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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: November 18, 2019 02:31 PM
From: Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell
To: All House members
Subject: Improving Uniform Crime Reporting System Data
In many states across the country, state police input thousands of pieces of data into a publicly accessible federal program called the Uniform Crime Reporting System (UCR) every year. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handbook for the UCR allows states to add additional reporting requirements into their state programs. Our state UCR program, which is not currently found anywhere in state law, mixes a number of incidents, such as homicides, suicides, and shootings, together, making it difficult to find detailed information on each of those crimes. There is also a lack of distinction in the system between individuals serving life sentences for murders and their accomplices, information which I believe is valuable to have easy access to.

My legislation would aim to rectify this by adding detailed federal UCR reporting requirements to state statute and imposing additional data collection on the Pennsylvania State Police. Specifically, the state police would now be required to input separate sections of information for firearm homicides, firearm suicides, and shootings. In addition, it would require the Pennsylvania State Police to input information regarding the number of individuals serving life sentences for convictions of second-degree murder, when the incarcerated individual did not kill the victim or was just an accomplice.

It is critical that we, as a legislature, are aware of and have access to specific information regarding important legislative issues. While the current federal UCR system is helpful, we can make our state program even more practical and constructive by requiring that additional information be reported. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to help enhance our current UCR system.