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Using UCR to Compare Your Department by Edward Claughton

Edward Claughton

Can a police department use its UCR stats to compare itself (productivity, efficiency, etc.) to other departments?  No!  When can UCR be used for comparative purposes? To compare itself from year to year.

First, lets see what the FBI says:

There are many variables affecting crime and the reporting thereof including the demographic differences between jurisdictions, the level of training received by agency personnel in UCR, report writing variations, and technology.

“The FBI discourages data users from ranking agencies and using the data as a measurement of law enforcement effectiveness.”

“The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, counties, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis on their population coverage or student enrollment. Until data users examine all the variables that affect crime in a town, city, county, state, region, or college or university, they can make no meaningful comparisons.” Continue reading


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