(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The St. Joseph Police Department is helping to change the way crime statistics are reported nationally.
The department has successfully been Missouri Incident Based Reporting System (MIBRS) certified, making St. Joe the 38th city in the state to get the certification.
"It's a significant shift in the way that we manage things; how data is collected, the details of that data and the research capability of the data," Dawn Hill, Supervisor at St. Joseph Police Department, said.
Back in June 2016, the Criminal Justice Information Policy Advisory Board gave the department until January of 2021 to get MIBRS certified.
MIBRS is also known as IBS around the country, and is a system used by the FBI to gather more in depth, detail oriented criminal reports to use for national crime statistics.
"Criminal justice data has always been a priority to the St. Joseph Police Department," Hill said. "We use that to improve our community relations and our local policing policies."
The detailed reports allow for more prominent and accurate national crime statistics.
"We're collecting more information and reporting to the state more information regarding each incident, including every single crime that occurs during the incident," Ron Gordon, Public Safety Network Adminstrator, said.
To get certified, the department had to meet certain criteria set by the state and the FBI. SJPD had to successfully submit crime data based on incident based reporting for three consecutive months getting a 96 percent or higher score from the state.
Hill said it takes about six months on average to get the certification. However, the department was able to achieve it in just three months.
"I have to tell you that with the folks I'm working with here it does not surprise me at all that we were able to accomplish that," Gordon said.
The department previously used a summary reporting system, or Uniformed Crime Reporting (UCR).
Hill said the difference between UCR and MIBRS comes down to the details. Nationally, UCR only tracks eight different offenses: murder, rape, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault, arsen, larceny and motor vehicle thefts.
The department would report on these offenses and the most serious of the crimes would be recorded nationally.
MIBRS looks at 49 different offenses, and also tracks the date, location and time of the offense among many other critical details.
"Weapons, drug usage, details of property loss or injuries in the victim. You can see how all of these things would be really beneficial when looking at the type of data and trying to determine how crime is effecting our communities," Hill said.
The department will be able to look at the statistics for St. Joe and compare them to local jurisdictions, or jurisdictions around the country.
"We can look on a national scale and see how we compare to other jurisdictions of our size," Hill said.
Hill said being able to compare the department to similar jurisdictions across the country will help the department locate crime areas they can improve.
"We can take crime statistics from all of that and find ways to develop strategies and solve crime problems across the board," Hill said.
The information will also be available to the public to view online.
While SJPD was the 38th department to get MIBRS certified in the state, they were the first to successfully make the software modifications that needed to be made for the system.
"We've been instrumental in assisting other agencies in getting set up," Hill said. "So, it's exciting."