Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 51–77 | Cite as

Multiple Imputation of the Supplementary Homicide Reports, 1976–2005

  • James Alan Fox
  • Marc L. Swatt
Original Paper


The Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR), assembled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have for many years represented the most valuable source of information on the patterns and trends in murder and non-negligent manslaughter. Despite their widespread use by researchers and policy makers alike, these data are not completely without their limitations, the most important of which involves missing or incomplete incident reports. In this analysis, we develop methods for addressing missing data in the 1976–2005 SHR cumulative file, related to both non-reports (unit missingness) and incomplete reports (item missingness). For incomplete case data (that is, missing characteristics on victims, offenders or incidents), we implement a multiple imputation (MI) approach based on a log-linear model for incomplete multivariate categorical data. Then, to adjust for unit missingness, we adopt a weighting scheme linked to FBI annual estimates of homicide counts by state and National Center for Health Statistics mortality data on decedent characteristics in coroners’ reports for deaths classified as homicide. The result is a fully-imputed SHR database for 1976–2005. This paper examines the effects of MI and case weighting on victim/offender/incident characteristics, including standard errors of parameter estimates resulting from imputation uncertainty.


Multiple imputation Missing data Supplementary Homicide Reports 



The authors would like to thank Paul Allison, Glenn Deane, Michael Maltz, Steven Messner, Donald Rubin, Joseph Schafer, and several anonymous reviewers for their insightful and helpful comments on previous versions of this manuscript. Support for this project was provided by the Law and Justice Statistics Program of the American Statistical Association and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the United States Department of Justice.


  1. Allison P (2002) Missing data. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  2. David M, Little RJA, Samuhel ME, Triest RK (1986) Alternative methods for CPS income imputation. J Am Stat Assoc 81:29–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Decker SH (1993) Exploring victim-offender relationships in homicide: the role of the individual and event characteristics. Justice Q 10:585–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Flewelling RL (2004) A nonparametric imputation approach for dealing with missing variables in SHR data. Hom Stud 8:255–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fox JA (2002) Uniform crime reports [United States]: supplementary homicide reports, 1976–1998 [Computer File]. ICPSR version. Boston, MA: Northeastern University, College of Criminal Justice [producer], 1997. Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], Ann Arbor, MIGoogle Scholar
  6. Fox JA (2004) Missing data problems in the SHR: imputing offender and relationship characteristics. Hom Stud 8:214–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fox JA, Swatt ML (2007) Multiple imputation of the supplementary homicide reports, 1976–2005. Final report. Submitted to the Law and Justice Statistics Program of the American Statistical Association and the Bureau of Justice StatisticsGoogle Scholar
  8. Greenfeld LA, Rand MR, Cravan D, Klaus PA, Perkins CA, Ringel C, Warchol G, Maston M, Fox JA (1998) Violence by intimates: analysis of data on crimes by current or former spouses, boyfriends, and girlfriends. Document No. NCJ-167237. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  9. Horton NJ, Lipsitz SR (2001) Multiple imputation in practice: comparison of software packages for regression models with missing variables. Am Stat 55:244–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Insightful Corporation (2001) Analyzing data with missing values in S-Plus. Insightful Corporation, Seattle, WAGoogle Scholar
  11. Little RJA, Rubin DB (2002) Statistical analysis with missing data, 2nd edn. Wiley, Hoboken, NJGoogle Scholar
  12. Maltz MD (1999) Bridging gaps in police crime data. Bureau of Justice Statistics Fellows Program Discussion Paper, Document No. NCJ-176365. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  13. Maxfield M (1989) Circumstances in the supplementary homicide reports: variety and validity. Criminology 27:671–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Messner SF, Deane G, Beaulieu M (2002) A log-multiplicative association model for allocating homicides with unknown victim-offender relationships. Criminology 40:457–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pampel FC, Williams KR (2000) Intimacy and homicide: compensating for missing data in the SHR. Criminology 38:661–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Regoeczi WC, Riedel M (2003) The application of missing data estimation models to the problem of unknown victim/offender relationships in homicide cases. J Quant Criminol 19:155–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rennison CM (2003) Intimate partner violence, 1993–2001. Document No. NCJ-197838. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  18. Riedel M (1987) Stranger violence: perspectives, issues, and problems. J Crim Law Criminol 78:223–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Riedel M (1998) Counting stranger homicides: a case study of statistical prestidigitation. Hom Stud 2:206–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rubin DB (1976) Inference and missing data. Biometrika 63:581–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rubin DB (1977) The design of a general and flexible system for handling nonresponse in sample surveys. Manuscript prepared for the U.S. Social Security Administration. Reprinted in Am Stat 58:298–302 (2004)Google Scholar
  22. Rubin DB, Schenker N (1986) Multiple imputation for interval estimation from simple random samples with ignorable nonresponse. J Am Stat Assoc 81:366–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schafer JL (1997) Analysis of incomplete multivariate data. Chapman & Hall, Boca Raton, FLGoogle Scholar
  24. Williams KR, Flewelling RL (1987) Family, acquaintance, and stranger homicide: alternative procedures for rate calculations. Criminology 25:543–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Criminal JusticeNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations