16.99% of all
- Proportion of Offenses Cleared by Arrests
- Proportion of Offenses Not Cleared by Arrests
Interpreting clearance rate data
A primary responsibility of the police is to solve crimes that have occurred in the past. Solving crimes requires a high degree of police-community collaboration—through reporting crimes and tips, witness participation in investigations, and the like. Law enforcement agencies across the country consider crimes solved when they are cleared by arrests. For this reason, clearance rates (for example, the ratio of crimes cleared to offenses known by the police) can serve as an indicator of not only police effectiveness, but also of police-community collaboration. Each year as part of its Uniform Crime Report (UCR) program, the FBI collects voluntarily reported clearance rate data from the country’s 18,000+ police agencies. These data cover all Part I (serious) offenses, except for arson. On this page, users can learn more about both the effectiveness of American policing practices and the degree of police-community collaboration by interacting with a series of visualizations that explore how clearance rates vary by offense type, time, and place.
More specifically, UCR datasets are broken down by the month in which a clearance occurred. As such, agencies can opt to report none (i.e., zero months), some (i.e., 1-11 months), or all (i.e., 12 months) of their data. Hover over the visuals below to see how many months of data were actually reported. Note that months reported was calculated and validated using publicly available data, which may not reliably a) indicate when multiple agencies report their data together, or b) specify months in accordance with UCR reporting instructions. To date, FBI estimates do not exist for clearance rate data. Based on UCR data availability, users can explore reported clearance rates at the national, regional, state, county, and agency levels from 1964-2016. Data are labeled as “not applicable” when relevant information was not collected in a given year, and “missing” when relevant information was collected but a location did not report it. Lastly, rarely occurring errors present in UCR datasets (for example, an agency mistyping “1,000 clearances” in their UCR report when “100” actually occurred, or a true instance of missing data being misclassified as “0 clearances”) may also be present in this tool.
- Clearance Rate