Appendix 3

Crime in the United States

Definitions of terms

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Note: The following information has been excerpted from U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States, 2002, pp. 442-444, 448, 454-457; 2003, pp. 5, 6, 482-484, 490, 497-500; 2004, pp. 5, 6, 488-497, 505-508 (Washington, DC: USGPO); 2005 [Online]. Available: http:// [Mar. 23, 2007]; 2006 [Online]. Available: [Dec. 5, 2007]; 2007 [Online]. Available: [Feb. 12, 2009]. Non-substantive editorial adaptations have been made. See U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook Revised 2004 [Online]. Available: for further definitions and information on classification and counting rules.

Population definitions

For purposes of statistical presentation, the cities and counties in the United States are divided into groups based on population size. The population group classifications used by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Population group, political label, and population coverage
I City 250,000 and over
II City 100,000 to 249,999
III City 50,000 to 99,999
IV City 25,000 to 49,999
V City 10,000 to 24,999
VI Citya Less than 10,000
Countyb NA
Countyb NA

aIncludes universities and colleges to which no population is attributed.
bIncludes State police to which no population is attributed.
c"Nonmetropolitan" county beginning in 2003.
d"Metropolitan" county beginning in 2003.

Based on data from the 2000 decennial census, the U.S. Census Bureau revised the criteria for metropolitan area designation. Based on the revised standards, the UCR Program, beginning in 2003, refers to "suburban" counties as "metropolitan" counties, "rural" counties as "nonmetropolitan" counties, and "central" cities as "principal" cities.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)--This includes a central (principal) city or an urbanized area of at least 50,000 people. The county containing the central (principal) city and other adjacent counties having a high degree of economic and social integration with the central (principal) city and county also are included. Counties in an MSA are designated "suburban" (metropolitan) for UCR purposes. An MSA may cross State lines. Due to changes in the geographic composition of MSAs, no year-to-year comparisons of data for those areas should be attempted. New England MSAs are comprised of cities and towns instead of counties. For purposes of tabular presentation, the UCR Program assigns New England cities and towns to the proper MSAs. Some counties, however, have both suburban and rural portions. Data for State police and sheriffs in those jurisdictions are included in statistics for the rural areas. MSAs made up approximately 80% of the total U.S. population in 2002, 83% in 2003-2006, and 84% in 2007.

Rural (nonmetropolitan) counties--counties outside MSAs that are comprised of mostly unincorporated areas. Rural county law enforcement agencies served 12% of the national population in 2002 and 10% in 2003-2007.

Suburban areas--These areas consist of cities with populations of less than 50,000 as well as unincorporated areas within an MSA, and exclude central (principal) cities. Suburban areas can, therefore, be divided into suburban cities and suburban counties.

Other cities--Other cities are urban places outside MSAs; most of these areas are incorporated. These cities comprised 8% of the 2002 national population, 7% of the population in 2003-2007, and 6% in 2007.

As a general rule, sheriffs, county police, and State police report on crimes committed within the limits of counties, but outside cities; local police report on crimes committed within city limits.

The major source of UCR data is the individual law enforcement agency. The number of agencies included in each population group will vary slightly from year to year due to population growth, geopolitical consolidation, municipal incorporation, etc. For noncensus years, population figures for individual jurisdictions are estimated by the UCR Program. The UCR Program obtains current population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau to estimate population counts for all contributing law enforcement agencies. The Census Bureau also provides revised State and national population estimates for the previous year and provisional State and national population estimates for the current year. Using these revised census data, the national UCR Program updates the previous year's Census Bureau city and county estimates and calculates current year State growth rates. The UCR Program updates population figures for individual jurisdictions by applying current year State growth rates to the updated Census Bureau data for the prior year.

Table 2. Population group and number of contributing agencies
Population group Number of agencies
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

(Rural countyb,c)

(Suburban countyc,d)
aIncludes universities and colleges to which no population is attributed.
b"Nonmetropolitan" county beginning in 2003.
cIncludes State police to which no population is attributed.
d"Metropolitan" county beginning in 2003.

Regions and divisions

The United States is divided into four regions; these regions are further divided into nine divisions. The following is a list of States within divisions and regions.

New England--Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.
Middle Atlantic--New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.
East North Central--Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin.
West North Central--Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota.
South Atlantic--Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia.
East South Central--Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee.
West South Central--Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas.
Mountain--Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming.
Pacific--Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington.

The Crime Index, Part I, and Part II offenses

The Crime Index

The following offenses and attempts to commit these offenses were used in compiling the Crime Index: (1) murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, (2) forcible rape, (3) robbery, (4) aggravated assault, (5) burglary, (6) larceny-theft, (7) motor vehicle theft, and (8) arson. Arson was added as the eighth index offense in October 1978. (Manslaughter by negligence and simple or minor assaults are not included in the Crime Index.)

