Method of Data Collection
Reporting Procedures
In the statewide Uniform Crime Reporting Program contributing law enforcement agencies are responsible for compiling their own crime reports and submitting them. In an effort to maintain quality and uniformity in the data received, Training Specialists provide training in crime reporting procedures. All contributors are provided procedures for scoring, classifying and reporting criminal offenses and arrests.

All crime reporting agencies report the number of offenses and associated crime data in the following crime categories: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson. This data, known as Part I Offenses, is taken from a record of all complaints of crime received by the law enforcement agency from victims, officers who discover infractions, or other sources.

Whenever complaints of crime are determined through an investigation to be unfounded or false, they are eliminated from an agency's count. The number of "actual offenses known" is reported to DCI regardless of whether anyone is arrested for the crime, stolen property is recovered, or prosecution is undertaken.

Another integral part of an agency's data is the total number of actual Part I offenses cleared. Crimes are "cleared" in one of two ways: (1) at least one person is arrested, charged, and turned over to the court for prosecution; or (2) by exceptional means when some element beyond law enforcement control precludes the arrest of an offender. Law enforcement agencies also report the number of Part I offenses clearances which involve only offenders under the age of 18; the value of property stolen and recovered in connection with the offenses; and detailed information pertaining to criminal homicide, rape and arson.

In addition to its primary collection of Part I offenses, the UCR Program solicits data on persons arrested for all crimes except traffic violations. The age, race and sex of arrestees are reported by crime category for both Part I and Part II offenses. Part II offenses include all crimes not classified as Part I crimes. Various data on law enforcement officers killed or assaulted are also collected. The number of full-time and part-time sworn and civilian personnel are reported as of October 31, of each year.

Verification Procedures
An obvious concern in the collection of crime statistics is the validity and uniformity of the data received. With the voluntary submission of crime reports from over 500 jurisdictions, the problem of attaining uniformity is readily apparent. Crime data submitted is reviewed for compliance with reporting standards to ensure accuracy and completeness. Data reliability is a high priority and noted deviations or arithmetical adjustments are brought to the attention of the submitting agency by contact through a UCR analyst.

DCI has also developed an audit program to assess and document the accuracy and integrity of the crime data reported to the UCR program. Although DCI makes every effort through audits, editing procedures, training practices and correspondence to assure the validity of the data it receives, the statistics' accuracy depends primarily on the adherence of each contributor to the established standards of reporting.

Type of Data Collected
A first step in the control of crime is to ascertain the true dimensions of the problem. However, present statistics, as gathered by the UCR Program, measure neither the real incidence of crime nor the full amount of economic loss of victims. Information regarding the number of property stolen and covered data is requested only for property stolen in Part 1 offense categories. There is no calculation made for property damaged except in the arson offense classification.

For the Part 2 offenses (except simple assault), the only information submitted is the number of arrests for these crimes according to the age, sex, race, and ethnicity of the subject. Consequently, there is no record of the actual number of these offenses occurring.

Moreover, the broad categorization of this data does not allow an examination of the number of offenses reported nor the arrests made for such offenses as spouse abuse, the writing of worthless checks, and kidnaping. The number of these particular offenses or arrests, as well as others, are included in such general categories as Assault, Fraud, and All Other Offenses.

Although some victimization data is collected in the offense categories of Homicide and Rape, there is no record of the victims of Robbery, Assault, Burglary, and the remainder of the UCR Part 1 and 2 Offenses.

Degrees of Seriousness
The Crime Index does not explicitly take into account the varying degrees of seriousness of its components. Each crime receives the same weight as it is added to the Index. Consequently, an auto theft is counted the same as a murder, and an aggravated assault is weighted equally with an attempted burglary. Any review of crime must consider the volume, rate, and trend of each offense that comprises the Index and the relationship between these crimes.

