1. Criminal homicide:
a. Murder and non-negligent
b. Manslaughter by negligence

2. Forcible rape:
a. Rape by force
b. Attempts to commit forcible rape

3. Robbery:
a. Firearm
b. Knife or cutting instrument
c. Other dangerous weapon
d. Strong-arm—hands, fists, feet, etc.

4. Aggravated assault:
a. Firearm
b. Knife or cutting instrument
c. Other dangerous weapon
d. Hands, fists, feet, etc.—aggravated

5. Burglary:
a. Forcible entry
b. Unlawful entry—no force
c. Attempted forcible entry

6. Larceny-theft (except motor
vehicle theft)

7. Motor vehicle theft:
a. Autos
b. Trucks and buses
c. Other vehicles

8. Arson:
a.-g. Structural
h.-i. Mobile
j. Other
The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)
Program determines the level of crime in
America.  The accuracy of that program
depends directly upon the way you, as a
police officer, do your job.  There's more
to UCR than the eight Part I Crimes listed
above; however, these are the crimes
that determine just about everything
when it comes to spending money on law
enforcement and discussing issues
related to crime.
When you become a police officer, you'll
be issued a lot of written material
regarding your duties.  If a Uniform Crime
Reporting Handbook is not part of that
pile of paper, you'll know from the outset
that your department is not that
interested in having its police officers all
that knowledgeable on the subject of
accurate crime reporting.  Since you'll be
interested in, and appreciative of, the
importance of accurate crime reporting,
you'll obtain your own copy if one is not
provided to you.  Knowledge is a
wonderful thing, and you will be amazed
at some of the absolutely ignorant—and
creative—ways police officers, and
supervisors, interpret crime classifications.

Crimes of violence are always the main
topic, so the four Part 1 Crimes:
homicide; rape; robbery and aggravated
assault become the focal point for
society; politicians and police.  While
homicide is prone to very little
manipulation, the remaining three can
easily be downgraded to Part II crimes, or
be just ignored altogether.

Of these four crimes of violence, robbery
is the one which potentially affects most
people.  Anyone can be a victim of
robbery, and it has the potential to
escalate to homicide or rape or both.  
So...you'd think that every police
department would want to get its hands
on every robber out there.  Well...yes,
one would think so.
You're a brand new police officer
working patrol in a large city...
Your district has been experiencing an
increase in street robberies, so your
district commander decides that every
robbery should be investigated to the
fullest extent possible.  While it's a very
logical requirement, your commander
doesn't trust his patrol officers to
conduct a thorough and competent
investigation.  He issues a directive to
have every robbery victim interviewed —
whenever possible—  by a robbery

You're just a couple of hours into your
4x12 shift when you receive a call for a
report of an armed robbery.  You arrive
at the address where you're met by a
middle aged man who tells you he was
walking just two blocks from his home
when he was approached by a young
man who pointed a gun at him and
demanded his money.

You interview the victim at length, and he
describes to you how he grabbed the
suspect's gun in an effort to disarm the
suspect.  He describes a brief, but
desperate, struggle with the suspect until
the gun discharged.  When the gun went
off, it so startled the victim that he let go
of the suspect.  Now, in desperate fear,
the victim describes how he  pretended
to be shot.  The victim fell to the ground
holding himself as still as possible.  His
only hope was that the suspect would
run away without shooting him…again.  
The victim's ploy worked, and the
suspect fled.  The victim lost no money
or property, and he sustained no injury.  
Overall…an excellent outcome for such a
potentially deadly situation.

Following your commander's directive,
you cart your victim off to the station to
be re-interviewed by a robbery detective.  
You meet with Detective Crystal Ball [an
alias but obviously appropriate].  The
victim repeats the details of the
Attempted Robbery to the detective.  At
the end of the interview, the detective
decides to locate the crime scene.  So
far, so good.  You arrive at the crime
scene where Detective Ball begins
searching the ground.  Now you're
impressed when her flashlight hits a
shiny object laying on the ground which
you recognize as a shell casing.  The
casing is recovered exactly in the area
where the victim reported the struggle as
taking place, and the casing is shiny
revealing no prolonged exposure to the
elements.  This is obviously the casing
discharged from the suspect's weapon.  
While you had no reason to doubt the
victim's report of the incident, the
presence of the shell casing certainly
solidified the victim's account.  
Furthermore, the victim lost no property,
so he certainly wasn't trying to create an
excuse for losing his money in another
manner.  He wasn't trying to falsely
implicate someone he simply disliked
since he had no idea of the suspect's
As you begin your career as a police
officer, you probably think that fighting
crime will be your major responsibility,
and you'll be correct.  What you don't
know is that you could very easily fall into
using one crime fighting technique which
many police departments find acceptable.

