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The FBI Restored Its Missing Crime Data

On Tuesday, the FBI restored 70 data tables that were missing from the 2016 Crime in the United States report, providing data that researchers consider crucial to their understanding of crime trends in the U.S. over time. The yearly report is considered the gold standard for tracking crime statistics in the United States, gathered from over 18,000 law-enforcement agencies in cities around the country. But the 2016 report, the first compiled under the Trump administration, was missing dozens of data tables that researchers rely on.

The data tables were first noted as missing months ago. In October 2017, FiveThirtyEight reported on their absence, and that November, criminologists lodged a complaint with the FBI over the missing data. In December 2017, FBI Director Christopher Wray faced congressional questioning over the missing data, which he promised would be restored in “a few weeks.” In March 2018, the data had still not been published, and five senators wrote a letter to Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking why the data had not been restored.

But now it is back up. “The decision to publish the amendment is in response to user feedback highlighting the value of additional illustrations of the data,” FBI spokesman Stephen Fisher said in an email to FiveThirtyEight. “The FBI plans to continue publishing all tables annually.”

Additional reporting by Jeff Asher.

Clare Malone is a former senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight.