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The annual report represents data on crime and arrests reported by law enforcement agencies through the Colorado Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR). During 2016, 244 law enforcement agencies were responsible for reporting crimes and arrests to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Law enforcement includes; sheriffs, police, and state agencies. Colorado law enforcement agencies report incident-based statistics, which are collected and stored in the Colorado Crime Information Center (CCIC) computer located at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The National UCR Program - Historical Background*

In the 1920’s, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), recognizing a need for national crime statistics, formed the Committee on Uniform Crime Records in order to develop a system of uniform police statistics. The committee determined the most appropriate tool in which to record crime statistics was to base the measurements on established criminal offenses already known to law enforcement. Accordingly, the committee evaluated various crimes on the basis of their seriousness, frequency of occurrence, pervasiveness in all geographic areas and the likelihood of the offense being reported to law enforcement. After studying the state criminal codes and making an evaluation of the record keeping practices in use, the committee completed a plan in 1929 for crime reporting which became the foundation of the National Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

Seven offenses were chosen as an index for gauging fluctuations in the overall volume and rate of crime. These offenses were known collectively as the Crime Index and were divided into two categories. The first category was for violent crimes, including murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The second category included burglary, larceny/theft, and motor vehicle theft. By congressional mandate, the offense of arson was added as an eighth index offense in 1979. The reporting of this data is commonly referred to as summary or hierarchy reporting. In summary reporting only the total number of crimes and arrests are reported.

During the early planning of the UCR program, it was recognized that the differences among criminal codes prohibited a simple totaling of individual state statistics to arrive at a national total. In addition, because of the variances in punishment, no distinction between felony and misdemeanor crimes could be made. Therefore, to avoid these problems and to provide nationwide uniformity in crime reporting, nationally standardized offense definitions were formulated for law enforcement agencies to use when submitting crime data.

In the 1930’s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was designated to serve as the national clearing house for the crime data collected. In 1966, the National Sheriff’s Association established a committee and began to encourage sheriffs throughout the country to participate fully in the UCR Program. Throughout the first 60 years of operation, the UCR Program remained virtually unchanged in terms of the data collected and disseminated. In the late 1970’s, the law enforcement community requested a thorough evaluation of the UCR Program with the objective of recommending an expanded and enhanced program to meet law enforcement needs into the 21st century. Following a multi-year study, a "Blueprint for the Future of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program" was developed. Using the "Blueprint" and in consultation with local and state law enforcement executives, new guidelines for Uniform Crime Report were formulated and the National-Incident Based Reporting System was developed.

*Crime in the U.S., FBI, Washington D.C.

National Incident-Based Reporting (NIBRS)

NIBRS is an incident-based reporting system. Data is reported on each single crime occurrence. NIBRS was designed to be a by-product of local, state and federal automated records systems. The NIBRS program collects data on each single incident and arrest within 23 primary offense categories, referred to as Group A Offenses, and arrest data only on 10 additional offenses referred to as Group B Offenses. For each offense known to police within the Group A category, incident, victim, property, offender, and arrestee information is gathered. The collection of the expanded crime data in NIBRS allows law enforcement, legislators, planners and administrators and the general public to better assess the nature and extent of crime. Full participation in the NIBRS program allows law enforcement agencies to have a common denominator in linking with other law enforcement agencies, providing extensive, specific crime information concerning similar jurisdictions, which can further assist in the identification of common crime problems or trends. NIBRS data has the capability of furnishing information on a multitude of offenses including weapon violations, drug/narcotic offenses, hate crimes, domestic violence, abuse of the elderly, gang related crimes, and alcohol or drug related crimes. The FBI began accepting NIBRS data in January of 1989.

The Colorado UCR Program

The Colorado Uniform Crime Reporting Program was developed to represent an accurate picture of crimes reported to local law enforcement agencies across the state. The program was designed in 1975 as an integral part of the Colorado Computerized Criminal Justice Information system and is administered by the CBI. The program began in January 1976 with the collection of monthly UCR summary data from participating law enforcement agencies. Colorado Revised Statute 24-33.5-412(5) mandates the submission of uniform crime data to the CBI.

It is the responsibility of the CBI to collect and verify the statistical data submitted by local law enforcement agencies and to publish the annual Crime in Colorado publication. The CBI also sends all error-free statistical crime data to the FBI. Colorado’s incident-based crime reporting system began in 1975 and was designed consistent with advice from the CCIC Board of Executive Directors. The Board is comprised of sheriffs, chiefs of police, and state level criminal justice administrators. In 1994, the CBI adopted the national incident-based standards.

The FBI certified the CBI for NIBRS data submission in 1997. This allows the CBI to report NIBRS statistical data to the FBI for all local law enforcement agencies providing error-free data.

The CBI UCR staff is grateful to the many Colorado sheriffs, chiefs and state agency heads who have devoted considerable resources to Uniform Crime Reporting and in particular to those agencies pioneering incident-based reporting in Colorado.