Monday, September 26, 2016

Murder clearance rate declined in 2015

The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division estimates there were 15,696 homicides committed in the United States in 2015, a 10.8 percent increase over the previous year. The bureau also estimates that 61.5 percent of those crimes were cleared through arrest.

The rate at which homicides are cleared has dropped by 3 percentage points over the previous year and is the third lowest on record, only slightly better than 2006 with a 60.7 percent clearance rate and 2007 with a 61.2 percent clearance rate.

Based upon these estimates, the offenders responsible for at least 6,043 deaths last year were not arrested, formally charged or handed over to the courts for prosecution. That's up considerably from the 5,028 unsolved homicides in 2014. The Murder Accountability Project estimates there are at least 222,413 unsolved homicides committed from 1980 through the end of 2015.

The rate at which homicides occur also increased in 2015, ending a trend in recent years of decline. There were 4.9 homicides per 100,000 population last year, up from 4.4 per 100,000 in 2014.

To see a complete listing of the FBI's estimates for homicides and homicide clearance rates from 1965 through 2015, go to our Charts & Maps page. The Murder Accountability Project will post 2015 clearance rates for individual law enforcement agencies and individual case details from the Supplementary Homicide Report as soon as these records are available from the FBI.