Every year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation releases felony statistics concerning crimes across the entire nation. While some of the statistics are dry and mundane, many of them are very interesting and give the reader food for thought. For instance:
1. 1,197,704 were committed during the entire year. While this was slightly higher than the previous year, the number was lower than in any other year over the past decade. Among those crimes an estimated 15,696 were murders, 90,185 were rapes and 327,374 were armed robbery.
2. Guns were used in 71.5 percent of all murders committed, 40.8 percent of all robberies reported, and 24.2 percent of all crimes categorized as an aggravated assault.
The United States utilizes two major mechanisms for collecting all sorts of crime data, including those that are felonious in nature. The FBI operates the Uniform Crime Code and the Bureau of Justice Statistics uses the National Crime Victimization Survey. Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive infrastructure in place within the United States that can share all pertinent crime information and data to the relevant law enforcement agencies around the country.
Quantifying how much crime is actually quite difficult, therefore, crime researchers generally take one of two approaches to compiling statistics concerning crime. Unfortunately, when performing surveys concerning felonious crime, the differing methodologies can make comparisons between said surveys both difficult and unreliable.
One other snag that can make data collection difficult and less than comprehensive is the fact that not districts and locales classify crimes in the same manner. While something such as murder is almost universally agreed upon, other crimes such as assault are definitely not all judges or reported in the same manner.
To this end, the International Crime Victims Survey has been established to help in uniformly defining crimes that are common in nature. While not accepted or used everywhere, it is nonetheless considered the de facto standard in regards to classifying crime.
Crimes that do not generally require jail time and are most often dealt with by levying fines, such as traffic offenses, are usually not counted in crime statistic reports. Most locales have developed a separate reporting system that keeps track and tallies numbers in regards to these types of offenses.
As can be seen, crime statistics is a very important, but also very difficult subject to talk about. From clashing reporting systems to a non-universal method of reporting various offenses.