Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Agencies Encouraged to Apply for Crime Reporting Grants

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HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is reminding law enforcement agencies that grant funding is available to support system upgrades for reporting crime statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). With the application deadline of June 13, 2024, fast approaching, agencies are urged to apply soon.

Last month, PCCD announced $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funding to help law enforcement agencies become NIBRS-compliant. This initiative is part of a broader effort to enhance crime data reporting and analysis across the state.

“Our 2024-25 state budget incorporates a comprehensive strategy to deal with gun violence, including funding for a statewide office of gun violence prevention, a firearm injury prevention program, and more Pennsylvania State Police personnel to focus on combatting gun violence,” said Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, who chairs PCCD. “Those strategies all rely on data – but unfortunately, we don’t have access to real-time analysis of data for many communities because a low percentage of our local law enforcement agencies have adopted NIBRS reporting. We’re hopeful that these grants will entice more agencies to make the switch and increase the percentage of our population that is covered by NIBRS-compliant police departments.”

In January 2021, NIBRS became the national standard for law enforcement crime data reporting in the United States. This system captures detailed information on criminal incidents, including details about victims, offenders, their relationships, arrestees, and property involved.

“NIBRS not only provides better, more useful data for analysts and the public, but it also allows police departments to better define and utilize the resources they need to fight crime,” said Colonel Christopher Paris, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “Enhanced reporting also promotes police relationships with the community through greater openness and transparency.”

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Currently, Pennsylvania lags behind other states in adopting NIBRS. This gap makes it challenging to accurately capture crime trends across the state and specific jurisdictions. Only 42 percent of Pennsylvania’s population is covered by NIBRS-compliant police departments, and just 10 percent of local law enforcement agencies report criminal statistics to the FBI through NIBRS.

Eligible applicants for this funding include local law enforcement agencies, campus or university police, railroad or street railway police, airport authority police, and county park police. Priority consideration will be given to agencies serving areas with high levels of violent crimes and low clearance rates.

Eligible program activities and expenses under this solicitation include:

  • Software, hardware, and labor needed to install NIBRS-compliant record management systems.
  • Agency training on how to collect and submit NIBRS data.
  • Technical assistance for personnel responsible for data collection and submission.

PCCD expects to fund approximately 50 grants, each with budgets up to $200,000 over a two-year project period. Interested applicants can find more information on funding requirements and how to apply on PCCD’s active funding announcements webpage.

Enhancing Safety: The Power of NIBRS in Pennsylvania

Implementing NIBRS comprehensively is crucial for several reasons. First, it improves the quality and depth of crime data, allowing for better analysis and resource allocation. Secondly, it enhances transparency and trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Finally, accurate crime data is essential for developing effective strategies to combat crime and ensure public safety.

The potential implications of increased NIBRS adoption are significant. With better data, Pennsylvania can more effectively address issues such as gun violence and deploy resources where they are most needed. Moreover, improved data transparency can foster stronger community-police relationships, which are vital for maintaining public trust and cooperation.

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As the deadline approaches, law enforcement agencies across Pennsylvania are encouraged to take advantage of this funding opportunity. By upgrading their reporting systems and becoming NIBRS-compliant, agencies can contribute to a safer and more informed Pennsylvania.

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