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FBI Not Making Quarterly Crime Estimates, As Big Cities Don't Report

In 2020, the FBI provided quarterly crime estimates about 3 months after the previous quarter had ended. The quarterly crime estimates were critical for understanding the scale of 2020’s murder increase well before the year was ending, nearly a year before the numbers detailing the surge in murder were formally released, says New Orleans-based crime analyst Jeff Asher. The FBI published quarterly estimates for the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2020. Then came the ongoing switch to the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), with thousands of agencies failing to report data to the FBI, and the end of quarterly crime estimates came nearly as quickly as they had begun.

The FBI now says it will not publish national crime estimates for all of 2022. This marks 8 straight quarters without national estimates. The good news, Asher says, is that 12,820 agencies reported quarterly data to the FBI, nearly 68 percent of all law enforcement agencies. That’s up from 12,104 in the third quarter and 11,490 in the second quarter of 2022. The bad news is that not enough big city agencies are reporting data, which is preventing national estimates. Only 8 cities with a population of 1 million or more reported 2022 crime data to the FBI and only 6 of those cities reported crime data for both 2021 and 2022. New York City and Los Angeles failed to report 2022 data and Chicago and Philadelphia reported incomplete 2021 data. The cities with complete data show a 10 percent reduction in murder, but the FBI does not audit data from these cities, so they may be wrong. Dallas, shows 157 murders in 2022, well below the 214 murders the agency reported publicly. The FBI shows 234 murders in Memphis compared to 288 reported by the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA). Columbus had 18 fewer murders reported by the FBI compared to MCCA while Cincinnati shows just 47 murders in the FBI data compared to 77 in MCCA.


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