collections focused on criminal justice the BJS produces: 61
- Number of federal-level APIs available for crime or criminal justice data: 1, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
- Frequency of the NCVS: annually
- Number of Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs), organizations that are essentially clearinghouses for crime and criminal justice data for each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands: 53
Open data, data use and the impact of those efforts
- Number of datasets that are returned when “criminal justice” is searched for on Data.gov: 417, including federal-, state- and city-level datasets
- Number of datasets that are returned when “crime” is searched for on Data.gov: 281
- The percentage that public complaints dropped after officers started wearing body cameras, according to a study done in Rialto, Calif.: 88
- The percentage that reported incidents of officer use of force fell after officers started wearing body cameras, according to a study done in Rialto, Calif.: 5
- The percent that crime decreased during an experiment in predictive policing in Shreveport, LA: 35
- Number of crime data sets made available by the Seattle Police Department – generally seen as a leader in police data innovation – on the Seattle.gov website: 4:
- Major crime stats by category in aggregate
- Crime trend reports
- Precinct data by beat
- State sex offender database
- Number of datasets mapped by the Seattle Police Department: 2:
- 911 incidents
- Police reports
- The year the Tiahart Amendment prevented a firearms trace database from being made public: 2003
- Number of states where risk assessment tools must be used in pretrial proceedings to help determine whether an offender is released from jail before a trial: at least 11.
- Number of federally mandated databases that collect information about officer use of force or officer involved shootings, nationwide: 0
- The year a crime bill was passed that called for data on excessive force to be collected for research and statistical purposes, but has never been funded: 1994
- Number of police departments that committed to being a part of the White House’s Police Data Initiative: 21
- Percentage of police departments surveyed in 2013 by the Office of Community Oriented Policing within the Department of Justice that are not using body cameras, therefore not collecting body camera data: 75
- Number of state and local law enforcement agencies in the United States – each generating data separately – according to the most recent law enforcement agency census conducted by the BJS: 17,985
The criminal justice system
- Parts of the criminal justice system where data about an individual can be created or collected: at least 6
- Entry into the system (arrest)
- Prosecution and pretrial
- All Data Collections, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Accessed August 24, 2015.
- Austin, Roy and Megan Smith. Launching the Police Data Initiative. The White House. May 18, 2015.
- Boyd, Danah, Alexandra Mateescu, Alex Rosenblat. Police Body-Worn Cameras. Datasociety.org. February 2015.
- Chavis Simmons, Kami. No Way to Tell Without a National Database. New York Times. April 9, 2015.
- Crime Mapper. Philadelphia Police Department. Accessed August 24, 2014.
- Federal Law on Tiahart Amendments. Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. May 21, 2012.
- Hollywood, John S., Priscillia Hunt, Jessica Saunders. Evaluation of the Shreveport Predictive Policing Experiment. Rand Corporation. 2014.
- Lyons, Donna. Predicting Pretrial Success: Criminal justice policy is using science to predict risk, helping courts make decisions about the conditions of pretrial release. National Conference of State Legislatures. February 2014.
- National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) API, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Accessed August 24, 2015.
- National Incident-Based Reporting System Resource Guide, National Archive of Criminal Justice Data. Accessed August 24, 2015.
- Newman, Lily Hay. Seattle Police Held a Hackathon to Figure Out How to Redact Body Cam Video Streams. Slate. December 22, 2014.
- Reaves, Brian A. Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008. Bureau of Justice Statistics. July 2011
- Seattle Police Department. Seattle.Gov. Accessed August 24, 2015.
- Statistical Analysis Centers. Justice Research Statistics Association. Accessed August 24, 2015.
- The Justice System. Bureau of Justice Statistcis. Accessed Aug 24, 2015.
- The 1994 Crime Bill United States Congress. Accessed August 24, 2015.
- Uniform Crime Reports. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Accessed August 24, 2015.
- U.S. State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies Census 2008: A BJS Report. Alaska Justice Forum. November 6, 2014.