The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is a system for recording crimes known to the police. For each crime incident coming to the attention of law enforcement, a variety of data are collected and submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), such as the nature and types of specific offenses committed during the incident, characteristics of the victim(s), and information about the offender(s) and any other persons arrested in connection with the incident.

A major finding of the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report is that crime victim services must be designed with a clear understanding of who is being victimized and by whom. The report recommends expanding the use of NIBRS to enhance police records of crimes, victims, and police responses to victimization. A growing number of law enforcement agencies already report crime to NIBRS, which is good news for the victim services community. Local data about crime victims and those who commit crimes against them can be instrumental in providing sound reasoning to justify and deploy scarce resources, fine-tune training programs, and support targeted research. The Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI are working together to expand participation in NIBRS.

However, while a number of states (15) have complete NIBRS coverage, the lack of nationally representative data substantially impedes federal efforts to assist states and localities with crime control and undermines state and local abilities to consider their crime experiences in a broader national context. This e-bulletin describes how victim service providers can use NIBRS to gain a better understanding of specific types of victimization, determine disparities between victims known to law enforcement and those receiving victim services, and identify underserved groups of crime victims.

Use the pull-down menu above to learn more about benefits NIBRS offers to victim service providers that can help them improve their service to crime victims. This information is based on data from NIBRS for the 15 states currently reporting to the system.

Does your local law enforcement agency report NIBRS data?

NIBRS Reporting States At a Glance

NIBRS Reporting States At a Glance

15 states (Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia) submit all their crime data via NIBRS.


NIBRS data also offer important details about bias-motivated offenses.