Why We Exist

America does a poor job tracking and accounting for its unsolved homicides. Every year, at least 5,000 killers get away with murder. The rate at which police clear homicides through arrest has declined over the years until, today, about a third go unsolved.

As a result, more than 222,000 Americans have perished in unsolved homicides committed since 1980
—  more than the combined death toll of all U.S. military actions since World War II. In fact, total U.S. military fatalities during the eight-year invasion and occupation of Iraq were less than a single year of civilian losses from unsolved domestic homicides.

No one knows all the names of these victims because no law enforcement agency in America is assigned to monitor failed homicide investigations by local police departments. Even the official national statistics on murder are actually estimates and projections based upon incomplete reports by police departments that voluntarily choose (or refuse) to participate in federal crime reporting programs.
The Murder Accountability Project is a nonprofit group organized in 2015 and dedicated to educate Americans on the importance of accurately accounting for unsolved homicides within the United States. We seek to obtain information from federal, state and local governments about unsolved homicides and to publish this information. The Project’s Board of Directors is composed of retired law enforcement investigators, investigative journalists, criminologists and other experts on various aspects of homicide.  

At this site, you can determine how often police departments in your community clear a homicide through arrest using the "Clearance Rates" tab. You can also explore individual cases reported to the FBI or obtained by the Murder Accountability Project under local Freedom of Information Acts. Using the "Search Cases" tab, you can look for patterns in the occurrence of specific types of homicides and how often police identified the offender.

Homicide investigators may find this site useful in testing theories about murders in their community. The Supplementary Homicide Report data available at the "Search Cases" tab is especially useful to test theories about suspects who may have killed across multiple jurisdictions or within the same jurisdiction over a period of time. The data available at "Search Cases" is the most complete accounting of homicides available anywhere.
This project will also spotlight those communities that fail to report important information to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and Supplementary Homicide Report — two important databases that can be used to help account for unsolved homicides.

This website is operated by Thomas Hargrove, a retired investigative journalist and former White House correspondent.  Hargrove can be reached by e-mail at hargrove@murderdata.org or by telephone at 571-606-5999. He will respond to data requests by police officers, academicians, journalists and anyone else with a recognized need to investigate publicly available homicide records.