UCR Classification and Scoring Procedures
The North Carolina and National Uniform Crime Reporting Programs are designed to measure offenses committed and persons arrested, and difficulty can arise if this distinction is not kept firmly in mind. Crimes relate to events, but arrests relate to persons. The classifying and scoring of one robbery, for instance, could involve several offenders, several victims, and even the commission of other offenses which would go unreported for UCR purposes . Even more of the total crime picture is lost when arrests are scored. UCR counts only the number of people arrested and not the number of charges per person. Clearly, one arrest could involve any number of different or similar charges against one offender.

Value of Property Stolen and Recovered
What effect the rate of inflation may be having on the report of these data along with other factors affecting these sums is impossible to calculate. The UCR methods of valuing stolen property involve the acceptance of the victim's evaluation in most instances, and exaggeration of these figures is quite possible.

Juvenile Crime Data
The accuracy of juvenile offenses and arrest statistics varies from department to department since the procedures for handling juveniles are not nearly as uniform as those for adults. Many juvenile offenders are handled informally and, as a consequence, inaccurate or incomplete recording of the event or action may result. Furthermore, the degree of juvenile involvement in solved offenses is probably seriously misunderstood because juvenile participation in clearances is recorded only when juveniles are exclusively involved. When both adults and juveniles are subjects in a clearance, the juvenile participation is not reported.

Reporting Variation
North Carolina now receives Uniform Crime Reports from over 500 law enforcement agencies monthly. Because the number of reporting agencies is so large, one must be aware that unintentional variations from UCR guidelines may occur and pass undetected affecting the validity of the data presented here. Municipal ordinances, local criminal justice administrative policies, efficiency and thoroughness of record keeping, and Uniform Crime Reporting proficiency and practices all affect the amount of crime and arrests reported. Furthermore, socio-economic conditions and the characteristics and attitudes of the local population influence the magnitude and nature of criminal behavior in a community.

The Index of Crime
The crime index offense table can be used to indicate the probable extent, fluctuation, and distribution of crime for the State of North Carolina as a whole, by geographic divisions, by individual counties and cities, and by standard metropolitan statistical areas. The measure used is a Crime Index and consists of eight important offenses which are counted as they become known to the law enforcement agencies. Crime classifications used in the Index are: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary-breaking and entering, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Arson was added as the eighth Index offense in 1979.

The total number of criminal acts that occur is unknown, but those that are reported to law enforcement provide the first means of a count. Not all crimes come readily to the attention of law enforcement; not all crimes are of sufficient importance to be significant in an index; and not all important crimes occur with enough regularity to be meaningful in an index.

Classification of Offenses
UCR divides offenses into two major classifications which are designated Part 1 and Part 2 offenses. This distinction is important to keep in mind because different information is collected for each. Part 1 offenses include the violent crimes of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault and the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. All other offenses are classified as Part 2 offenses (see "Offense Definitions" in this section). The Part 1 offenses, excluding negligent manslaughter and arson, are used to calculate the Crime Index and Crime Rate.

All offenses are classified on the basis of law enforcement investigations in accordance with UCR offense definitions (which will not necessarily coincide with N.C. statute definitions). Because UCR identifies a law enforcement problem, offense classifications are not based on the findings of a court, coroner, jury or decision of a prosecutor.

Scoring of Offenses
Only the number of those offenses for Part 1 crimes and simple assault are scored for UCR. The method of scoring varies with the type of crime committed and it is important to remember that the number of offenders does not determine the number of offenses. For murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, rape, and aggravated and simple assault, one offense is scored for each victim, regardless of the number of offenders involved. For example, three offenders could be involved in the murder of one victim, and in this case one murder would be scored.

For robbery and larceny, one offense is counted for each distinct operation which is separate in time and place. The number of victims in any one operation does not determine the number of offenses. For example, if ten people are robbed in a bar at the same time, only one offense is counted. However, if that robber then leaves the bar and holds up a passerby, a second offense has occurred and would be scored.