There are only two crimes in the United
States which are counted accurately.  The
first is homicide—for obvious reasons.  
Of course, in some jurisdictions, homicide
numbers are so politically critical that a
homicide committed at year end might
have its official ruling delayed until the
new year.  Breaking homicide records is
always of high news value for the media,
and the police department and political
leadership always take the heat.

Bank robberies can't escape the count,
because banks are insured institutions.  
The numbers aren't so great that some
can be lost by accident, and bank
robbery is simply a big deal to the FBI.
Your favorable impression of Detective
Ball's investigative acumen changes when
you read the detective's report.  After
describing the incident as stated above,
Detective Ball comes to a startling
conclusion: No Attempted Robbery
occurred.  In fact, the victim's entire
report was fabricated.  The detective
goes on to describe why the victim was
lying.  She describes the difference
between a revolver and a semi-auto
handgun.  If the gun had been a
revolver, no casing would be discharged
from the gun.  Since she found a casing,
it was clear the gun was a semi-
automatic.  She does not dispute that a
gun had been fired, but here is where it
gets good.  She states that since the
victim grabbed the gun, he would have
sustained an injury to his hand from the
movement of the gun's slide action when
the gun discharged.  Since the victim had

Talk about a case of selective hearing.  
She, supposedly, disbelieved everything
the victim had to say expect the part
about grabbing the gun.  The only thing
the absence of a hand injury proved is
that, during the struggle, the victim was
not grasping the top of the gun when it

The scary thing is, you're going to run
into a lot of police officers, or those
described as detectives, who make it up
as they go along.  If those officers put
their own names to the official report,
you don't have to lose any sleep over it.  
However, if you're directed to write what
you know to be a false report, it's all
going to be on you.  Remember,
everything you write as a police officer will
be with you for your entire career.

In the example described, the detective's
report was written as an in house
report.  She directed the officer to file the
official report as UNFOUNDED.  In this
case, the department allowed the
submission of an oral code if the incident
was UNFOUNDED.  Either way, this
incident produced two false reports by
two police officers when it was clear that
no evidence, whatsoever, existed for a
determination of UNFOUNDED.

You know…that Murphy's Law thing
about what can go wrong will go wrong
happens a lot in police work.  Suppose
this victim, after all that interviewing,
neglected to tell you that his sister is the
President of the City Council.  Or worse,
suppose the same suspect robs and
murders a victim the following evening,
and your victim comes forward and
identifies the suspect in his attempted
robbery incident.  It comes to light that
the only police attention the first offense
received was that piece of useless crap
written by Detective Crystal Ball.
Take this opportunity to download the
FBI Uniform Crime Reporting
Handbook.  It's Free!
"Crimes of violence are always the
main topic, so the four Part 1 Crimes:
homicide; rape; robbery and
aggravated assault become the focal
point for society; politicians and
police." ~ Barry M. Baker
While no police department will publicly
countenance the downgrading of crimes,
many will simply accept the practice and
claim crime reductions from this lazy and
incompetent way of doing business.

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Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
There are Five
Indispensable Truths
for a Successful Police
Today's police officers are
afforded the best ballistic
protection in history... and
it only gets better.
Recommended reading for
those of you thinking
about becoming a Police
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As a police officer, you'll
be writing something
everyday of your police
career.  Everything you put
to writing, no matter how
seemingly inconsequential,
will be important.
The good news is...the
odds of you having to  use
deadly force is low.  The
bad news is...you will be
faced with that decision.
Progress, satisfaction and
what you learn during your
police career will
determine your level of
While television police
shows and movies are not
normally the best examples
for you to apply to your
police career, they do
sometimes offer some
valuable insights.