Category: USDoJ

BJS releases 2021 victimization statistics

The Bureau of Justice Statistics recently released information on 2021 victimization rates derived from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). There were no statistically significant changes in violent victimization or property victimization rates from 2020 to 2021. However, the violent victimization rate increased in urban areas, from 19.4 to 24.5 per 1,000. The percentage of violent victimizations reported to police increased (+6%), as did the percentage of violent crime victims who sought assistance from victim service providers (+3%). The percentage of property victimizations reported to police decreased (-2%), which was mostly due to a decrease in reporting for “other theft” (-3%). This post outlines the major findings from the report, while more detailed information can be found via the NCVS’ interactive data dashboard.

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Biden’s historic executive order on policing

Today, on the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death, President Biden is expected to sign a historic executive order (EO) that would “overhaul” policing. The EO intends to promote accountability, support law enforcement with improved systems and training, and improve data transparency, among other goals. At first glance, some of the things mentioned in the EO sound promising and would perhaps garner support from the public. But many of them are so loosely defined to the point where they are not actionable. Further, because Biden does not have the authority to govern local police departments, the order only pertains to federal agencies, which are typically not the agencies that are eliciting concern. With that in mind, the EO seems very unlikely to actually improve policing. Rather, it seems like a political push for Biden to gather support from the masses.

On the positive side, the EO would seek to improve data transparency and promote officer wellness. On the negative side, most of the provisions are too vague to be actionable and use buzzword language that is up to subjective interpretation (e.g., “best practices”).

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Intimidating Justices and Their Children at Home Is Illegal as Well as Disgusting

After the unprecedented leak of a draft of a possible SCOTUS decision on the case overruling Roe v. Wade, pro-abortion activists have decided it would be a good idea to flock en masse outside the neighborhood homes of the Justices to make sure they know that, if the “wrong” decision were handed come late June, they would, in Chuck Schmer’s words, “pay the price.”

Gathering in menacing mobs at the homes of Justices has been defended by exactly those people who, for four years, were loudly aghast at the “breaking of norms.”  But as it turns out, the mob activity is not merely disgusting but illegal  —  or at least such is the view of that right-wing rag, the Washington Post.  Its article is quoted in part below.

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National Crime Victimization Survey re-design shows improvements over previous iterations

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) maintains a research program known as the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) that measures and tracks nonfatal victimizations in the United States. The NCVS is an official source of crime data and the primary source of unreported crime. It collects detailed information on the frequency and nature of several offenses, including: rape, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, larceny, burglary, trespassing, motor vehicle theft, and other types of household theft.

Recently, BJS has undertaken several efforts to increase the efficiency, reliability, and utility of the NCVS. First was a revamp in the urbanicity measure used to classify areas as rural, suburban, or urban. Second, the NCVS also began collecting subnational estimates to help make data more precise. Third, the NCVS survey was completely re-designed to help improve validity of the estimates. Based on recently released reports, it appears that the revised version of the NCVS shows clear improvements over the previous version. In this post, I will discuss these improvements (and why they matter) in more detail.

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The nation’s two official crime measures: NCVS and UCR

This week, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released official numbers on the nation’s two crime measures: the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The UCR measures crime that is reported to the police, and the NCVS data is based on individuals’ reporting of past victimizations. The main strength of the NCVS is that it can measure unreported crime, and together the two datasets can be helpful for determining reporting rates. The report released by BJS shows crime rates measured by the UCR and the NCVS for the years 2011 through 2020. When comparing the estimates, reporting rates tend to be higher for violent crimes than property crimes, with the exception of motor vehicle theft. 

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Violent offenders recidivate at higher rates despite age, criminal history

The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) published new findings last week regarding the recidivism of federal offenders, finding that violent offenders recidivate at higher rates than their non-violent counterparts. The study used USSC data coupled with FBI criminal history records to examine eight-year recidivism rates for 13,883 federal offenders released in 2010. This study is part of a larger recidivism study that includes more than 32,000 federal offenders.

These findings support the longstanding idea that violent offenders are more likely to recidivate than non-violent offenders. While recidivism rates tended to decline with age, they were still consistently higher for violent offenders across all age groups. This was seen even in the oldest age category where most individuals are presumed to have “aged out of crime” (60+ years). Even among those 60 years and older, one quarter of violent offenders were rearrested within eight years.

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Use-of-force data collection may cease due to lack of LE participation

Over the last  few years, strain between police and the community has intensified greatly as incidents have come to light showing hostility between the police and the communities. However, when it comes to really understanding how often these types of events occur, there is no official number of the number of people killed by police annually.  Still, unreliable government numbers fail to portray the true scope of officer-involved shootings and fatalities. The National Use-of-Force Data Collection is the first national-level dataset to offer big-picture insights on police use of force, but participation has been quite low. In fact, law enforcement participation in the national data collection has been so low that it could cause the database to shut down.

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FBI releases 2020 incident-level crime statistics

On December 6, the FBI released detailed 2020 crime data for offenses reported to law enforcement in the United States. According to the 2020 data, nearly 9 million crimes were reported to police in 2020. 60.5% (about 5.4 million) were property crimes, 25.2% (about 2.2 million) were crimes against persons, and 14.3% (about 1.3 million) were crimes against society. The most commonly reported offenses were larceny/theft, assault, and drug/narcotic offenses, respectively.

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Justice Department awards $139 million to advance community policing

The federal government has awarded $139 million in grant funding to 183 law enforcement agencies across the nation through the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The funds are to be dedicated to the hiring of additional full-time law enforcement professionals and the advancement of community policing efforts.

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