Methodological Notes

General Notes

The FBI’s annual Crime in the U.S. report was used to analyze state-level index crime and arrest data for 2006–2016. The latest full year of crime and arrest data at the time this report was produced was 2016. States may have more complete information about crime and arrests, including non-index crimes and arrests for which there are gaps in federal reporting, but this information was not included in this report. Reported crime in this report includes only index crime unless otherwise noted.

For this report, annual data collections from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) were used to analyze state prison, probation, and parole populations as well as national victimization rates for 2005–2015. The latest year of data available for these annual data collections at the time this report was produced was 2015.

Notes on Crime, Arrest, and Victimization Data

  • The FBI reports two types of index crime: property crime and violent crime. Violent index crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property index crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Due to gaps in reporting on arson, this offense type is excluded from property crime rates.
  • In 2013, the FBI expanded its definition of rape. Starting that year, states reported figures corresponding to both the legacy and the revised definitions. In this report, analysis of rape data between 2006 and 2016 uses the legacy definition. Analysis involving only 2016 data uses the revised definition.
  • Arrests for non-index crimes include arrests for all crimes other than the eight index crimes noted above, including but not limited to drug offenses, DUI, simple assault, and shoplifting.
  • Information on crime victimization in this report is based on the BJS National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), a national survey using a representative sample of all U.S. residents age 12 or older examining the frequency and characteristics of crime victimization. Victimization rates reported in this report include the number of victimizations per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes included in victimization data are rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. Homicides are excluded from violent crime victimization data.

Notes on Probation and Parole Data

  • Unless otherwise noted, probation data in this report comes from the BJS Annual Probation Survey. This survey is completed by state agencies and includes a count of people on probation for felony offenses and may or may not include misdemeanor offenses, depending on the state’s ability to report misdemeanor probation.
  • The term “parole” in this report includes any post-release supervision period following release from prison outside of post-release probation. Some states that have abolished discretionary parole may still have “parole” populations under this definition.