The Crime Picture

in America

Designed by Mr. Krieger  []

Introduction | Task & Objectives |  Poster   | Evaluation | Links


What do you think of these facts??

From 1999-2018, the violent crime rate in the U.S. decreased by 29.5%.

In 2018, aggravated assaults accounted for more than 67% of all violent crimes reported to law enforcement.


For your first project in this course, you will create a poster that will give people a look at the crime picture in the United States and then you will show the image of crime in an American city. While the FBI and other agencies produce significant amounts of data and statistics that are profoundly telling of crime in America, I have yet to see a graphical presentation that combines raw data with images.  Let your creative juices flow as you create your poster.

The Task & Objectives

You and your partner(s) will create  a poster and deliver a presentation.  The goal of the poster is to provide a picture of criminal activity in the United States.  You will use data from the FBI as well as other official resources.  

To accomplish your task, you will research crime statistics on the web.  There are two major sources of crime statistics in the United States; the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).  The most widely quoted source is the UCR.  For this project, most of your data will come from the UCR.  You will also receive a packet of information about the criminal laws in Massachusetts.

As you know, data in the UCR is divided into the following two categories:

Part I Offenses (Major crimes)

Part II Offenses (Generally less serious and/or less frequent crimes)

By the end of this project, you will be able to:

  • use visual aids explain the current picture of crime in the United States;
  • discuss the key elements of the Uniform Crime Report;
  • obtain data from the UCR and provide your own analysis; 
  • identify the eight Part I crimes in the UCR;
  • interpret data from the FBI Crime Clock and the UCR;
  • begin to understand the criminal justice system in the United States; and, 
  • have more experience presenting your ideas to a group of interested peers.


The Process

As you proceed, please follow the directions carefully. 


Poster Topics

Introduction >> The UCR is divided into Part I and Part II crimes.  Furthermore, Part I crimes are divided into two categories; violent and property crimes. While we will focus on the eight Part I crimes and the terminology related to these crimes, we will also look at some specific categories of crimes.  

Uniform Crime Report Organization

Part I Crimes

Part II Crimes
Violent Crimes Property Crimes "Less Serious/Frequent" Crimes
Criminal Homicide Burglary Examples

Simple assault, forgery, fraud, vandalism, drug abuse violations, prostitution, gambling, disorderly conduct, and weapons offenses. 

Forcible Rape Larceny
Robbery Motor Vehicle Theft
Aggravated Assault Arson


Teams/Topics >> In the table below, each team has been assigned a topic and major U.S. city.  By the end of this webquest, you will be an EXPERT on this topic and you will share your knowledge with the class.  

# Teams Poster Topics
Click on the crime for the UCR site
1 Callum / Owen / Ridvan
Phoenix, Arizona (5)
Criminal Homicide
2 Annabelle / Morgan / Bradford
Houston, Texas (4)
Aggravated Assault
3 Dexter / David / Joe
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6)

Forcible Rape

4 Alexa / Mackenzie / Ella
Chicago, Illinois (3)
5 Eleyna / Caroline / Tyler
Los Angeles, California (2)
6 Isa / Estelle / Meg
Dallas, Texas (9)
7 Bella / Ashley / Jaedan
New York, New York (1)
8 Chloe / Hannah
San Diego, California (8)
Motor Vehicle Theft
9 Hunter / Maggie / Riley
San Antonio, Texas (7)


Required Poster Elements >> As you create your Poster, think about the goal:  providing a picture of criminal activity in the United States.

1--> Your assigned crime from the list above -->  United States view of 2019 data just your assigned crime

2--> Your assigned city from the above list --> A crime clock showing ALL 2019 Part I crime data for your city.

Your poster should include a combination of images, text, and data.  Be creative!!  Since the topics vary, I expect a wide range of organization and information with the poster.  Below is a brief list of required elements that should be included in your poster:

1. Definitions > Define the topic of your poster.  For example, if you are presenting a poster about arson, make sure you include a specific definition of arson.  Also, make sure you include definitions of other terms that the general public may not know.  For example, you may need to define clearance rate or how the UCR defines an arrest.  All definitions can be found in the UCR.  Your group will be provided with a packet of information related to Massachusetts Criminal law.  Include elements from the packet in your poster and presentation.  Tip:  You don't need to include all of the Massachusetts criminal code information on your poster. 

2. 2019 Data > Use the UCR (or other sources, if applicable) to obtain actual data.   Think about including the most relevant statistics.  For example, you could include the # of offenses, the % change from 2018 to 2019, or the months with the most activity.  Search the UCR for interesting facts that you could include in your poster and presentation.

3. Trends >  This is where you should interpret the data.  Look at a historical perspective.  You may want to create a graph or chart to show your findings.

4.  Portray 2019 information about your crime in the United States and a crime clock for your city showing all 2019 part I crime in your city. > Include maps, if necessary that will give the audience a "picture" of your crime in the U.S. 

5.  Crime Clock > Create a crime clock.  Look at some of the samples provided to get ideas.  The crime clock is a major component of the poster.  Your crime clock should show the frequency of crime in the U.S. and help us understand any changes in the crime rate over the years.   The crime clock is for your city and should include all Part One crimes.

6. Other elements that COULD be included > Include the url for a city's police department and other city agencies that could be helpful for understanding crime in the city.  Show population data for the city.  On your poster include the source for the data.   You can pick any major city in the United States to give us a clearer picture of crime in cities.

Class Presentation

You will present your poster to the class.  Below are notes about your presentation:

1) Please do not read the poster to the class.  We can read.  As important as the information is from the poster, your interpretation, analysis and explanation are much more important.  Think about what is ON the poster and make some comments.  We want to know what you think.  

2) Your presentation grade will be based on your familiarity with your information and how well your "relate" to your audience.  Eye contact and clear speaking are two great ways to "connect" with your audience.  In a nutshell, keep us interested and you have an A+.  Make us wish we were watching paint on the ceiling dry and you're grade will be lower.  You MUST use notes.  However, if you keep looking at your poster, you will have points deducted.

3) Each person should present for 2-4 minutes Your team should split the presentation equally. Select an order for each of you to present.   After your group's presentation, there will be an opportunity for students to ask questions.  



This project is worth 100 points.  Please refer to the rubric for the grading criteria.


2018 Uniform Crime Report

2017 Uniform Crime Report

2016 Uniform Crime Report

2015 Uniform Crime Report

2014 Uniform Crime Report

2013 Uniform Crime Report

2012 Uniform Crime Report

2011 Uniform Crime Report

2010 Uniform Crime Report

1995 Uniform Crime Report

Searchable Database for Police Departments in the U.S.

U.S. Census Bureau Website