This job is murder

NYPD solved 59% of 2009 slayings
Last Updated: 6:51 AM, April 25, 2010
Posted: 2:19 AM, April 25, 2010


What are the chances of getting away with murder in New York City?

About 41 percent.

The NYPD solved 59 percent of homicides last year -- down 8 percentage points from the year before, and about 5 points less than the national average in 2008, according to data obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

The "clearance rate" -- cases where arrests are made -- plummeted despite detectives having to investigate a near-record low 471 slayings, police records show.

"All the cases on TV are solved with evidence," said Vernon Geberth, a famed detective and former commander of the Bronx homicide task force. "People start to think we can solve all these crimes."

The data came out during an alarming uptick in murders. There were 139 homicides so far this year as of April 18, a 27 percent jump over the 109 killings in the same period last year.

In 2009, cops solved 75 percent of rapes, 42 percent of robberies, 18 percent of burglaries and 25 percent of grand larcenies -- all higher than the national average the year before. About 54 percent of felony assaults were cleared; the national average in 2008 was 55 percent.

The easiest crime to get away with was car theft -- just 9 percent were solved in the city and only 12 percent nationally. And auto thieves are not slowing down. They swiped 2,869 vehicles in the Big Apple this year, up from 2,852 over the same period in 2009.

The NYPD closely guards its performance figures, unlike crime stats, which cops are required to turn over to the FBI.

For years, the department voluntarily gave the feds its clearance rates, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly ended the practice in 2002, claiming that computer problems got in the way -- though detectives still get the information, police spokesman Paul Browne said.

"Clearance rates for the NYPD have been consistent over the years, and usually higher than the national average," said Browne, pointing out the department's 67 percent murder clearance rate in 2008 was 3 percentage points higher than the national figure. "I expect the actual clearance rate for 2009 murders will improve as arrests in 2010 for 2009 murders are made and recorded."

Veteran detectives say they're working harder than ever to crack cases but are hampered by dwindling ranks and a bigger workload. They now must handle misdemeanor cases that once went to beat cops.

Investigators say the diminished clearance rates could be a result of them taking longer to solve cases, which are increasingly dependent on high-tech evidence like DNA that takes time to collect and analyze.


Murder Clearance Rate in the US  

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation


For Immediate Release Washington DC
October 13, 1996 FBI National Press Office

Final 1995 crime statistics released today by the FBI showed that 13.9 million Crime Index offenses were reported to law enforcement across the Nation. The 1995 total represents a rate of 5,278 offenses for every 100,000 United States inhabitants. The number of crimes was down 1 percent from 1994, while the crime rate declined 2 percent. The number of violent crimes dropped 3 percent, while the rate of violent crimes dropped 4 percent. In the eight U.S. cities with more than one million population, the decrease in the number of violent crimes was 8 percent. In the 64 largest cities, with populations over 250,000, Crime Index totals dropped 3 percent.

These statistics are based on a Crime Index of selected violent and property offenses reported to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program by over 16,000 law enforcement agencies, covering 95 percent of the Nation's population. Estimates are included for non-reporting areas. The 1995 data appear in Crime in the United States, the FBI's annual publication which was released today. Highlights from the 1995 edition include:

Crime Volume

bullet ---In 1995, the Crime Index total of 13.9 million offenses, 1 percent lower than the 1994 total and 7 percent lower than the 1991 total, represented the fourth consecutive annual decline. A comparison with 1986 figures, however, showed a 5-percent increase over the last 10-year period.
bullet ---By region, the Southern States recorded 38 percent of all Crime Index offenses reported to law enforcement. The lowest volume was reported in the Northeastern States, accounting for 16 percent of the total. All regions except the West showed Crime Index decreases compared to 1994 figures.
bullet ---Property valued at $15.6 billion was stolen in connection with all Crime Index offenses.