Beginning with publication of the 2003 data, the UCR Program discontinued use of the Crime Index. In recent years the Crime Index has been driven up by the offense with the highest incidence, larceny-theft, creating a bias against jurisdictions with a high number of larceny-thefts but a low number of other more serious crimes. Larceny-theft accounts for nearly 60% of reported crime and the sheer volume overshadows more serious but less frequently committed offenses. As a result, it was determined that the Crime Index no longer served its original purpose.

Offenses in the UCR Program are divided into two groups, Part I and Part II. Each month, participating law enforcement agencies submit information on the volume of Part I offenses known to the agencies, those cleared by arrest or exceptional means, and the age, sex, and race of persons arrested for each offense. Only arrest data are collected for Part II offenses.

Part I offenses

Criminal homicide--a. Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter: the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another. Deaths caused by negligence, attempts to kill, assaults to kill, suicides, accidental deaths, and justifiable homicides are excluded. Justifiable homicides are limited to: (1) the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty or (2) the killing of a felon, during commission of a felony, by a private citizen. b. Manslaughter by negligence: the killing of another person through gross negligence. Traffic fatalities are excluded.

Forcible rape--The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Included are rapes by force and attempts or assaults to rape, regardless of the age of the victim. Statutory offenses (no force used--victim under age of consent) are excluded.

Robbery--The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.

Aggravated assault--An unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually is accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Simple assaults are excluded.

Burglary--breaking or entering--The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft. Attempted forcible entry is included.

Larceny-theft (except motor vehicle theft)--The unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another. Examples are thefts of bicycles or automobile accessories, shoplifting, pocket-picking, or the stealing of any property or article that is not taken by force and violence or by fraud. Attempted larcenies are included. Embezzlement, "con" games, forgery, check fraud, etc., are excluded.

Motor vehicle theft--The theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle. A motor vehicle is self-propelled and runs on land surface and not on rails. Specifically excluded from this category are motorboats, construction equipment, airplanes, and farming equipment.

Arson--Any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.

Part II offenses

Other assaults (simple)--Assaults and attempted assaults where no weapon is used and that do not result in serious or aggravated injury to the victim. Stalking, intimidation, coercion, and hazing are included.

Forgery and counterfeiting--Altering, copying, or imitating something without authority with the intent to deceive or defraud by passing the copy or anything altered or imitated as that which is original or genuine; or the selling, buying, or possession of an altered, copied, or imitated thing with intent to deceive or defraud. Attempts are included.

Fraud--The intentional perversion of the truth for the purpose of inducing another person or entity, in reliance upon it, to part with something of value or surrender a legal right. Fraudulent conversion and obtaining of money or property by false pretenses. Included are confidence games and bad checks, except forgeries and counterfeiting.

Embezzlement--The unlawful misappropriation or misapplication of money or property, or some other thing of value entrusted to one's care, custody, or control.

Stolen property; buying, receiving, possessing--Buying, receiving, possessing,selling, concealing, or transporting any property with the knowledge that it has been unlawfully taken, including attempts.

Vandalism--Willful or malicious destruction, injury, disfigurement, or defacement of any public or private property, real or personal, without consent of the owner or persons having custody or control. Attempts are included.

Weapons; carrying, possessing, etc.--Violation of laws or ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, sale, purchase, transportation, possession, concealment, or use of firearms, cutting instruments, explosives, incendiary devices, or other deadly weapons. Attempts are included.

Prostitution and commercialized vice--Unlawful promotion of or participation in sexual activities for profit. To solicit customers or transport persons for prostitution purposes; to own, manage, or operate a dwelling for the purpose of providing a place where prostitution is performed. Attempts are included.

Sex offenses (except forcible rape, prostitution, and commercialized vice)--Statutory rape; incest; and indecent exposure; and offenses against chastity, common decency, morals, and the like. Attempts are included.

Drug abuse violations--Violation of laws prohibiting the production, distribution, and/or use of certain controlled substances. The unlawful cultivation, manufacture, distribution, sale, purchase, use, possession, transportation, or importation of any controlled drug or narcotic substance. Violation of State and local offenses relating to the unlawful possession, sale, use, growing, and manufacturing of narcotic drugs. The following drug categories are specified: opium or cocaine and their derivatives (morphine, heroin, codeine); marijuana; synthetic narcotics--manufactured narcotics that can cause addiction (demerol, methadone); and dangerous non-narcotic drugs (barbiturates, benzedrine).

Gambling--To unlawfully bet or wager money or something of value; assist, promote, or operate a game of chance for money or some other stake; possess or transmit wagering information; manufacture, sell, purchase, possess, or transport gambling equipment, devices, or goods; or tamper with the outcome of a sporting event or contest to gain advantage.

