Special Report

States That Don't Report Crime to the FBI

Murders surged by 30% in the United States in 2020, the largest single-year increase on record – and possibly the largest in U.S. history. The 2020 homicide figures were released in an annual FBI report, which compiles state and local crime data from across the country and helps to identify trends and inform policy decisions. (Here is a look at the worst year for murder in every state.)

Whether or not rising incidents of deadly violence continued into 2021 remains something of an open question, however. On the heels of the deadliest year in the U.S. in over two decades, the FBI overhauled the way in which it collects and compiles crime statistics. Beginning in 2021, the FBI no longer accepted data submitted through its legacy Summary Reporting System, and instead required state and local police departments to implement the new, more comprehensive, National Incident-Based Reporting System, or NIBRS. 

The transition has not gone smoothly. Due in large part to the changeover, about 40% of law enforcement agencies nationwide did not submit 2021 crime data. While a number of states, including Connecticut, Delaware, and Vermont, had near universal compliance, many others did not. 

24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2021 NIBRS participation data to identify the states that do not report crime to the FBI. In each of the 21 states on this list, at least a third of law enforcement agencies did not submit crime data to the FBI in 2021. 

Before the shift to the new reporting system, over 50% of law enforcement agencies reported crime data to the FBI in 46 of the 50 states. In 2021, 11 states had participation rates below 50% – including four states with less than 10% participation. (Here is a look at the largest police force in every state.)

Many of the states with the lowest participation rates are also among the most populous, including California, Florida, and New York. Reporting lapses in these places have left considerable gaps in our understanding of broad national crime trends. Due to low participation, critical measures such as the homicide rate and the overall violent crime rate are missing in nine of the states on this list.

Click here to see states that don’t report crime to the FBI.

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