The FBI’s annual crime report is decidedly lighter this year. For reasons unknown, the first report released during the Trump administration is 70 percent lighter on data tables compared to previous years. Clare Malone and Jeff Asher at FiveThirtyEight discovered the missing data:
Every year, the FBI releases a report that is considered the gold standard for tracking crime statistics in the United States: the Crime in the United States report, a collection of crime statistics gathered from over 18,000 law-enforcement agencies in cities around the country. But according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight, the 2016 Crime in the United States report — the first released under President Trump’s administration — contains close to 70 percent fewer data tables than the 2015 version did, a removal that could affect analysts’ understanding of crime trends in the country. The removal comes after consecutive years in which violent crime rose nationally, and it limits access to high-quality crime data that could help inform solutions. It is impossible to say how much raw information was omitted in this report, so instead we’re measuring the change in the number of these data tables from 2015 to 2016.
Published under the auspices of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the Crime in the United States report contains national data on homicides, violent crimes, arrests, clearances and police employment that has been collected since the 1960s. The UCR’s report is an invaluable resource for researchers who track national crime trends and is a rich reference database for journalists and members of the general public who are interested in official crime statistics. Among the data missing from the 2016 report is information on arrests, the circumstances of homicides (such as the relationships between victims and perpetrators), and the only national estimate of annual gang murders.
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