UCR History

Recognizing a need for national crime statistics, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) formed the Committee on Uniform Crime Records in the 1920s to develop a system of uniform police statistics. Establishing offenses known to law enforcement as the appropriate measure, the Committee evaluated various crimes on the basis of their seriousness, frequency of occurrence, pervasiveness in all geographic areas of the country, and likelihood of being reported to law enforcement. After studying state criminal codes and making an evaluation of the record keeping practices in use, the Committee in 1929 completed a plan for crime reporting which became the foundation of the UCR Program.

Seven offenses were chosen to serve as an Index for gauging fluctuations in the overall volume and rate of crime. Known collectively as the Crime Index, these offenses included the violent crimes of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault and the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. By congressional mandate, arson was added as the eight Index offense in 1979.

During the early planning of the Program, it was recognized that the differences among criminal codes precluded a mere aggregation of state statistics to arrive at a national total. Further, because of the variances in punishment for the same offenses in different state codes, no distinction between felony and misdemeanor crimes was possible. To avoid these problems and provide nationwide uniformity in crime reporting, standardized offenses definitions by which law enforcement agencies were to submit data without regard for local statutes were formulated.

In January 1930, 400 cities representing 20 million inhabitants in 43 states began participating in the UCR Program. Congress enacted Title 28, Section 534, of the United States Code authorizing the Attorney General to gather crime information that same year. The Attorney General, in turn, designated the FBI to serve as the national clearinghouse for the data collected. Since that time, data based on uniform classifications and procedures for reporting have been obtained from the Nation's law enforcement agencies.

Providing vital links between local law enforcement an the FBI in the conduct of the UCR Program are the Criminal Justice Information Systems Committees of the IACP and the National Sheriff's Association (NSA). The IACP, as it has since the Program began, represents the thousands of police departments nationwide. The NSA encourages sheriffs throughout the country to participate fully in the Program. Both committees serve in advisory capacities concerning the UCR Program's operation.

To function in an advisory capacity concerning UCR policy and provide suggestions on UCR data usage, a Data Providers' Advisory Policy Board (APB) was established in August 1988. The board operated until 1993 when a new Board to address all FBI criminal justice information services was approved. The Board functions in an advisory capacity concerning UCR policy and on data collection and use. The UCR Subcommittee of the Board ensures continuing emphasis on UCR-related issues.

The Association of State Uniform Crime Reporting Programs and committees on UCR within individual state law enforcement associations are also active in promoting interest in the UCR Program. These organizations foster widespread and more intelligent use of uniform crime statistics and lend assistance to contributors when the needs arise.1

1Crime in the United States - 1997, United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation

North Carolina Program
The growing need for a central computerized network of criminal justice information for the state of North Carolina prompted an extensive survey by the Governor's Law and Order Committee in 1968. Following this committee's report, the General Assembly enacted legislation in 1969 creating the Police Information Network under the Department of Justice.

The Police Information Network (PIN) was given the authority under N.C.G.S. 114-10 to collect and correlate information regarding the administration of criminal laws; to maintain and control the access to such information that is required for the performance of criminal justice duties; and to make analysis and comparisons of this data in cooperation with local, state and national criminal justice agencies.

In 1985, the Police Information Network was made part of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) by order of the Attorney General and merged with the SBI's Identification Section creating the Division of Criminal Information (DCI). It was felt that the Division of Criminal Information was an appropriate name since a major function of DCI would be to collect, store and disseminate criminal history and criminal statistical information.