National Incident-Based Reporting System, 2015: Extract Files (ICPSR 36851)

Published: Aug 16, 2017

Principal Investigator(s):
National Archive of Criminal Justice Data


Version V1

NIBRS, 2015

The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is a part of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The extract files version of NIBRS was created to simplify working with NIBRS data. Data management issues with NIBRS are significant, especially when two or more segment levels are being merged. These issues require skills separate from data analysis. NIBRS data as formatted by the FBI are stored in a single file. These data are organized by various segment levels (record types). There are six main segment levels: administrative, offense, property, victim, offender, and arrestee. Each segment level has a different length and layout. There are other segment levels that occur with less frequency than the six main levels. Significant computing resources are necessary to work with the data in its single-file format. In addition, the user must be sophisticated in working with data in complex file types. For these reasons and the desire to facilitate the use of NIBRS data, ICPSR created the extract files. The data are not a representative sample of crime in the United States.

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics


Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research



Starting with the 2012 data, some offense, location, bias motivation, race, and ethnicity codes have been added or modified to include recent Advisory Policy Board (APB) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policy mandates to the UCR Program related to Human Trafficking, Hate Crime, and Race and Ethnicity information.

At the recommendation of the CJIS APB and with the approval of the FBI Director, the FBI UCR Program initiated the collection of rape data under a revised definition and removed the term "forcible" from the offense name in 2013. The changes bring uniformity to the offense in both the Summary Reporting System (SRS) and the NIBRS by capturing data (1) without regard to gender, (2) including penetration of any bodily orifice by any object or body part, and (3) including offenses where physical force is not involved. As a result of this decision, the program renamed the NIBRS sex offenses - Forcible Rape to Rape, Forcible Sodomy to Sodomy, and Forcible Fondling to Fondling.

Prior to the 2013 data, the Batch Header information was released as three segments. Due to the NIBRS data rapidly growing in size, the FBI has removed the B1, B2, and B3 sections. All information in these sections is now contained in a single batch header (BH) segment. Variable names have been updated to reflect the change in the record layout.

Data for the state of Vermont are excluded for 2015 due to technical issues.

NIBRS is an incident-based reporting system which means data are collected on each single crime occurrence. NIBRS data are designed to be generated as a by-product of local, State, and Federal automated records management systems. Thus, an agency can build its own system to suit its individual needs, including all the information required for administrative and operational purposes. Only the data required by NIBRS are then reported to the national UCR Program.

NIBRS collects data on each single incident and arrest within 22 offense categories made up of 46 specific crimes called Group A offenses. For each of the offenses coming to the attention of law enforcement, various facts about the crime are collected. In addition to the Group A offenses, there are 11 Group B offense categories for which only arrest data are reported.

Central to NIBRS is the concept of a crime incident. An incident is defined for NIBRS reporting purposes as one or more offenses committed by the same offender, or group of offenders acting in concert, at the same time and place. "Acting in concert" requires that the offenders actually commit or assist in the commission of the crime(s). The offenders must be aware of, and consent to, the commission of the crime(s); or even if nonconsenting, their actions assist in the commission of the offense(s). This is important because all of the offenders in an incident are considered to have committed all of the offenses in the incident. If one or more of the offenders did not act in concert, then there is more than one incident involved.

The phrase "same time and place" means that the time interval between the offenses and the distance between the locations where they occurred were insignificant. Normally, the offenses must have occurred during an unbroken period of time and at the same or adjoining location(s). However, incidents can also consist of offenses which by their nature involve continuing criminal activity by the same offender(s) at different times and places, as long as the activity is deemed to constitute a single criminal transaction.


Law enforcement agencies in the United States participating in the National Incident-Based Reporting System.

Dataset four - Arrestee

Dataset one - Incident

Dataset three - Offender

Dataset two - Victim

event/transaction data

record abstracts



2017-08-16 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

NACJD logo

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.