For burglary, one offense is counted for each "structure" which is illegally entered. For UCR purposes, a "structure" is generally defined as an enclosed, permanently occupied area. The illegal entries for the purpose of committing a felony or theft of such structures as dwelling houses, garages, offices, barns, and the like are considered burglaries, and one burglary is scored for each separate unit entered. The illegal entry of those structures used to house transients such as hotel rooms is scored as one burglary regardless of the number of these rooms that have been entered.

For motor vehicle theft, one offense is counted for each vehicle stolen. For UCR purposes, a motor vehicle is defined as any self-propelled vehicle that runs on the surface and not on rails or a body of water. Thefts of farm and construction equipment are excluded from this definition and are scored as larcenies. For arson, one offense is counted for each occurrence even if a more serious offense such as murder occurred as a result of the act. Additionally any attempts to commit any of the above offenses are also counted with the exception of attempts or assaults to kill which are classified and scored under aggravated assaults.

For multiple offenses that occur in one crime incident (at the same "time and place"), only the most serious offense is counted with the exceptions of arson (always counted) and a combination of larceny and motor vehicle theft (only the motor vehicle theft will be counted). Part 1 crimes are ranked according to seriousness and appear in order from most serious to least serious (See order of crimes in Offense Definitions in this section). For example, a robbery and an aggravated assault have occurred, but because robbery is considered by UCR to be more serious, only the robbery is scored. From one perspective, this method of counting seriously understates the crime problem, but from another, it prevents undue inflation of crime statistics. A Part 2 offense that occurs in combination with Part 1 offenses or by itself is not counted.

An offense is considered cleared (solved) when at least one offender is arrested for a crime, even though several may have been involved. Offenses may also be cleared by exceptional means when some element beyond law enforcement control precludes the placing of formal charges against the offender. Examples of circumstances allowing exceptional clearances are the death of the offender (suicide, justifiably killed by police or private citizen, etc.); the victim's refusal to cooperate with prosecution after the offender has been identified; or the denial of extradition because the offender committed another crime in a different jurisdiction and is being prosecuted there. In all exceptional clearance cases, law enforcement must have identified the offender, have enough evidence to support arrest, and know the offender's location. Keep in mind that not all crimes are cleared within the calendar year in which the offense occurs.

Clearances are counted as either "adult" or "juvenile." A "juvenile" clearance is counted only when juveniles are involved exclusively in the commission and clearance of an offense. If the arrest of both adults and juveniles results in a clearance, it is counted as an "adult" clearance.

Property Stolen and Recovered
The figures for value of property stolen and recovered report the value at each point in time. Although property can increase in value over time, it is more likely that stolen property will be recovered in a damaged condition. Therefore recovery value does not necessarily represent a "clearance rate" for stolen property, and one cannot use it to determine law enforcement effectiveness in recovering stolen goods. Because stolen and recovered property figures indicate thefts and recoveries in the current year, it is important to note that recovered property may have been stolen in a previous year. In addition, the type and value of stolen recovered property is reported only for Part 1 offenses and does not include property losses suffered as a result of the commission of any Part 2 offenses such as fraud or embezzlement.

These values are affected by many variables and must be considered estimates at best. It is sometimes difficult to trace the recovery of some stolen property back to the offense or even the departmental jurisdiction in which the theft occurred. This coupled with the fact that the market value at the time of recovery is used instead of at the time of the theft should prompt cautious analysis of this data.

Arrest information is collected for all Part 1 and Part 2 offenses according to the age, sex and race of the offender. It is not possible, however, to correlate race with sex or specific ages because the information is collected independently, thus limiting analysis. Furthermore, arrest figures cannot be directly related to the number of crimes cleared because arrest totals count all the offenders who have been arrested even if several were involved in the commission of a singular offense. Therefore, arrest and clearance totals will be equal only by coincidence.

It should be kept in mind that arrest totals are not indicative of the number of different people involved in the commission of crime. A total of three arrests may represent the arrest of three different people or the arrest of the same person on three different occasions. Moreover, arrest totals also do not indicate the number of charges placed against an individual at the time of arrest.