Monday, September 26, 2016

FBI Crime Data For 2015 - Inconsistencies in the Data

FBI Crime Data Statistics - including extended data have been released for 2015.

I am letting my readers know, in  the spirit of full disclosure, because I often cite the FBI data in writing and discussions. 

This is the normal time of year when the prior years datasets are released.   The timing of this release is completely normal.  This is the normal time of year when the prior years datasets are released.  It takes sometime for the FBI to gather all the information from every jurisdiction and agency in every US state and territory.  

However, there are conflicts in the data.

For every year, there a huge number of tables- MS Excel spreadsheets- that are released.  The tables for each year, have  columns showing the previous five years of historical data.   For example a table that may show 2014 data would also have columns for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. That same dataset for the year 2015- it would have columns dataing back to 2011. 

Normally, one would expect the data in the report for 2012 would be the same for each report, the 2012 data should be the same on each page it appears. The number of people murdered by drowning, for example in 2012 should be the same in the 2012 column in the 2013 report - with the column 2013 data added-- we should not see the numbers for 2012 (or any other prior years) be different than they were in the previous years  report. 

I have sent an email to the FBI asking for clarification.  I will share any response I receive. 

Until that time, I am concerned with using the 2015 data in posts online.  



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