Crime Rate

bullet ---The 1995 Crime Index rate, 5,278 per 100,000 population, was 2 percent lower than in 1994. For 5- and 10-year trend increments, the 1995 rate, the lowest since 1985, was 11 percent lower than the 1991 rate and 4 percent lower than 1986.
bullet ---Geographically, the total Crime Index rates ranged from 6,083 in the West to 4,180 in the Northeast. All regions recorded rate declines, 1994 versus 1995.
bullet ---The Crime Index rate was 5,761 per 100,000 inhabitants in the Nation�s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and 5,315 per 100,000 for cities outside MSAs. The lowest rate was registered by the collective rural counties at 2,083 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Violent Crime

bullet ---Violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) reported to the country�s law enforcement agencies during 1995 dropped below 1.8 million offenses resulting in the lowest violent crime rate since 1989; 685 violent crimes for every 100,000 inhabitants.
bullet ---From 1994 to 1995, the violent crimes collectively decreased by 3 percent. The 1995 total was 6 percent below the 1991 figure, but 21 percent above the 1986 figure.
bullet ---Data collected on weapons used in connection with murder, robbery, and aggravated assault showed that personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) were used in 31 percent of the offenses and that firearms were used in 30 percent. The proportion of violent crimes committed with firearms remained relatively stable from 1994 to 1995.
bullet ---Aggravated assaults accounted for 61 percent and robberies for 32 percent of all violent crimes reported to law enforcement in 1995.
bullet ---A special study focusing on the use of weapons in violent crimes is included in this year�s publication.

Property Crime

bullet ---The estimated property crime total in 1995 decreased 1 percent to 12.1 million offenses, the lowest level since 1987. The 1995 property crime rate was 4,593 offenses per 100,000 population, 1 percent lower than the 1994 figure and 11 percent lower than the 1991 figure.
bullet ---Larceny-theft, which comprised 66 percent of property crimes reported, increased 2 percent from 1994 to 1995. All other property crimes declined. Burglary accounted for 22 percent of property crime totals and motor vehicle theft for 12 percent.
bullet ---The value of property stolen in connection with property crimes was estimated at $15.1 billion for 1995, an average of $1,251 per offense reported.

Crime Clearances


bullet ---Law enforcement agencies nationwide recorded a 21-percent Crime Index clearance rate in 1995. The clearance rate for violent crimes was 45 percent; for property crimes, 18 percent.
bullet ---Among the Crime Index offenses, the clearance rate was highest for murder, 65 percent, and lowest for burglary, 13 percent.
bullet ---Offenses involving only offenders under 18 years of age accounted for 22 percent of the overall Crime Index clearances, 14 percent of the violent crime clearances, and 25 percent of the property crime clearances.
bullet ---During the year, law enforcement agencies made an estimated 15.1 million arrests for all criminal infractions excluding traffic violations. The highest arrest counts were for larceny-theft and drug abuse violations, each at 1.5 million. Arrests for driving under the influence and simple assaults followed at 1.4 and 1.3 million arrests, respectively. Relating the number of arrests to the total U.S. population, the rate was 5,807 arrests per 100,000 population.
bullet ---The total number of arrests for all offenses except traffic violations increased 1 percent from 1994 to 1995.
bullet ---Of all persons arrested in 1995, 44 percent were under the age of 25, 80 percent were male, and 67 percent were white.
bullet ---Larceny-theft was the offense resulting in the most arrests of females and of persons under the age of 18. Adults were most often arrested for driving under the influence, and males most frequently for drug abuse violations.


bullet ---The murder count for 1995 totaled 21,597, a total 7 percent lower than 1994 and 13 percent lower than 1991. The murder rate was 8 per 100,000 inhabitants.
bullet ---Based on supplemental data received, 77 percent of murder victims in 1995 were males, and 88 percent were persons 18 years or older. By race, 49 percent of victims were black and 48 percent were white.
bullet ---Data based on a total of 22,434 murder offenders showed that 91 percent of the assailants were males, and 85 percent were 18 years of age or older. Fifty-three percent of the offenders were black and 45 percent were white.
bullet ---Fifty-five percent of murder victims were slain by strangers or persons unknown. Among all female murder victims in 1995, 26 percent were slain by husbands or boyfriends, while 3 percent of the male victims were slain by wives or girlfriends.
bullet ---By circumstance, 28 percent of the murders resulted from arguments and 18 percent from felonious activities such as robbery, arson, etc.
bullet ---In approximately 7 out of every 10 murders reported during 1995, firearms were the weapons used.

