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Method of Collecting Data

Reporting Procedures

Law enforcement agencies report the number of known index crime offenses from their records of complaints from victims, reports form witnesses and from crimes discovered by the agency during its operations. Reports that are later determined to be unfounded are eliminated from the totals. The resulting number of 'offenses known to law enforcement officials' is reported without regard to whether arrests were made, stolen property recovered or prosecution took place. Agencies report additional information on the value of property stolen and recovered, the circumstances surrounding homicides, family violence, hate crimes, and reports of persons arrested for all crimes. The arrest reports are categorized on the basis of age, sex, race and ethnic origin.

Each contributing agency compiles and submits its own crime reports to the UCR program on a monthly basis. To maintain quality and uniformity in the data received, UCR field representatives provide training on detailed procedures for scoring and classifying offenses.

Verification Procedures

A major concern in the collection of crime statistics is the validity and uniformity of the data received. With the receipt of voluntary monthly reports from 950 jurisdictions, the problem of attaining uniformity is readily apparent. Each incoming report is examined for accuracy and reasonableness through the use of numerous cross-checking procedures. While minor errors are corrected by the UCR report verifiers, unusual variations are brought to the attention of the submitting agency by direct contact of a UCR field representative.

Field representation

In compliance with national guidelines and in an effort to ensure the accurate reporting of crime information, the Texas Uniform Crime Reporting Program has assigned five persons to assist local agencies in crime reporting procedures. Based in Austin, each field representative is assigned a specific area and is responsible for assisting local police agencies in the resolution of reporting problems, and contacts non-reporting agencies to enlist their participation in the program.

A great deal of the success of Texas' UCR Program has been due to the full-time field staff assigned to assist local agencies in crime reporting procedures. The program's philosophy is that personal contact is invaluable to the accuracy and uniformity of UCR data received. To further this process, a full-time trainer conducts on-site training programs for local agencies.

Offense Estimation

The Texas UCR program enjoys a high rate of participation among Texas' law enforcement jurisdictions. In 1999, 950 Texas Law Enforcement agencies submitted reports to the DPS' UCR Section. Because UCR relies upon the voluntary participation of these agencies to give a true picture of the total crime in Texas, it is necessary to estimate the crime totals for non-reporting agencies. Using the known crime experiences of similar population areas within the state, crime volumes for non-reporting agencies are proportionally estimated. Through this application of standardized estimating procedures, index crime totals are directly comparable between specific years.

Advisory Groups

The IACP Committee on Uniform Crime Records continues to serve in an advisory capacity to the FBI in the operation of UCR. The National Sheriff's Association, in 1966, established a Committee on Uniform Crime Records to advise the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. This Committee actively encourages full participation in UCR.

Committees on Crime Records within the Texas Police Association and the Sheriff's Association of Texas are active in promoting interest in UCR, fostering widespread use of uniform crime statistics, and lending assistance to contributors when the need exists. The FBI also actively assists in the development of police statistical programs that are compatible with the national system. Nationally, state statistical programs provide the advantage of increased coverage of local law enforcement agencies and, thereby, help to assure the completeness and quality of crime information.