With an eye on greater specificity, The Maricopa Police Department is in the process of transitioning to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). It’s an advanced data capturing tool created to help officers prevent crimes by giving them the ability to track and address broader criminal trends.
Throughout 2021, police stations across the nation began implementing NIBRS at the direction of the FBI and at the recommendation of professional law enforcement organizations.
NIBRS improves the overall accuracy and quality of crime data collection by recording multiple offenses that occur within a single event. For example, under the current system a crime involving theft, assault, property damage and reckless endangerment would be categorized and recorded only as a single offense, whichever is most serious. NIBRS will allow officers to record up to 10 individual offenses within a single event. It also tracks information on relationships between offenders and victims, known habitual offenders, arrestees, and property involved in crimes.
In an email, Police Chief James Hughes said that the change is a welcomed one.
“Maricopa already sets the safety standard many cities in Arizona aspire to,” Hughes said. “As our city continues to grow, we need the resources in place to make sure we maintain that high bar. Now is the time to put that system in place so we can have a clear understanding of the challenges we face in combatting criminal behavior, especially with regards to lower level yet more common offenses.”
Using NIBRS will offer valuable context to understand larger trends as well as tools to address and prevent chronic issues such as drug/narcotics and sex offenses, identity theft, animal cruelty and computer hacking. Because this is a nationwide database, Maricopa Police will be able to utilize information from other law enforcement agencies around the country.
It’s also important to understand how this advanced reporting system will impact Maricopa’s monthly crime statistics. Because each offense involved in an event will now be accounted for, monthly totals for individual categories of crime could increase. However, this may not reflect an actual increase in the overall number of crimes committed in Maricopa.