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

Homicides

Clearance

Unsolved

Alabama11,02655%4,974
Alaska1,25674%327
Arizona9,827 61% 3,791
Arkansas 5,780 82%1,068
California82,46359% 33,456
Colorado 5,19866% 1,765
Connecticut4,10071%1,203
Delaware859 72%244
D.C. 8,06653%3,778
Florida 31,715 60%12,658
Georgia 18,383 60%7,282
Hawaii 1,128 64% 411
Idaho 937 81% 176
Illinois25,254 64% 8,974
Indiana 9,48557%4,098
Iowa 1,45973% 389
Kansas 2,865 55%1,281
Kentucky 5,443 69% 1,670
Louisiana 16,863 64% 6,110
Maine 701 80% 139
Maryland14,004 66% 4,752
Massachusetts 5,129 61% 2,022
Michigan 23,682 52% 11,367
Minnesota3,411 60% 1,358
Mississippi 5,50273% 1,505
Missouri 11,837 73% 3,176
Montana 52868% 170
Nebraska 1,462 84%239
Nevada4,282 63% 1,597
New Hampshire 501 67% 165
New Jersey 11,381 71% 3,326
New Mexico 3,526 65% 1,224
New York45,740 65% 16,104
North Carolina 16,684 81% 3,155
North Dakota 224 82% 40
Ohio 15,83165% 5,501
Oklahoma 6,857 83% 1,132
Oregon 3,268 64% 1,189
Pennsylvania19,517 77% 4,427
Rhode Island 980 64% 348
South Carolina 9,46177%2,153
South Dakota 32080% 64
Tennessee 12,080 67% 3,952
Texas 52,402 71% 15,050
Utah 1,561 73% 424
Vermont29557% 128
Virginia 12,932 74% 3,335
Washington6,234 71% 1,826
West Virginia 2,533 82%449
Wisconsin 5,051 81% 965
Wyoming 498 89% 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

Homicides

Clearance

Unsolved

200816,27264%5,858
200716,92961%6,602
200617,03061%6,642
200516,74062%6,361
200416,14863%5,975
200316,52862%6,281
200216,22964%5,842
200116,03762%6,094
200015,58663%5,767
199915,52269%4,812
199816,97469%5,262
199718,20866%6,191
199619,64567%6,483
199521,60665%7,562
199423,32664%8,397
199324,52666%8,339
199223,76065%8,316
199124,70365%8,316
199023,43867%7,735
198921,50068%6,880
198820,67570%6,203
198720,09670%6,029
198620,61370%5,313
198518,97672%5,313
198418,69274%4,860
198319,30876%4,634
198221,01074%5,463
198122,52072%6,306
198023,04072%6,451
Total565,63767%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.