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Questions Surround MPD's High Homicide Closure Rate

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There might be more to D.C.'s homicide case closure rate than meets the eye.
There might be more to D.C.'s homicide case closure rate than meets the eye.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has talked a lot recently about the city's success at closing homicide cases, but several recent news reports show that D.C.'s homicide closure rate may be misleading.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend on the city's 94 percent homicide case closure rate. But police records reviewed by the paper show D.C. had 108 homicides last year, and 62 were solved at the end of the 2011. That's a 57 percent closure rate, not 94 percent. 

It turns out D.C. police also counted 40 cases from other years that were closed in 2011, which helps the city boost its figures.

Lanier says the department followed FBI guidelines in calculating its case-closure rate. A look at how D.C. calculates its case closure numbers first appeared in December on Homicidewatch.org, a local website that covers crime in the District.


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