Cold Case Homicide Statistics

Breakdown of Homicide Clearance Rates

By Thomas Hargrove

Nearly 185,000 cases of homicide and non-negligent manslaughter went unsolved from 1980 to 2008, according to a Scripps Howard News Service study of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. Below are the total number of homicides reported in each state, the rate at which homicides are solved through arrest and the estimated number of unsolved homicides.

Note-1: The number of unsolved homicides was estimated for Illinois and New York since these states provide only partial data for the number of clearances.

Note-2: The total number of homicides in this report is taken from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and is greater than the totals found in the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report. More police departments report UCR data, which is required for departments to qualify for Justice Department grants.

  • State

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • D.C.
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Homicides

  • 11,026
  • 1,256
  • 9,827
  • 5,780
  • 82,463
  • 5,198
  • 4,100
  • 859
  • 8,066
  • 31,715
  • 18,383
  • 1,128
  • 937
  • 25,254
  • 9,485
  • 1,459
  • 2,865
  • 5,443
  • 16,863
  • 701
  • 14,004
  • 5,129
  • 23,682
  • 3,411
  • 5,502
  • 11,837
  • 528
  • 1,462
  • 4,282
  • 501
  • 11,381
  • 3,526
  • 45,740
  • 16,684
  • 224
  • 15,831
  • 6,857
  • 3,268
  • 19,517
  • 980
  • 9,461
  • 320
  • 12,080
  • 52,402
  • 1,561
  • 295
  • 12,932
  • 6,234
  • 2,533
  • 5,051
  • 498
  • Clearance

  • 55%
  • 74%
  • 61%
  • 82%
  • 59%
  • 66%
  • 71%
  • 72%
  • 53%
  • 60%
  • 60%
  • 64%
  • 81%
  • 64%
  • 57%
  • 73%
  • 55%
  • 69%
  • 64%
  • 80%
  • 66%
  • 61%
  • 52%
  • 60%
  • 73%
  • 73%
  • 68%
  • 84%
  • 63%
  • 67%
  • 71%
  • 65%
  • 65%
  • 81%
  • 82%
  • 65%
  • 83%
  • 64%
  • 77%
  • 64%
  • 77%
  • 80%
  • 67%
  • 71%
  • 73%
  • 57%
  • 74%
  • 71%
  • 82%
  • 81%
  • 89%
  • Unsolved

  • 4,974
  • 327
  • 3,791
  • 1,068
  • 33,456
  • 1,765
  • 1,203
  • 244
  • 3,778
  • 12,658
  • 7,282
  • 411
  • 176
  • 8,974
  • 4,098
  • 389
  • 1,281
  • 1,670
  • 6,110
  • 139
  • 4,752
  • 2,022
  • 11,367
  • 1,358
  • 1,505
  • 3,176
  • 170
  • 239
  • 1,597
  • 165
  • 3,326
  • 1,224
  • 16,104
  • 3,155
  • 40
  • 5,501
  • 1,132
  • 1,189
  • 4,427
  • 348
  • 2,153
  • 64
  • 3,952
  • 15,050
  • 424
  • 128
  • 3,335
  • 1,826
  • 449
  • 965
  • 55


Homicides and Clearance Rates from 1980-2008

By Thomas Hargrove

Nearly 185,000 cases of homicide and non-negligent manslaughter went unsolved from 1980 to 2008, according to Scripps Howard News Service calculations based upon homicide estimates provided by the FBI.

The rate at which homicides are solved has been declining during the past three decades.

  • Year

  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002
  • 2001
  • 2000
  • 1999
  • 1998
  • 1997
  • 1996
  • 1995
  • 1994
  • 1993
  • 1992
  • 1991
  • 1990
  • 1989
  • 1988
  • 1987
  • 1986
  • 1985
  • 1984
  • 1983
  • 1982
  • 1981
  • 1980
  • Total
  • Homicides

  • 16,272
  • 16,929
  • 17,030
  • 16,740
  • 16,148
  • 16,528
  • 16,229
  • 16,037
  • 15,586
  • 15,522
  • 16,974
  • 18,208
  • 19,645
  • 21,606
  • 23,326
  • 24,526
  • 23,760
  • 24,703
  • 23,438
  • 21,500
  • 20,675
  • 20,096
  • 20,613
  • 18,976
  • 18,692
  • 19,308
  • 21,010
  • 22,520
  • 23,040
  • 565,637
  • Clearance

  • 64%
  • 61%
  • 61%
  • 62%
  • 63%
  • 62%
  • 64%
  • 62%
  • 63%
  • 69%
  • 69%
  • 66%
  • 67%
  • 65%
  • 64%
  • 66%
  • 65%
  • 65%
  • 67%
  • 68%
  • 70%
  • 70%
  • 70%
  • 72%
  • 74%
  • 76%
  • 74%
  • 72%
  • 72%
  • 67%
  • Unsolved

  • 5,858
  • 6,602
  • 6,642
  • 6,361
  • 5,975
  • 6,281
  • 5,842
  • 6,094
  • 5,767
  • 4,812
  • 5,262
  • 6,191
  • 6,483
  • 7,562
  • 8,397
  • 8,339
  • 8,316
  • 8,316
  • 7,735
  • 6,880
  • 6,203
  • 6,029
  • 5,313
  • 5,313
  • 4,860
  • 4,634
  • 5,463
  • 6,306
  • 6,451
  • 184,992

Notes: This total homicide estimate differs from the counts found in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and Supplementary Homicide Report. Those two reports are based upon incomplete data provided by local police departments. The homicide totals and clearance rates presented here are estimated by the FBI, based upon the incomplete reporting. The FBI provides this definition of when homicides are considered to be cleared: “Law enforcement agencies clear or solve an offense when at least one person is arrested, charged with the commission of the offense, and turned over to the court for prosecution. Law enforcement agencies may also clear a crime by exceptional means such as when an identified offender is killed during apprehension or commits suicide.”

The above information was compiled and published in a Special Report by Scripps Howard News Service.