FBI crime statistics for Murrieta will be different

MURRIETA, Calif. — For residents who track crime in Murrieta and, in particular, the annual FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program for the city, changes are coming.

Last month, the Murrieta Police Department became certified by the California Department of Justice. The department is one of the few California law enforcement agencies to have received the certification, according to the Murrieta Police Department.

Why is this so important to crime watchers? In 2016, the FBI asked all law enforcement agencies nationwide to switch to NIBRS, which is designed to improve the overall quality, accuracy, and timeliness of crime data collected.

For decades, the national standard for crime reporting and data collection has been through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey’s Summary Reporting System (SRS). In 2021, the UCR program phased out the SRS and moved to collecting NIBRS data only.

So, for those waiting for the annual FBI release of UCR data for Murrieta, the crime count will likely look higher than it has in the past for some categories of offenses, but that doesn’t mean the crime has increased in the city – it just means that the way crimes are reported has changed, according to authorities.

For example, the old SRS system showed how many rapes occurred and how many arrests there were for rape offenses (by age, gender, race, and ethnicity of the person arrested) in Murrieta. However, the NIBRS will show how many rapes have taken place; the age, gender, race and ethnicity of victims, perpetrators and any suspects arrested for rape; the date, time and place of such offences; links to any other offenses that may have occurred in these incidents; and whether or not the offenses were motivated by bias, according to the FBI.

In a press release, Murrieta Police Chief Anthony Conrad acknowledged that the new NIBRS method is going to be different than it was under the SRS system, and some towns will not have data to show. According to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 7% of Calfornia’s population was covered by NIBRS reporting agencies in 2021.

To address the potential perception that an agency like Murrieta PD has a higher level of crime with the new system, NIBRS established a baseline that more accurately captures reported crime in a community. Other cities may not meet this required new standard in years to come, but Murrieta will continue to have FBI-approved crime ratings, according to Conrad.

Patch requested an updated list of NIBRS-certified law enforcement agencies in California. This story will be updated when this list becomes available.

The Murrieta Police Department was able to secure a grant to help fund the transition to NIBRS.

“Throughout this process, Murrieta PD has met the grant criteria and once final payment is approved, will have received $48,807 from the federal government for the NIBRS Implementation Project,” according to Murrieta’s press release. PD.

The agency continued, “As one of the safest cities in the nation, Murrieta prides itself on its FBI crime statistics each year.”