Message from the Director

As this year marks the 5-year anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, we are reminded of the importance of continuing to study the incidence of hate crimes in America. To do so, it is critical that law enforcement agencies capture as much detail as they can about the victim, offender, offense, and other key elements of these heinous acts.

Such comprehensive statistics concerning bias-motivated offenses—and all types of crime—are collected by state and local law enforcement agencies that use the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Examining data provided through these detailed categories allows police agencies to gain a deeper understanding of how to prevent and respond to hate crimes and other acts of violence. This level of detail allows for a much broader understanding of the incident rates and prevalence of crime than statistics captured through other reporting systems, and enables victim service organizations to gain a clearer and more meaningful picture of crimes in communities.

This e-bulletin describes how victim service organizations can use crime data to understand victimization. It explains how victim service providers can use NIBRS statistics to analyze categories and subcategories of crime, determine gaps between victims known to law enforcement and individuals receiving victim services, and identify victim populations that need additional support.

Unfortunately, NIBRS data covers only 28 percent of the U.S. population, as only 15 states submit crime data entirely via this reporting system. The Office for Victims of Crime has provided funding to the Bureau of Justice Statistics to increase the number of states and local jurisdictions that report data using NIBRS. It is our hope that the expansion of the use of NIBRS will yield a more precise picture of crime and victimization nationally—who is victimized, by what crimes, and by whom.

We hope that you find this e-bulletin to be a helpful resource for using NIBRS data to understand victimization more fully. By using analysis of NIBRS’ comprehensive victim, offense, and offender data to design your service programs, we hope you can continue to develop effective practices and solutions for victims as they rebuild their lives.

Joye E. Frost


Office for Victims of Crime