Comparing NIBRS and SHR Data on Stranger and Unknown Victim/Offender Relationship

Melanie-Angela Neuilly, Rutgers University

Information about victim/offender relationship is always highly interesting for it provides a better understanding of the dynamics of the offense. Unfortunately, it is a fairly difficult notion to grasp, in that it requires precisely defined categories and involves individual decision making.

The emergence of the National Incident Based Reporting System, allows the researcher to test for the reliability of the formerly existing data source, the Supplementary Homicide Reports, as well as potentially triangulate in order to get as close as possible to the true estimates of the population.

This paper will compare NIBRS and SHR data, chosen on the basis of availability, regarding two categories of the victim/offender relationship in homicide (stranger and unknown), at the state as well as the local level.

Preliminary findings indicate that variation at the state level between the two sources can be explained at the local level.

Future research developments include international comparative data analysis leading to interpretations concerning the meaning of homicide rates, from a social construction point of view.

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Updated 05/20/2006