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Law Subject Guide: Law

Law, Criminal Justice, and Other Useful Statistical Sources

State & Federal Statistics

Wisconsin Data Sets

Criminal Justice Data


There are three primary methods used to measure and collect statistics on the nature and extent of crime. Each has its benefits and limitations:

  1. Official data derive from crimes known to have occurred that are recorded by law enforcement agencies. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports data tool often leads to the most comprehensive source for this type of data in the U.S.
  2. Victim data derive from surveys which ask people about their experiences with crime. This type of data is useful for understanding unreported crimes that do not appear in official data sources. The BJS National Crime Victimization Survey is frequently a good source for data of this type in the U.S.
  3. Self-Report data attempt to assess the true extent of various crime patterns by measuring such things as a person’s attitudes, values, personal characteristics or behaviors. The Monitoring the Future Survey is an example of data that is gathered to understand drug use among juveniles.