RPD crime data to be watered-down?

03/29/2007 5:37 PM by

John Butcher at The Cranky Taxpayer is following up on a report from a local offical saying that the information released online by the city will soon include less information.

On March 19, Mr. Doody of DIT told the Public Safety Committee that the City intends to stop posting Incident Based Reporting System (IBRS) data on the Web and instead post only the Part I Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) offense data. The Part I UCR categories do not include important information, including drug offenses, prostitution, promiscuous shooting, and theft from vehicle.

Since 2000 RPD has been posting Richmond’s IBRS data on the City Web site.  Richmond’s citizens have begun to use and publish those data.  For example provides a convenient portal to and maps of the Richmond IBRS data for the entire city, this site publishes and maps IBRS data for Church Hill in a color-coded and easy to use fashion, the Cranky Taxpayer posts analyses of Richmond’s crime data, with emphasis on drug and prostitution offenses; and Councilman Pantele used the IBRS data to measure the success of Sector Policing in Richmond.

The proposed standard, the UCR Part I, has such categories as murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.  These broad categories do not provide information on a number of offenses of particular interest to Richmond’s neighborhoods.  For example, theft from auto is a predominant offense reported in quiet neighborhoods, but those data are not available from the UCR.  Drug offenses underlie much of Richmond’s violent crime but Part I UCR does not tally drug reports.  Prostitution and promiscuous shooting are major concerns to Richmond’s citizens but the Part I UCR does not count those reports.

Mr. Doody claims that the proposed retrogression is necessary because the Citizen Incident Information website varies significantly from RPD reporting requirements” and that the “data provided by the current website is (sic) not aligned with the data standards required to be used by RPD.” As Mr. Doody admits, Richmond reports in IBRS format.  The proposed reduction of those reports to UCR format will delete information from the reports and regress to an older, less informative system. Also, Mr. Doody suggests that reporting only UCR data will permit those data to be mapped. At least two Richmond web sites are already mapping IBRS data.  If private citizens can map the IBRS data, surely the city can do so.

We’ve attmepted to contact local government sources, including Chief Monroe, to get more information on this, but have received no official reply.

Portions of the above article are based on an email from John Butcher on 3/25/2007.



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