Florida’s claim of achieving a 50-year crime low is being called into question due to a significant data gap in the state’s crime figures, Yacob Reyes reports for Axios. Agencies making up almost half of the state’s population are excluded from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s state-wide estimations, making their crime rates both incomplete and difficult to compare with other states or previous years.
Another reporting gap comes on the national level from the recent transition to the FBI’s NIBRS national crime data collection system, which many local agencies have not fully adopted. The deadline for migration for law enforcement agencies was January 2021, when the old Summary Reporting System was retired, but many local agencies haven’t complied. As was reported by The Marshall Project’s Weihua Li in June, Florida’s participation rate for FBI crime data reporting is the lowest of any state in the country.
That incomplete data is being used by politicians, including Governor Ron DeSantis, to support various claims about changes in crime levels and public safety. While the state’s incomplete data does align with national downward trends, experts warn against drawing conclusions from – or making comparisons state-to-state with – incomplete data.
From TCR: It’s worth noting that the NIBRS transition is not that recent. The transition began – and the 2021 deadline was set – at the end of 2015.