Professor of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University
- While resources and experience are part of the equation in explaining homicide clearance rates, their role is limited.
- Solid community relationships, particularly through the use of community policing, help to develop community-based trust during an investigation and help to increase homicide clearance rates.
- It is important to have strong support and an open relationship with the community, throughout the law enforcement agency and with other law enforcement agencies in the region.
- For homicide clearance rates to increase, the homicide unit needs to be adequately staffed with competent, qualifications-based investigators who are equipped with the tools to conduct an effective investigation.
The report, “Effective Police Homicide Investigations: Evidence from Seven Cities with High Clearance Rates,” Carter and his co-authors examine seven law enforcement agencies that had at least 24 homicides in 2011 and had a clearance rate of 80 percent of higher in order to identify best practices in homicide investigations and inform how police can best improve homicide clearance rates. The report finds that many considerations factor into high homicide clearance rates, including a strong community policing presence, collaboration with external agencies and an innovative culture.