Monday, September 25, 2017

Homicide case and clearance records for 2016 available

Homicides in the United States increased significantly in 2016 even as the rate at which murders are cleared through arrest dropped to the lowest level on record.

The Murder Accountability Project is posting case-level details of 17,787 homicides committed in 2016. These records were provided by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services division and by police agencies that do not report crime data to the Justice Department. MAP posted case-level details on 16,064 murders in 2015 and 14,702 in 2014. During the last two years, the number of homicides increased 21 percent.

The FBI estimates only 59.4 percent of homicides were cleared through arrest last year, the first time the national clearance rate dropped below 60 percent. To see the history of declining U.S. clearance rates, click here.

The solution rate for homicides varies enormously among the nation’s 10 largest jurisdictions based upon the number of homicides they investigated.

Only 14 percent of killings in Detroit were cleared in 2016, the worst clearance rate among these major cities.  But Baltimore, Philadelphia, Memphis, New Orleans and Dallas all reported that most homicide investigations failed to produce arrests.

The Los Angeles Police Department reported clearing 73 percent of homicides, the best among major cities, followed by the New York Police Department with 69 percent. The remaining departments – Houston and St. Louis – cleared a majority of their homicides but still less than the national clearance average.

Chicago Police reported the nation’s largest number of murders with 765 last year. But the city, like most of Illinois, does not report clearance data to the Justice Department.