Monday, March 20, 2017

Homicides reports for 2015 now available

The Murder Accountability Project has assembled summary and individual case data for more than 15,600 homicides committed in the United States during 2015. This is the most complete accounting of U.S. homicides available anywhere.

The FBI estimates there were 15,696 homicides committed in 2015, of which local police reported summaries of 15,594 cases to the Uniform Crime Report and details of 14,405 cases to the Supplementary Homicide Report, both voluntary reporting systems.

The Murder Accountability Project, using the Freedom of Information Act, has obtained details on 1,216 homicides that were not reported to the FBI in 2015 by police agencies that do not fully participate in federal crime reporting programs.

To determine the clearance rate for any state, county or individual law enforcement agency, go to the "Clearance Rate" tab to see how many homicides were cleared through arrest and reported to the FBI. It should be noted that not all police departments report clearance information.

Among the 10 largest police departments, as calculated by the number of homicides they investigated, the best reported clearance rates were in the cities of Los Angeles and New York, each with 68 percent, Houston with 63 percent and Washington, DC, with 62 percent.

The lowest clearance rates were reported by Baltimore with 30 percent, Detroit with 35 percent, New Orleans with 37 percent, and St. Louis with 48 percent. (According to unofficial estimates, Chicago had a clearance rate similar to Baltimore's but does not report complete data to the FBI.)

The Supplementary Homicide Report contains details about individual killings, such as the age, sex, race and method of death for victims as well as the suspected circumstances of the killing and demographic information about the offender, if known.

To search details of individual cases, go to the "Search Cases" tab. Police investigators can use these records to test theories about suspected offenders, especially suspects who may have committed crimes across multiple jurisdictions or over multiple years within the same jurisdiction. (Please review the “How to Use” tab.)

These files can also be used to spot the work of serial killers. For example, to see cases linked to accused serial killer Darren Deon Vann, go to the “Search Cases” tab and select “Indiana” under state, “Lake” under county and “Gary” under agency. Select “female” under sex, and “Strangulation” and “Other or Type Unknown” under weapon. Vann was arrested in October 2014 after telling authorities he’d been active in the Gary area since the 1990s and leading police to the bodies of six previously unknown female victims.

The Murder Accountability Project has assembled case details on 732,171 homicides from 1976 through 2015, including 23,435 cases not reported to the FBI.