California had the second lowest percentage of law enforcement officers who turned over crime data to the FBI last year.
Main picture: The estimated number of violent crimes in the US decreased slightly in 2021 from 2020, according to the FBI – but the data is incomplete because 40 percent of law enforcement agencies across the country failed to report their crime rates.
- Experts say the data gap makes it more difficult to analyze crime trends and monitor politicians’ comments about crime, reports Weihua Li of the Marshall Project.
Context: The FBI’s annual data set is the first way to understand how crime is changing in the US, measuring trends such as how many murders or rapes occurred in the previous year or the total number of arrests per year.
By numbers: An Axios analysis of FBI data released earlier this year found that 2% of California law enforcement officers turned over crime data.
Zoom in: None of the seven San Francisco law enforcement agencies reported crime data to the FBI in 2021.
- Yes, but: 100% of law enforcement agencies in Connecticut, Delaware, North Dakota and Vermont have submitted their crime data to the FBI.
The plot: Art Acevedo, former chief of police in Houston and Miami, told Axios the lack of communication could be a technological challenge for local agencies to get the new reporting system that the FBI introduced in January 2021.
- Lenore Anderson, founder and president of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, said many organizations still use pen and paper to track crimes and enter data.
The most important thing: Unless states require police and sheriff’s departments to submit crime data to the FBI at higher rates, states will not be able to identify crime-related trends and implement policies accordingly.