FBI Crime Fiasco: ‘Nearly 40%’ of Law Enforcement Agencies Didn’t Report

FBI cap Handgun revolver iStock-ASphotowed 859570532.jpg
Want to know how many people were murdered last year with firearms? Good luck if you rely on the FBI Uniform Crime Report, critics suggest. iStock-ASphotowed 859570532.jpg

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2021 is now available and it is already making news for being alarmingly incomplete, according to the Marshall Project, which revealed several weeks ago “Nearly 40% of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the U.S. failed to report crime data to the FBI’s national database in 2021 after the transition to a new collection system.”

As noted by journalist Kelly McBride—senior vice president and chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at The Poynter Institute—writing at Poynter.com. She pulls no punches with the observation, “This new National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) will be fertile ground for those who want to distort or exaggerate crime trends for political or commercial reasons. And, it lays bare a dirty secret about counting crime in the United States: As a nation, we keep horrible, incomplete data that makes it impossible to get an accurate sense of the scope or impact of crime.”

When the FBI last year debuted the 2020 Crime Report, using its new NIBRS platform, it quickly became obvious this new system is user-unfriendly. With the old FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR), which used the Summary Reporting System (SRS) to gather and provide information, one had relatively easy access to data on the number of homicides, types of weapons used, a state-by-state estimate of homicide totals, data on the number of fatal police shootings and self-defense shootings by private citizens, and data about assault, robbery and other crimes; all the things news agencies need in order to provide the public with as clear a picture of crime in the United States as possible.

Not anymore, as McBride notes: “Describing local crime trends with authority and context is the single biggest challenge for newsrooms across the United States seeking to improve their coverage of public safety.”

(Last year, this reporter called and sent email inquiries to the FBI public information section, seeking guidance on how to use the new format. Calls were never returned, and neither did email inquiries receive a reply.)

WGNO news in New Orleans spoke with Jeff Asher, co-founder of AH Datalytics, because the New Orleans Police Department was one of the agencies that did not file statistics with the new NIBRS platform. He told the news agency that December 2019 “was the last time they produced crime stats on the website.”

As noted by the Brennan Center, “On January 1, 2021, however, the FBI stopped accepting data through the Summary Reporting System.”

Still, Fox News was able to report that violent crime in the U.S. continued to rise across the country last year based on this year’s FBI report, but the revelation was couched with this attribution: “according to an annual estimate the FBI released Wednesday.” The data has now become an “estimate.”

According to the Fox News report, “Murders increased 4.3% last year, rising from 22,000 to 22,900, while rape instances rose as well. The FBI acknowledges that violent crime is at the very least matching the high levels seen in 2020, which surged nearly 30% over 2019.”

But the Fox story also said this: “The FBI’s report was expected to miss an estimated 2.1 million total crimes across the country in 2021 due to the methodology change, according to a report from The Marshall Project and Axios.”

Fox says the FBI report comes months after Deputy Director Paul Abbate reported in April that homicides and assaults were happening at a staggering rate.

“There’s gun violence, homicides and aggravated assaults, and are all occurring at an appalling rate, not to mention hate crimes and the persistent threat posed by violent extremists,” Abbate reportedly said at the time.

There is an alternative, the Centers for Disease Control, which publishes charts showing quarterly and yearly trends, identified as “provisional estimates.” However, Ammoland checked the charts and found they appear to focus on rates rather than raw numbers, and there is so far no final data on the actual number of homicides last year, which is what news agencies and platforms, including Ammoland, have relied upon in the past and the public wants.

At least with the FBI’s older Summary Reporting System there was an estimate of the actual number of homicide victims with a state breakdown and data on whether guns, knives, blunt instruments, poisons or “personal weapons” (feet, fists) were used.

With the new format, one gets confusing numbers broken down with basic lists for handguns, shotguns and rifles, but also there is a generic “firearm” category, plus categories for “handgun (automatic), Firearm (Automatic) and Rifle (Automatic), along with “other firearm.” It is not clear whether these subsets are part of the larger overall number, or are supposed to stand alone.

The older SRS system may not have provided the kind of flash of the new NIBRS platform, but it had substance and made data easier to find and understand.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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Does that mean there were more murders in Chicago that weren’t reported as well? Can’t trust anyone.


We are in DEEP trouble with this screwed-up data system. I can already foresee Election 2020 type result in the 2022 data reporting which is going to play into disastrous results for the firearms industry and the 2A arena. Perhaps this is what the left needed to complete their try at the “assault weapons ban” that they are trying to shove through the senate? Afterall, they are already trying to ban “weapons” that do not exist in the hands of the public?

Last edited 2 months ago by USMC0351Grunt

The weak link has always been the numbers the law enforcement agency’s have put in.


Dave nailed it! The B&H fiasco, I mean administration, will jump all over this to claim that their new anti gun/ anti liberty policies are working to curb crime in a dramatic fashion. What a bunch of ass clowns!


Either that or screw up the data for just the opposite to show 10 times MORE problems occur, thereby demanding to the likes of confiscation.


Hi Tony. You might want to think about changing your handle. You never know what you might meet out here and I would advise being careful unless you are not concerned. 73s.


“Garbage in — GARBAGE OUT.” This is the new montra this current ILLEGALLY INSTALLED CABAL IS USING!!


Another good article, Dave. It seems that the FBI is completely controlled by the leftist controlled administration now in power. Garland keeps any bad PR about this regime secret. “There oughta be a law”.


I think the fix to this would be pretty easy if they just instituted an instantaneous daily tab system for every police Department. Registers what happened that day at the end of the business day and it goes to a central computer that puts it in just like a voting machine. why would you want to wait till the end of the year and go back and add up everything that happened for the previous year? let’s get it current and up to the minute. That would also make it easier to spot Trends in crime


Watch a new show called “On Patrol Live”
That will show you why the local governments don’t want those real statistics out.
Friday and Saturdays 21:00-00:00 live with 8 Departments. That’s only small departments too.


Yes I watch it. Stay away from Nye Nevada. LOL

Matt in Oklahoma

Hmm the king and kings men are having trouble with compliance
Even the other feds tire of the antics


Let’s face reality. The numbers never held any real value. Exactly when did they ever benefit gun owners ? Was it in NY, NJ, Cali, Md, etc ? Maybe 1968, before & after ? Maybe during Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Obama reign ? When did judicial & legislative ever really use the numbers to the benefit of 2A ? The antis used the numbers better than gun owners. They would just REPORT how many people died. And that seemed to steer the argument their way, due to FEELINGS. And then rinse & repeat. So is it really going to matter if… Read more »


Besides what occurred at Bundy Ranch, I haven’t seen much of anything happen in force.

uncle dudley

I find it harder to believe anything coming out of this administration, we have seen too many falsehoods or down right lies from the different branches.
The deep state is alive, and Trump didn’t get the swamp drained.


you could not drain that swamp with 5 100megaton bombs


Not for lack of trying.


I know another 40% associated with law enforcement.