Crime and Police / Government Watch / Politics

Do the FBI’s Crime Statistics Add Up?

Crime

Believe it or not, someone on the internet is now claiming that violent crime in America fell last year. Unfortunately, that “someone” happens to be the FBI—brandishing a new crime-count methodology, and telling the public, in effect, to ignore the evidence of its own senses.

As more or less everyone in the United States today knows, crime is a hot button issue this election cycle—and for a reason. Next week a “red wave” stands to punish Democratic candidates across the country, not least because so many voters blame the Democrats for a nationwide decline in public safety since Team Blue took the White House and the Congress in 2020.

Yet you would have no inkling of this—neither the problem itself, nor the public’s anxiety, much less the coming electoral backlash—from perusing Washington’s new official numbers on national crime trends. These data were released last month by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) under their new “National Incident Based Reporting System” (NIBRS), which formally displaced their previous “Summary Reporting System” (SRS) at the beginning of 2021. According to these numbers, America did not suffer a crime wave in 2021. Quite the contrary: the FBI maintains that violent crime actually fell last year.

True: the FBI’s NIBRS does acknowledge that murders rose in 2021—some 4 percent above 2020 levels, it says. Nevertheless, according to the purportedly improved methodology about which Justice Department officials boast, the US enjoyed a 1 percent overall decline in violent crime between 2020 and 2021.

How did the Feds manage to get their crime assessment for America—even the direction of the arrow—so laugh-out-loud wrong? A closer look reveals some of the awkward details.

Transition to exclusive NIBRS collection as of January 1, 2021 was announced in 2015. But unsurprisingly, more detailed data collection is time consuming and expensive. Many jurisdictions have thus far declined to join in the NIBRS. Consequently, despite significant funding of transition efforts and FBI expectations of 80+ percent population coverage for the 2021 NIBRS data, as late as June 2022, only 66 percent of the population was covered.

For 2021, almost half of the country’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies reportedly failed to provide data for the entire calendar year. But the Feds, who seemed to feel duty bound to use an instrument that was clearly incapable of offering a comprehensive picture of national crime for that year, stubbornly went ahead and used it anyway.

To do so they had to fill in big gaps: including almost all of California and New York State. They had to “approximate” missing data with so-called “advanced methodologies”: in a manner that was not only opaque, but at times bizarre.

Somehow, for example, NIBRS came up with violent crime estimates for New York State that implied 2021 levels were less than a third of what the SRS reported for 2020 (and barely a quarter of NY State’s own numbers for 2021).

Really? If the NIBRS’ New York 2021 “advanced methodology” crime numbers were correct, Governor Kathy Hochul would not be fighting for her political life at this writing.

We cannot tell from NIBRS what the true crime trend has been in America since the Biden administration came to office. But we can get some sense of how far off their numbers may be by comparing state-level figures for the old SRS in 2020 and the new NIBRS in 2021. [SEE FIGURE 1]

Holding other states’ NIBRS levels constant, if New York’s violent crime were at the level estimated by the state, that alone would indicate a national 3 percent increase over the FBI’s NIBRS 2020 estimates of violent crime and a 4 percent increase over the 2020 SRS estimates. If Illinois numbers (derived from the NIBRS estimates for the Midwest and its component states) were in line with the past five years of SRS data, that would add another percentage point to the 2021 violent crime growth rate versus the national SRS 2020 numbers.

Other soundings likewise point to a 2021 NIBRS underestimate of violent crime in America.

A few weeks ago, a CDC team, relying upon National Vital Statistics System mortality data, estimated that US 2021 firearm homicides were over 8 percent higher in 2021 than in 2020—a magnitude that cannot be reconciled with NIBRS’ estimate of a 4 percent increase in murders by all weapons. And an inconvenient BJS study, also released last month, shows that the National Crime Victimization Survey registered an increase in the rate of violent crime of almost 5 percent in 2021.

National crime stats of obviously dubious quality, released a month before a national election, will do little to enhance policing in our country. Nor are they likely to raise public confidence in an FBI whose reputation for political impartiality has come increasingly into question recently.


Reprinted with Permission from - American Enterprise Institute by - Nicholas Eberstadt & Peter Van Ness

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!


Subscribe
Notify of
25 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robin W Boyd
2 months ago

As unfortunate as it is, American citizens cannot trust what the FBI or any other tax funded government agency tells US. We are forced to pay for misinformation and abuse from these agencies as in the CDC’s abuse of the planned-demic.

William C Smith
2 months ago

Long past time for Congress to clean house on this department. Put all the leaders in jail, isolation, while investigators search for evidence to charge, try and convict. Hmmm. Where has that model of justice been displayed, recently?

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
2 months ago

Do you meen our wonderful ,honest FBI would skew figures. ??? Kyle L.

