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Mystery at the FBI: Crime Report Missing Most of Its Data Tables

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 20, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Critical information is missing from an FBI report.

According to analysts, the information is considered "the gold standard of crime data." The Uniform Crime Reporting Program contains crime, arrest, and police data from around the country.

But almost 70 percent of the data tables are gone from the latest report. Why did the FBI eliminate the tables?

Missing Tables

In its annual report, the FBI has eliminated data tables it usually provides. The missing information could affect analysts' understanding of crime trends in the country.

The report is based on statistics from more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies. Researchers, including academics and journalists, use the report to track crime trends.

The missing tables related primarily to arrests and homicides. According to watchdog groups, researchers cannot easily identify, for example, the number of "children under the age of 18 murdered by firearm" or the "number of women murdered by their partners."

Less Accountability

Brian Root, a Human Rights Watch analyst, said this "shift toward greater opacity in policing is especially worrying considering the Trump Administration's efforts to roll back police accountability."

However, the FBI explained that the agency had planned to "streamline" the publication for years. For example, most of the "tables removed from the publication provide alternate views of the same data."

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