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Five Senators Want To Know Why The FBI Hasn’t Restored Missing Crime Data

In December, FBI Director Christopher Wray promised in congressional testimony that data tables missing from the FBI’s yearly crime report would be added back in “a few weeks.” But as of March 2, the tables are still missing, and five U.S. senators have taken notice. On Thursday, Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz and Chris Van Hollen wrote a letter to Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting information on why the data has not yet been restored. “This has now resulted in an unnecessary and unacceptable delay in making these data tables available — data that has been regularly provided in a timely manner within the annual report in prior years,” the letter stated.

The missing data was first reported by FiveThirtyEight in October. Since Wray’s testimony in December, FiveThirtyEight has made repeated requests to the FBI for information on the release timeline. On Feb. 21, Stephen Fischer of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services division told FiveThirtyEight in an email that the report was under review at FBI headquarters. He did not respond to a follow-up request for an update on the release timeline. As of publication, the FBI had not returned a request for comment.

The annual Crime in the United States report, a collection of crime statistics gathered from over 18,000 law-enforcement agencies around the country, is considered the gold standard for tracking crime statistics in the United States. According to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight, the 2016 Crime in the United States report — the first released under President Trump’s administration — contained close to 70 percent fewer data tables than the 2015 version did. The removal could affect analysts’ understanding of crime trends in the country.

Additional reporting by Jeff Asher.

Clare Malone is a former senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight.