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Incomplete FBI Data Gives 'Distorted' Picture of Crime Trends

Crime-trend reports based on FBI data are often distorted by the erratic reporting from local law enforcement agencies’ who don’t – or won’t – send the FBI their annual crime data to the FBI, according to a Stateline analysis of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program participation data. “We have policymakers making policy based on completely incomplete data. We have political elections being determined based on vibes rather than actual data. It’s a mess,” said data analyst Jeff Asher of AH Datalytics.


This partial data is often misused, Stateline reports. “Some policymakers, knowingly or unknowingly, use those flawed statistics to tout promising crime trends — misleading voters. The inaccurate data also can affect efforts to improve public safety and criminal justice, potentially leading policymakers to miss the mark in addressing real community issues.”

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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