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Due to lack of participation, FBI won't release quarterly crime stats

The information is collected by the FBI and used to identify trends.

Posted Updated

Ali Ingersoll
, WRAL Investigative Data Journalist

Around this time each year we’d usually be reporting on Federal Bureau of Investigation crime data that would help us understand trends happening around the nation.

This year, though, we won’t be getting those numbers.

The WRAL Data Trackers and criminal justice journalists all over the country were expecting to see crime data from the first quarter of 2021 this week. The information is collected by the FBI and used to identify trends. However, the bureau said they won’t be releasing any quarterly stats from 2021 because not enough police departments disclosed the information.

As of last year, the quarterly nationwide Uniform Crime Report data comes from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS.) While the FBI notes that submitting the information is voluntary, no one holding police department accountable to turn it over even though, as in this case, the lack of data reporting affects a nationwide analysis.

The federal crime agency has a 60% threshold for releasing nationwide data, meaning, if fewer than that percentage of agencies release their crime stats, the bureau won’t do a nationwide analysis.

In 2021, around 9,900 police departments disclosed their statistics for crimes like homicides and assaults to arsons. While that may seem like a lot, it's actually only about half (52.5%) of the police departments.

Crime analysts fear the lack of data will affect how we understand crime in our country and communities.

Raleigh police were one of the agencies that participated and turned over their information. The data shows both violent and property crime rose last year when compared to the year before.

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