The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has opened its crime databases to the web, ending its reliance on data stored within annual reports published in Adobe's PDF (portable document format).
The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) online tool gives access to historical crime statistics, parts of which date back to the 1960s, concerning serious crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary.
According to the FBI, for cities with populations of 10,000 and over, crime statistics are available from 1985 to 2009.
The move was part of the FBI’s effort to revitalise its Uniform Crime Reporting program, which began in 1930.
Around 295 million law enforcement officers (96 percent) voluntarily contribute to the database.
The tool is expected to make it easier to analyse data over a period of time and allows users to export data to use with spreadsheets or other graphical intelligence software.