Falling U.S. Homicide Clearance Rates

Posted: July 25, 2011 in crime rates
Tags: , , , ,

Closed or solved homicides are described as either “cleared by arrest” or “cleared by exceptional means”.  In 2008, there were 16,272 reported homicides with a clearance rate of 64%.  That means that 5,858 homicides remain unsolved for that year.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the reporting law enforcement agency must adhere to specific guidelines for “cleared” homicides. 

 Cleared by Arrest: 

  • Suspect(s) were arrested.
  • Suspect(s) were charged with the commission of the offense.
  • Suspect(s) were turned over to the court for prosecution.

 Cleared by Exceptional Means:

  • The offender(s) have been identified.
  • Enough gathered evidence to support an arrest warrant, make a charge, and turn offender over to the court for prosecution.
  • The offender(s) exact location has been identified and can be brought into custody immediately.
  • Law enforcement has encountered a circumstance outside their control that prohibits the agency from arresting, charging, and prosecuting the offender.

Clearance rates seem to be declining over the years.  What appears to be the problem?  Not enough police personnel?  Not enough qualified detectives?  Are we raising too many killers?  Is murder just a part of our society? 

Here are some interesting statistics to ponder:

2008, 16,272 homicides, 64% clearance, 5,858 unsolved

2007, 16,929 homicides, 61% clearance, 6,602 unsolved

2006, 17,030 homicides, 61% clearance, 6,642 unsolved

2000, 15,586 homicides, 63% clearance, 5,767 unsolved

1990, 23,438 homicides, 67% clearance, 7,735 unsolved

1980, 23,040 homicides, 72% clearance, 6,451 unsolved

1975, 78% clearance rate

1970, 86% clearance rate

1965, 90% clearance rate

1960, 91% clearance rate

* * *

Blog: www.authorjenniferchase.com/
Website: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com/
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting


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