Carol
2 months ago

Dear ALL:
You please need to understand that as a person who has gone into the den of the enemy (try the soviet union and the middle east in health care) I have seen what the KGB does to its citizens and what the FBI stands for no longer. I wanted to kiss the floor of Delta Airlines after I got out of the soviet union on my last trip to go home. I was pulled out of the line going onto the plane.That is about a real miracle as they were checking for contraband. I had sat so many times in Sherametravo Airport and watched people pulled out of line and they disappeared into an office and did not return. Putin was still in the KGB when I was over there and I witnessed what they had done to one of their own. Because of the quality of people I knew who had gone into the FBI I always thought I would like to be a profiler because of all the people I have evaluated in my career. But now I am 82+ years with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s to add on my shoulders. I would not ever go into the FBI at this time either as they have become so shameful and politicized at the top. Thank you for listening to this old lady. Carol

jocko
2 months ago

fbi IS ANTI-AMERICAN

jocko
2 months ago

THE ONCE HONORABLE FBI IS NOW THE biden RUSSIAN KGB AND THE biden DEPT OF JUSTICE IS NOW THE NAZI, SS, ALL CANCEROUS AND THE ENEMY OF OUR NATION

Rik
2 months ago

CRIME IS ON THE RISE because MORE POLITICIANS are being FOUND GUILTY of COMMITTING CRIMES!!!

Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Rigged for Control

Tom
2 months ago

I simply do NOT believe our Federal government.

jocko
2 months ago

OUR GOV’T IS TOTALLY DISHONEST AND NOT TO BE BELEIVED. THANX, libs

Tom
2 months ago
Reply to  jocko

I concur.

Joe
2 months ago

FBI has become a liberal leader in false information it seems

Berley Beck
2 months ago

It is only a crime if against a Democrat. If it is against a Republican the FBI calls that a good day.

Peter
2 months ago

datastandards.cjis.gov/

David Millikan
2 months ago

FACT: More people die from STABBINGS than from guns.
That is from FBI report that is always suppressed by DICTATOR Beijing biden and FASCIST Party.
They use same saying for past 30 years on deer wearing vests. It was BS then and 30 years later it’s still same LIE.
More people die from ALCOHOL, CAR ACCIDENTS, and SURGERIES than from guns.

Tom
2 months ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Bingo

PaulE
2 months ago

Well when you have Democrat states and cities all across the country changing what laws they will choose to enforce and raising the dollar thresholds of how much has to be stolen to even be considered a crime, then of course you’re going to see a reduction in crimes reported because police have been told NOT to arrest certain law breakers any more. Thus you get a statistical reduction in crime rates, but it is NOT an actual reduction in crime. Added to that are Democrat DAs that refuse to charge criminals for certain violations of the law and that sends a message to businesses, individuals and the police that the criminal laws on the books mean nothing and the police are just wasting their time if they keep arresting the same people over and over again. Only to have the DAs decline to prosecute and release them. Thus more statistical reductions in crime rates, while actual criminal activity increases.

Statistics are only valid, if conditions from year to year remain constant. Meaning laws are uniformly enforced over time. Criminals are arrested, prosecuted and, if found guilty, actually jailed for their crimes. When you have Democrat politicians and DAs changing the “rules of the road” to make previously criminal acts no longer considered criminal and a large percentage of those actually caught and arrested released one way or the other, the statistical data becomes a useless exercise providing little real value. You’re measuring apples and oranges at this point by claiming a reduction in crime that only exists on paper because the criminals are essentially being given a free pass to do whatever they want on the streets.

I’m NOT surprised the FBI is trotting out this inaccurate garbage at this point, because the senior leadership in place there seems to view their job as running cover for the Democrat party and its policies. As opposed to actually dealing with criminal activity happening all around them in broad daylight. Just another indication that we are “transforming” into a third-world banana republic, where the “Ministry of Justice’s” chief duty is to protect those in power and punish their political opposition. Actual criminal activity of the type discussed in this article is of no real concern to those in charge. It is up the individual busnesses and the population to fend for themselves.

Manuel
2 months ago

Sadly I believe the FBI as much as I believe Fact Check.

Ryans Dad
2 months ago

I don’t trust the FBI any further Gann I could throw Peter Strozk!

Ryans Dad
2 months ago
Reply to  Ryans Dad

“than”

Dave N
2 months ago

Sorry FBI but you’ve lost all your integrity and are nothing more than a partisan wh*re For the communist democrat party!

Tom
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave N

Well said.

David
2 months ago

Gee,
And here I thought that crime became a booming cottage industry during the 2020 or 2021 “Summer of Love” (so coined by Seattle’s Marxist mayor). Then, Antifa, BLM, and other Brown Shirt thugs went on a rioting spree, with impunity, while the police were ordered to stand down.

PaulE
2 months ago
Reply to  David

All those folks were given a free get out of jail card. All charges dropped and as you said it was all considered nothing more than “peaceful protests”, with a lot of burning buildings, physical assaults and looting going on.

jocko
2 months ago

THE ONCE HONORABLE FBI IS NOW THE SS OF THE NAZIS OR THE RUSSIAN KGB. THANK A lib FOR THAT

25
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x