CRIME STATISTICS - Frequently Asked Questions
In order to compare statistical information on a national basis it was necessary to come up with a common definition for crime comparison, one that would transcend individual state laws, and create standardized definitions of crimes . This was done through defining serious and non-serious offenses.
“Major Crimes” is interchangeable with "Part I Crimes". These are terms that refer to seven crimes designated by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting System as a basis for charting crime trends across the United States. These seven crimes are: homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, which comprise Violent Crimes; and burglary, larceny/theft and vehicle theft, which comprise Property Crimes.
Part I crimes are comprised primarily of serious felonies and Part II crimes are comprised of less serious felonies and misdemeanors. Together these two types of classifications make up the crimes reported in the Uniform Crime Reports.
The simple definitions of Major Crimes, as used by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting system are, as follows:
- Homicide – the willful killing of one human being by another.
- Rape – carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.
- Robbery – the taking or attempted taking of anything of value from another person by force, threat of force and/or by putting the victim in fear.
- Aggravated Assault – an unlawful attack by one person on another for the purpose of inflicting severe bodily injury. Many such assaults are accompanied by a weapon.
- Burglary - the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.
- Larceny-theft – the unlawful taking of someone’s property by means other than force, violence or fraud.
- Vehicle theft – theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.
More detailed definitions and technical aspects of each Major Crime may be found at the FBI Uniform Crime Reports website.
Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) is a Federal law enforcement program that provides a nationwide view of crime based on the submission of statistics by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The committee on UCR of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) developed and initiated this voluntary national data collection effort in 1930 and still continues to advise the FBI on the conduct of the UCR program. The FBI collects and compiles data for law enforcement administration, operation, and management to give indications to the fluctuations in the level of crime in America.
The Seattle Police Department cautions against using crime and/or other police data to make decisions/comparisons regarding the safety of an area or the amount of crime. Data provided represents only police services where a report was made and does not include other calls for police service.
This data does not reflect or certify "safe" or "unsafe" areas. When looking at crime statistics it is important to consider geography (business vs. residential), and major institutions that exist within the boundaries (i.e. hospitals, schools, parks, etc.) of the reporting areas.
Data will sometimes reflect where the crime was reported versus where the crime occurred. Areas with a high volume of foot traffic or that are more densely populated may have more reported crime. This does not necessarily mean more crime occurs there, but that more crime is reported there.