Statistics in Policy support

Statistics in Policy Support

Statistics in Policy Support

Criminal Justice data is used to improve policing and the relationship between the community and law enforcement. Several shootings where officers are involved (including the shooting death of Michael Brown which occurred in Ferguson, Mo. And Walter Scott which occurred in North Charleston, SC) have led to a higher request of criminal justice data to make law enforcement accountable for their actions and to advance the way the criminal justice system functions. However, date from the police is only one type of data in the criminal justice field which can be used to advance the criminal justice system and any results for the public.

Data that allows the public officials to be held accountable for their actions is good because it acts as a boundary issue. It allows individuals to begin to understand data from a criminal justice perspective. There are several other points within the criminal justice system that creates data and can also be used for responsibility purposes. In the end, the goal is that data from all aspects and areas of the criminal justice system are able to be used in order to evaluate the effect of what is done with the criminal justice system, which will allow the programs and practices we need to be used which will ultimately lead to the best public outcome possible.

Collectively, the U.S. holds an extensive amount of criminal justice data. The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) is the most popular criminal justice data set. This data has been composed by the FBI since 1930. Included in the UCR are statistics on seven crimes which are classified as either property crime or a violent crime. Rape, assault, murder and robbery are the crimes which fall under the violent crimes category. Burglary, arson, motor vehicle theft and larceny-theft all fall under what is known as property crimes. The UCR is beneficial for many individuals who access it and it serves many different purposes. The UCR benefits law enforcement in every aspect of operation from the actual work that the law enforcement officials do to the formulation of their budget and the assistance they give to local community. The UCR is also used to study trends of crimes and to assist in locating ways to improve the criminal justice system.

There are many different statistic agencies for the criminal justice system. Another is the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). It is the primary statistical agency of the U.S Department of Justice. The Bureau of Justice Statistics collects, publishes, analyzes, and disseminates information on criminal offenders, crime, and the operation of justice systems and victims of crimes at all levels of government. Not only do these statistical data agencies benefit the law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system but it benefits the community as well. Individuals within the community have access the information that could help them. Things like sexual offender lists, etc. that’s provided by the agencies have a huge impact on the community when they know that they are not only receiving assistance from law enforcement but they also know that they have access to some of the same information that the police and other agencies have access to. It gives individuals an ease of mind. They’re able to keep up with local crime reports and information on local crimes as well as information that could assist them with preventing crime or keeping the rates down so that they won’t have to be concerned.

Statistical data as a means of supporting criminal justice policy is something that should continue. The data being accessible by the local community and not just being accessible to the law enforcement officials allow the community to put more trust in the law enforcement agency. It also gives them hope that the criminal justice system is not only there to punish the wrong for their crimes but to also give individuals in the community a breath of fresh air.


Addington, L.A. (2007). Using NIBRS to study methodological sources of divergence between the UCR and NCVS. In J.P. Lynch & L.A. Addington (Eds.), Understanding crime statistics: Revisiting the divergence of the NCVS and the UCR (pp. 225-25-). NewYork: Cambridge University Press

Harrendorf, S. (2012). Offence Definitions in the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics and Their Influence on Data Quality and Comparability. European Journal On Criminal Policy & Research, 18(1), 23-53. doi:10.1007/s10610-011-9161-z

Lewis, C. (2012). Crime and Justice Statistics Collected by International Agencies. European Journal On Criminal Policy & Research, 18(1), 5-21. doi:10.1007/s10610-011-9164-9