Citation(s) from the literature library

FBI. 2022 ‘Crime in the United States / CIUS.’ Uniform Crime Reports / UCR; Undated annual. Washington, DC: US Federal Bureau of Investigation. 9 August

Relevant contents

FBI Crime Reports

In its annual publication 'Crime in the United States' (CIUS), the FBI publishes numbers and rates of criminal offences reported across the nation, the states, and for individual agencies.

Data include:

- Violent crime
- Property crime
- Homicide (trends, rates and methods, including firearm-related crime)
- Disaggregation by age, gender, ethnicity, relationship and weapon

Annual CIUS reports are provided from 1995 to the most recent year.


CAUTION - Editor's Note:

The FBI compiles national totals of reported crimes of homicide, as submitted by thousands of law enforcement agencies (the justice sector). In parallel, and instead of counting criminal cases, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) compiles national totals from death certificates filed with state health departments (the health sector).

Historically, due to inaccurate reporting within the justice sector, FBI homicide totals have tended to be 9% lower than the number of people who die by fatal assault, as counted by the health sector. And because many death certificates fail to specify the weapon used, NCHS data tables allocate a disproportionately high number of gun homicides to the 'Other and Unspecified' firearm category (Rokaw, Mercy and Smith, 1990).1

In addition, NCHS/CDC datasets routinely 'suppress', or hide numbers and rates for reasons of confidentiality and unreliability. In some US states this has the effect of concealing gun homicide numbers and rates year after year.2

For these reasons, cites and compares NCHS/CDC data for the larger top-level categories (Total Gun Deaths, Gun Homicides), but displays and compares smaller, more accurate FBI tallies where these are disaggregated by weapon type (Handgun Homicides, Long Gun Homicides, and Gun Homicides (Other)).

While political and financial limitations on gun policy research in the United States persist, data credibility issues such as these are likely to remain.

Source cited:
Rokaw, William M., James A. Mercy and Jack C. Smith. 1990. Comparing Death Certificate Data with FBI Crime Reporting Statistics on US Homicides. Public Health Reports. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control, Vol.105 No.5, pp. 447-55.1

ID: Q1978

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