Crime Reporting Standards

Crime Reporting Standards

February 12, 2014

UCLA PD distributes a systemwide annual report, and the standards of this report are summarized in this article. 

The Annual Report & Crime Statistics report contains a summary of the systemwide crime statistics for the University of California for each calendar year. It is divided into sections with one section for each of the ten campuses and one section for the system as a whole. Each section contains charts and graphs allowing for an analysis of crime rates and trends over a period of years. Individual narrative reports provided by the police department on each campus are included

The "University of California Systemwide Annual Report & Crime Statistics" is not the same as the "Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy, Campus Crime Statistics, & Annual Fire Safety Report".  

The crime statistics for the UC Systemwide Annual Report and the Clery Report are based on different criteria.  

For more information about the Clery Report, including the Clery Act crime definitions, please click here.

About the Systemwide Annual Report & Crime Statistics

This report contains a summary of the systemwide crime statistics for UCLA and contains charts and graphs allowing for an analysis of crime rates and trends over a period of years.

What is a crime?

A crime is an act specifically prohibited by law, or failure to perform an act specifically required by law, for which punishment is prescribed.

Felonies are serious crimes for which the offender can be sentenced to state prison.

Misdemeanors are less serious crimes for which the offender can be sentenced to various combinations of fines, probation or county jail time.

Infractions are the least serious offenses, usually punishable by a fine.

How Are Crimes Counted?

Crimes at the University of California campuses are counted through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. The UCR program was inaugurated over 65 years ago and is administered on the national level by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It provides criminal statistics for use in law enforcement administration, operation and management. In California, the Uniform Crime Reporting program is administered by the Criminal Justice Statistics Center (CJSC) of the Department of Justice under the Office of the Attorney General.

As part of this program, UCLA PD and all law enforcement agencies throughout the state, report summary information to CJSC on selected offenses. Offenses reported are classified by UCR definitions designed to eliminate differences among various states in penal code definitions of crimes. This information is not only incorporated in the Annual Report & Crime Statistics report; it is also used in the State of California Crime and Delinquency and the FBI Crime in the United States Publications. The UCR selected offenses are referred to in the reports as "FBI Crime Index Offenses."

The FBI Crime Index Offenses, selected by UCR because of their seriousness, frequency of occurrence and likelihood of being reported to the police are willful homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. Except for larceny-theft, Uniform Crime Reporting does not count misdemeanors and infractions.

In addition to the FBI Crime Index Offenses, this report also lists "Other Offenses," many of which are misdemeanors and infractions. "Other Offenses" included offenses such as simple assault, sex offenses (other than rape) and public drunkenness. These offenses are listed in an attempt to indicate, in more detail than required by the Uniform Crime Reporting program, the types of offenses that occur on the University of California campuses.

Definitions

Definitions of the offenses in both categories are listed in the glossary of this report.

Hierarchy Rule

Most crimes occur singly as opposed to many crimes being committed simultaneously. However, if several offenses are committed at the same time, only one is reported through UCR. For example, if one person were to enter a store, rob eight customers and kill the cashier, only the homicide would be reported.

The hierarchy rule assigns a value to each of the crimes and requires that only the single most serious offenses be reported. Arson is the exception. Since arson frequently occurs in conjunction with other crimes reported in the UCR system, it was felt that valuable information would be lost using the hierarchy rule.

The UCR system collects information in summary form which shows one count for each offense reported. No distinction can be made as to the range of seriousness that can be present in most offenses.

Making Comparisons

Can Jurisdictional Comparisons Be Made With Uniform Crime Reporting Data?
Uniform Crime Reporting data are collected nationwide in a manner that standardizes the definitions of offenses. However, a number of factors can influence crime counts in particular jurisdictions. These factors should be considered when using Uniform Crime Reporting crime statistics, especially for comparison purposes. 

  • Variation in the composition of the population, particularly age structure
  • Population density and size of locality and its surrounding area
  • Stability of population with respect to residents' mobility and transient factors
  • Economic conditions, including job availability
  • Cultural conditions, such as education, recreation and religious characteristics
  • Climate
  • Effective strength of law enforcement agencies
  • Administrative and investigative emphasis of law enforcement
  • Policies of other components of the criminal justice system (i.e. prosecutorial, judicial, correctional and probational)
  • Attitudes of the public toward crime
  • Crime reporting practices of the public

What is the value of the Uniform Crime Reporting program?

Since its inception in 1930, UCR has become a nationwide program. All California law enforcement agencies report UCR data. Quality control surveys conducted by BCS staff since the mid 1970's have shown a high level of compliance with UCR reporting standards. The number of participants and the amount of data collected under the stringent rules of the system make it a prime indicator of the amount and fluctuation of serious crime.

Interpreting the Graphs

Metropolitan Areas

Two graphs are provided depicting statistics for violent and property crime, comparing the data with that of the state and that of the metropolitan area in which the campus is located. The UCLA metropolitan area is Los Angeles County. The FBI's Uniform Crime Report publication, Crime in the United States, shows this county as the metropolitan statistical area for the Los Angeles campus.

Population Figures

It is acknowledged that campuses have a daily population that includes many persons, such as visitors, vendors, contractors and their workers, those attending conferences, patients and others. Factoring in an estimated number to cover these persons was not considered necessary, since a significant percentage of students do not attend classes each day, a proportionate number of faculty do not teach each day and a percentage of staff employees are absent for a variety of legitimate reasons. It is felt such absences offset any figure one might conjure up to cover the additional persons described.

For that reason, the population figure used for the campuses is simply the total number of students, faculty and staff enrolled or employed at each.

(The foregoing contains excerpts from the California Department of Justice publication Crime and Delinquency in California, 1987.)

Police Community Service Director
Email: info@ucpd.ucla.edu
Phone: (310) 825-1491 
Fax: (310) 206-2058
Mail Code: 136408

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Los Angeles, CA 90095-1364

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