Confusion Surrounds DC Homicide Closure Rate

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has recently touted the city’s success at closing homicide cases, but a newspaper says the way the success is calculated can be misleading.

The Washington Post reports Saturday on the 94 percent homicide case-closure rate in Washington. The paper says police records show the city had 108 homicides last year, and 62 were solved as of year’s end. That’s a 57 percent closure rate.

But D.C. police also counted 40 cases from other years that were closed in 2011, giving it the 94 percent closure rate.

Lanier says the department followed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report guidelines in calculating its case-closure rate. Those guidelines state a department may include closures of old cases when calculating that year’s totals. Meaning, if last July police solved a homicide that actually occurred in 2010 that case would count toward 2011 statistics.

A local website,, reported in December on the way the numbers are calculated.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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