Friday, June 3, 2016

Reporting murder should be mandatory, MAP urges

The Murder Accountability Project’s Board of Directors has voted unanimously to urge law enforcement agencies in the United States to fully report homicide information to the Justice Department’s Uniform Crime Report and Supplementary Homicide Report. Police participation in the Uniform Crimes Report has been voluntary since its enactment by Congress in 1930.

The Board further urged all 50 State Legislatures to make such reporting mandatory. The nonprofit group’s directors also asked Congress and the President to enact federal legislation requiring reporting of the case-level details to the FBI of all unsolved homicides not cleared through arrest after one year. 

“Reporting murder should no longer be optional or voluntary,” said Thomas K. Hargrove, chairman of the nonprofit group. “The American people have the right to know the basic details of the nation’s murders and whether those killings have been solved.”

The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services estimates 653,903 Americans were victims of homicides committed from 1980 through 2014. The Murder Accountability Project estimates at least 25,300 killings were not reported to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and at least 37,200 were not reported to the Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR). Police also failed to report whether at least 43,600 killings were cleared through arrest.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, the Murder Accountability Project has obtained case-level details on 21,800 homicides not reported to the Supplementary Homicide Report. The nonprofit group also has filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Illinois State Police which in 1994 ceased reporting homicide clearance data from Illinois to the UCR and any data whatsoever to the SHR.

For the exact policies approved by the Murder Accountability Project’s Board, click here.