Since the mid-1960s, the rate at which homicides are cleared in the United States has declined from approximately 90% to a low of about 62% in 2015. Many possible reasons for this have been suggested in previous literature. The current study examines the questions of whether it is reasonable to believe that there has been an increase in stranger-perpetrated homicide over the past four decades and whether that is responsible for the decrease in clearance. The study used tests of Granger Causality and Jaccard’s Coefficient of Similarity to attempt to answer those questions. The study found that the average age of both victims and offenders is increasing, that homicides in the mid-1980s (the time of the crack epidemic and an increase in youth involved homicide) appear to be less similar to homicides since 1990, and that homicides in which the victim/offender relationship is unknown do not appear similar to stranger homicides. Findings on the role of victim/offender relationship and related variables to the clearance rate were mixed. Overall, the present analysis finds that there is little reason to believe that there has been an increase in the number of strangers killing strangers. The findings of this study have implications for understanding past homicide investigations, for informing homicide investigations in the future, and suggest several possible avenues for future research.
|School:||University of New Haven|
|School Location:||United States -- Connecticut|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Criminology, American studies|
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