What is the National Incident-Based Reporting System? What are two advantages and two disadvantages of the NIBR?

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laurniko eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The National Incident-Based Reporting System is a way for law enforcement agencies to collect and share information, including details from crime incidents, offenses within each incident, and information on people and property involved in each crime—both victims and offenders.

One benefit of the NIBRS is that it's much more in-depth than the summary-based system that is often used as an alternative. Including more information about crimes being committed can help law enforcement officials put crimes in context. This "improves the detail and quality of crime data, which will help law enforcement and communities around the country use resources more strategically and effectively," according to the FBI.

Another benefit is that it offers a way to look at crimes against society. Crimes against property and crimes against people are the only two included in older methods of crime reporting. These categories of crimes are called scoring categories. The NIBRS also helps better report the way that people involved in incidents are related to each other.

One problem with the NIBRS is that many law enforcement agencies don't participate, because it can be expensive to transition. Another barrier is that the system initially makes jurisdictions look like they have higher levels of crime because of the way it collects data.

Another problem with the NIBRS is that it doesn't collect information about every type of crime there is. Group A offenses are always reportable, but Group B offenses have to include an arrest to be reportable. Group A offenses include arson, bribery, kidnapping, human trafficking, and homicide. Group B offenses include liquor law violations, trespassing, and peeping tom offenses. This means that some types of crime aren't considered when NIBRS data is being used to decide how resources are allocated.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is a law enforcement system that is used in the collection and reporting of criminal activities. The system works at the local, state, and federal levels, and the data is collected and compiled from all criminal reports made through the different agencies.

The system helps in determining crime levels and patterns that are useful in combating different types of crimes in different areas. Law enforcement agencies have an opportunity to develop and apply highly targeted strategies in dealing with the different incidents.

Advantages of the NIBRS include:

The system records all classified offenses committed by an individual or group. The system takes into account all offenses committed within the same time period, and no preference is made with regards to the level of the classified offenses.

The system has also expanded the definition of different crimes to include previously excluded victims. Additionally, the system also includes crimes against society.

Disadvantages of the system include:

The issue of wrong or mistaken reporting in the initial report distorts the data and causes misrepresentation of the information.

Completeness of the information submitted is not guaranteed especially at the federal level. Additionally, not all officers will record the incidents.

beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There both pros and cons to the National Incident-Based Reporting System, NIBRS, which is way for police to report crimes.

Two positive aspects of this system include the collection of vast amounts of incident based data about crime, and the ability to examine the data in a variety of ways. Fifty-three data elements are amassed for crimes that fall into twenty-two categories. Officials can look at the nature of different offenses, study the characteristics of both the victim and the offender, and examine the value of stolen items. In addition, they can determine characteristics of those arrested for specific types of crimes.

There are also negative aspects to the NIBRS. One of those is that it only collects information about crimes that are known to the police, and another is that it only collects information on crimes that are included in the NIBRS list of serious criminal offenses.