OCPD Eyes Transition To New Reporting System

OCPD Eyes Transition To New Reporting System
File photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY – The transition to a new reporting system will allow the Ocean City Police Department to provide more information on local crime.

On Monday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Chief Ross Buzzuro and Capt. Mike Colbert presented members of the Ocean City Police Commission with an update on the department’s transition to the National Incident-Based Reporting System, or NIBRS.

While law enforcement agencies across the country have used the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program for decades, Colbert said the shift to NIBRS will provide more useful statistics on crime within the community.

“What this means is we will start capturing more crime than we have in the past and reporting more incidents,” he said.

Simply put, Colbert said NIBRS captures every separate offense that occurred during each crime incident, while UCR collects more limited information.

“The Uniform Crime Reporting is the way the federal government, since the 1930s, has tried to capture crime that is occurring in the United States …,” he explained. “A lot of people don’t realize that the Uniform Crime Report they put out is a summary report, so it wasn’t counting every single crime. It was looking at the most serious crime in a single event.”

To that end, Buzzuro told commission members the police department would transition to NIBRS beginning in March.

“This will be a departure for us …,” he said. “It’s going to be a different way crime is reported. It’s going to be more comprehensive.”

Officials say the new reporting system will also result in higher crime numbers when compared to UCR.

“We’re trying to get everyone prepared that you may see some changes in the numbers,” Colbert said, “and a lot of that is the way we are reporting.”

Council President Matt James, commission member, agreed.

“So our numbers will be higher on paper because we’re not comparing apples to apples,” he said.

Buzzuro said crime will appear to increase, as more offenses will be reported through NIBRS. He noted, however, that it will allow police departments to get a better understanding of crime incidents.

“There is an advantage to law enforcement by using this new system,” he said. “It’s a better, more effective way to score crime.”

Colbert added that it will also assist state and federal agencies.

“The federal government and the state government will use it to better allocate resources to different locations and will have a better picture of what types of crime are happening where,” he said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.