This audit, performed to evaluate controls over and reliability of crime statistics reporting, reviewed calendar year 2021 crime reporting in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
The Scottsdale Police Department (SPD) reports crime statistics to the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. Within SPD, the Planning, Research and Accreditation (PRA) unit reviews and submits these crime statistics. DPS compiles all Arizona statistics and sends them to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) UCR program.
As of January 1, 2021, SPD submits crime statistics for NIBRS, which is more detailed than the previous summary reporting. NIBRS data is generated from police reports entered in the department’s records management system. Throughout the month, PRA police analysts perform quality reviews of the accuracy of the UCR information before transmitting the monthly data to the DPS system.
Based on our review of incident data and the department’s quality review process, crime statistics were generally reported accurately, though some quality control processes could be improved. We found:
- Inconsistencies in coding incident dispositions resulted in minor errors in the number of crimes and clearances reported. Inconsistencies may also affect the accuracy of internal department data on clearances.
- Because of the transition to the new reporting method, crimes that occurred in the past but were reported to SPD in 2021 are not included in crime statistics.
- Errors and outdated information in the statute mapping table may impact the accuracy of crime reporting.
- Overrides to UCR codes are not routinely documented and reviewed.
Other recommended improvements included:
- Establishing written procedures to promote consistency in the quality review process,
- Evaluating whether reviews for duplicate clearances are still needed, and
- Providing information on the department’s website about the City’s crime statistics.
The department agreed with the recommendations and plans to complete implementation by the end of calendar year 2022.