National Crime Victim Survey and the Uniform Crime Report
In the contemporary society, it is inevitable to experience misconducts, corruption and law-breaking activities. People either become the victims or the offenders. With this situation, the government had initiated a program that will help minimize the occurrence of crimes in various US states. Through the National Crime Victim Survey and the Uniform Crime Report, the government was able to understand the trend of crimes and also to develop different approaches in crime prevention.
The National Crime Victim Survey (NCVS) is a comprehensive compilation of data about the different incidents of personal and household crimes. This survey is conducted annually by the US Census Bureau for the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the scope covers the whole country. More so, the sample size is comprised of a representative sample of more or less 49,000 households with over 100,000 individuals wherein a wide array of information is gathered from them about the different descriptions and effects of criminal victimization as well as the rates and types of occurrences of reported and unreported criminal incidents. The data from the nationally representative sample are renewed twice a year to regularly update the results of the survey. It is important to continuously add information because this is the venue where victims of crimes are able to express their experiences and its impact to their lives and also to report the distinguishing characteristics of violent offenders. Moreover, the NCVS is aimed in obtaining four goals namely: (1) acquiring complete information on every crime incident; (2) “estimating the number and types of crimes not reported to the police;” (3) presenting “uniform measures of selected types of crimes;” and (4) evaluating the data gathered in terms of “time and types of areas.” Overall, the survey is very beneficial in determining the crime rates and the modifications of these rates every year (National Archive of Criminal Justice Data).
On the other hand, the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) is similar with the National Crime Victim Survey but the main difference between the two is that the former is carried out by the law enforcement authorities. Uniform Crime Report is the by-product of the “Uniform Crime Reporting Program” in which is a “voluntary city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement program” that presents a general perspective based on the figures given by the different agencies of law enforcement. Since its inception, the report had been very instrumental in improving “law enforcement administration, operation, and management” as well as in identifying and monitoring the changes in the crime rates of each US state. The only limitation with the UCR is that the information gathered are solely based on reports from law enforcement agencies who voluntarily participate in the program (Federal Bureau of Investigation).
In terms of accuracy between NCVS and UCR, the latter is more precise because it uses facts from respected law enforcement agencies while the former utilizes data collected from a sample that is prone to margin of errors because of the “estimates derived from different samples would differ from one another due to sampling variability or sampling error” (National Archive of Criminal Justice Data). However, NCVS provides a more extensive collection of data since it includes unreported crimes compared to the UCR which is exclusively dependent on the reports coming from law enforcement agencies. Also, its perspective is more comprehensive because the opinions and the accounts of the victims and law enforcers are taken into consideration. Nonetheless, these two are completely different from each other because of the use of dissimilar methodologies, points of view and crime coverage in determining and analyzing the trends in crime rates. The results of the NCVS and UCR should not be analyzed side by side so as to eliminate the possibility of interpreting the data in the same context.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2008, September 16. Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)
Summary Reporting. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucrquest.htm
National Archive of Criminal Justice Data. National Crime Victimization Survey Resource Guide. Retrieved September 17, 2008, from http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/NACJD/NCVS/