An important but often overlooked fact of crime analysis is that crime data changes every year. I don’t mean that crime changes every year, though of course it does. The data itself changes. More specifically, the agencies that report data change. Each year, different police agencies report their data to the FBI.
This means that we can’t simply compare UCR data in 2016 to UCR data from 2015. 2016 has different agencies to 2015 so it isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.
The FBI has recently (September 2017) released the raw files for UCR data for 2016. As usual, these files are in fixed-width ASCII files and do not come with a usable setup file. To make this data accessible, I made those setup files using the codebook provided by the FBI along with the raw data. Using the R package asciiSetupReader, I read the data into R and saved it in a number of data formats.