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In the 1920s, the Committee on Uniform Crime Records of the International Association of Chiefs of Police developed and initiated a voluntary national crime data collection effort. During the more than 70 years since its inception, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program has served as a means to measure crime in the United States. Expanding in scope, importance, and size over the years, the program now encompasses over 17,000 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies nationwide which contribute crime statistics. A study conducted in the 1980s, with the objective of revising UCR to meet law enforcement needs into the 21st century, resulted in the creation of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

The goals of NIBRS are to enhance the quantity, quality, and timeliness of crime data collection by law enforcement and to improve the methodology used for compiling, analyzing, auditing, and publishing the collected crime data. A major advantage of NIBRS, beyond the increase in data collected, is the capability to break down and combine crime offense data into specific information.

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