Offenses against family and children--Unlawful nonviolent acts by a family member or guardian that threaten the physical, mental, or economic well being or morals of another family member and that are not classifiable as another offense such as assault. Attempts are included.

Driving under the influence--Driving or operating any motor vehicle or common carrier while mentally or physically impaired as the result of consuming an alcoholic beverage or using a drug.

Liquor laws--Violation of State or local laws prohibiting the manufacture, sale, purchase, transportation, possession, or use of alcoholic beverages, not including "drunkenness" and "driving under the influence." Federal violations are excluded.

Drunkenness--To drink alcoholic beverages to the extent that one's mental faculties and physical coordination are substantially impaired, not including "driving under the influence."

Disorderly conduct--Any behavior that disturbs the public peace or decorum, scandalizes the community, or shocks the public sense of morality.

Vagrancy--Violation of a court order, regulation, ordinance, or law requiring the withdrawal of persons from the streets or other specified area; prohibiting persons from remaining in an area in an idle or aimless manner; prohibiting persons from going from place to place without visible means of support.

All other offenses--All violations of State or local laws not specifically identified as Part I or Part II offenses, except traffic offenses.

Suspicion--Arrested for no specific offense and suspect released without formal charges being placed.

Curfew and loitering laws (persons under age 18)--Violations by juveniles of local curfew or loitering ordinances.

Runaways (persons under age 18)--Limited to juveniles taken into protective custody under provisions of local statutes.

Offense estimation

Not all law enforcement agencies provide data for complete reporting periods. The UCR Program generates estimated crime counts for agencies with incomplete reporting. These estimated counts are used to generate offense totals for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), cities outside MSAs, and rural (nonmetropolitan) counties. Using the known crime figures of similar areas within a State, the national UCR Program computes estimates by assigning the same proportional crime volumes to nonreporting agencies or agencies with missing data. The size of the population covered by the law enforcement agency; type of jurisdiction, e.g., police department versus sheriff's office; and geographic location are considered in the estimation process.

Various circumstances require the national Program to estimate certain State offense totals. For example, some States do not provide forcible rape figures in accordance with UCR guidelines; reporting problems at the State level have, at times, resulted in little or no usable data; and the conversion of summary reporting to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) has contributed to the need for unique estimation procedures.

The Illinois (beginning in 1985), Michigan (1993), and Minnesota (1993 and 2007) State UCR Programs were unable to provide forcible rape figures in accordance with UCR guidelines. The rape totals were estimated using national rates per 100,000 inhabitants within the eight population groupsand assigning the forcible rape volumes proportionally to each State. The Delaware State UCR Program was unable to provide 1998 forcible rape figures in accordance with UCR guidelines; the 1998 forcible rape total was estimated by reducing the number of reported offenses by the proportion of male forcible rape victims statewide.

In recent years, a number of States have been involved in the NIBRS conversion process. During the conversion process, little or no data were available from law enforcement agencies in these States. The following is a summary of States providing either incomplete data or no data for certain years, either due to NIBRS conversion or due to other reporting problems:

1988:Florida, Kentucky
1993:Illinois, Kansas
1994:Illinois, Kansas, Montana
1995:Illinois, Kansas, Montana
1996:Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana
1997:Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, Vermont
1998:Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin
1999:Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire
2000:Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana
2001:Illinois, Kentucky
2002:Illinois, Kentucky
2003:Illinois, Kentucky
2004: Illinois

State totals were estimated using procedures based on data availability specific to each State, and the population group and geographic division to which the State belongs.

Table 3. Total U.S. population, 1960-2007a
1960 179,323,175
1961 182,992,000
1962 185,771,000
1963 188,483,000
1964 191,141,000
1965 193,526,000
1966 195,576,000
1967 197,457,000
1968 199,399,000
1969 201,385,000
1970 203,235,298
1971 206,212,000
1972 208,230,000
1973 209,851,000
1974 211,392,000
1975 213,124,000
1976 214,659,000
1977 216,332,000
1978 218,059,000
1979 220,099,000
1980 225,349,264
1981 229,146,000
1982 231,534,000
1983 233,981,000
1984 236,158,000
1985 238,740,000
1986 241,077,000
1987 243,400,000
1988 245,807,000
1989 248,239,000
1990 248,709,873
1991 252,177,000
1992 255,082,000
1993 257,908,000
1994 260,341,000
1995 262,755,000
1996 265,284,000
1997 267,637,000
1998 270,296,000
1999 272,691,000
2000 281,421,906
2001 284,796,887
2002 288,368,698
2003 290,809,777
2004 293,655,404
2005 296,410,404
2006 299,398,484
2007 301,621,157
aPopulation figures are U.S. Census Bureau provisional estimates as of July 1 for each year except 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000, which are the decennial census counts.