Forcible Rape

bullet ---The total of 97,464 forcible rapes reported to law enforcement during 1995 was the lowest total since 1989. The 1995 count was 5 percent lower than in 1994.
bullet ---In the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the victims of forcible rape are always female, and in 1995 an estimated 72 of every 100,000 females in the country were reported rape victims. Robbery
bullet ---In 1995, law enforcement agencies recorded 580,545 robberies, for a crime rate of 221 robberies per 100,000 population nationwide. The volume of robbery was down 6 percent from the 1994 total; and from 1994 to 1995 robbery rates per 100,000 inhabitants declined in all regions.
bullet ---Monetary loss attributed to property stolen in connection with this offense was estimated at $507 million. Bank robberies resulted in the highest average losses, $4,015 per offense; convenience store robberies the lowest, $400.
bullet ---Robberies on streets or highways accounted for more than half (54 percent) of the offenses in this category.
bullet ---In 1995, robberies committed with firearms accounted for 41 percent of the total, an 8-percent decrease from 1994; robberies committed through the use of strong-arm tactics also accounted for 41 percent of the total, a 3-percent decrease from 1994.

Aggravated Assault

bullet ---For the second consecutive year, aggravated assaults dropped over 1 percent in 1995 to an estimated total of 1,099,179. Aggravated assaults comprised 61 percent of the violent crimes in 1995.
bullet ---There were 418 victims of aggravated assault for every 100,000 people nationwide in 1995, the lowest rate since 1989.
bullet ---In 1995, 33 percent of the aggravated assaults were committed with blunt objects or other dangerous weapons. Personal weapons such as hands, fists, and feet were used in 26 percent; firearms in 23 percent; and knives or cutting instruments in the remainder.


bullet ---Lower than in any other year of the past two decades, the estimated burglary total was 2.6 million, and the rate was 988 per 100,000 inhabitants.
bullet ---Two out of every 3 burglaries were residential in nature. Sixty-seven percent of all burglaries involved forcible entry, and over half (52 percent) occurred during the daylight hours.
bullet ---The value of property stolen during burglaries was estimated at $3.3 billion in 1995. Larceny-theft
bullet ---Larceny-theft, with an estimated total of 8 million offenses, comprised 58 percent of the Crime Index total.
bullet ---The total dollar loss to victims nationwide was nearly $4.3 billion during 1995. The average value of property stolen was up from the 1994 figure, $505, to $535 per incident.
bullet ---Thefts of motor vehicle parts, accessories, and contents made up the largest portion of reported larcenies, 36 percent.

Motor Vehicle Theft

bullet ---In 1995, slightly under 1.5 million thefts of motor vehicles, the lowest total since 1989, were reported.
bullet ---Seventy-eight percent of all motor vehicles stolen in 1995 were automobiles.
bullet ---The estimated value of motor vehicles stolen nationwide was nearly $7.6 billion, for an average of $5,129 per vehicle. Arson
bullet ---A total of 94,926 arson offenses was reported in 1995.
bullet ---As in previous years, structures were the most frequent targets of arsonists in 1995, comprising 53 percent of the reported incidents. Residential property was involved in 60 percent of the structural arsons during the year; 43 percent of the arsons were directed at single-family dwellings.
bullet ---In 1995, the monetary value of property damaged due to reported arson averaged $11,151 per offense.
bullet ---Of the arsons cleared during the year, 47 percent involved only young people under the age of 18, a higher percentage of juvenile involvement than for any other Index Crime.

Law Enforcement Employees

bullet ---A total of 13,052 city, county, and state police agencies submitting Uniform Crime Reporting data reported collectively employing 586,756 officers and 226,780 civilians in 1995.
bullet ---The average rate of 2.4 full-time officers for every 1,000 inhabitants across the country in 1995 showed a slight increase from the 1994 figure, 2.3 per 1,000 inhabitants..
bullet ---Geographically, the highest rate of officers to population was recorded in the Northeastern States where there were 2.7 officers per 1,000 inhabitants.


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