According to the FBI: “An offense is ‘cleared by arrest’ or solved for crime reporting purposes when at least one person is: (a) arrested; (b) charged with the commission of the offense; and (c) turned over to the court for prosecution (whether following arrest, court summons, or police notice). There are differences in the degree to which countries possess detailed information on each homicide. In the EU-27, police-recorded assaults numbered around 583 000 in 2018, down 6.2 % from 621 500 in 2010. They are mainly hunting rifles and shotguns; handgun ownership is rare as in other West European countries. The uncertainty and the apparent lack of a motive for their deaths inhibit adequate mourning (Poijula, 2010; Wijk et al., 2013). There is some evidence that non-discretional (situational) characteristics may influence the likelihood of homicide clearance, with the availability of physical evidence and information being more decisive factors (Roberts, 2007). Homicide data from the Netherlands for the period 2009–14 stem from three sources: media reports, police data and court files. Linking international homicide clearance rates is hindered by the differential use of definitions. Considering homicide event characteristics, results showed that in Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden, homicides taking place in a public setting were significantly more difficult to clear compared with homicides taking place in a private setting (see Table 2). If you have access to a journal via a society or association membership, please browse to your society journal, select an article to view, and follow the instructions in this box. For crimes that are not cleared within a reasonable amount of time, the available data are registered about one year after the initiation of the investigation, provided that the case is still being investigated as a probable homicide. This also raises questions, as Litwin and Xu (2007) point out, about whether country homicide rates are a valid measure of police workload. In the same line of reasoning, heavy crime workloads are thought to be associated with lower clearance rates (Paré et al., 2007), suggesting that a high homicide rate goes hand in hand with low clearance rates, although empirical findings assessing this … Please check you selected the correct society from the list and entered the user name and password you use to log in to your society website. Sharing links are not available for this article. The median number of days for cases to be solved was one day in Finland, one day in the Netherlands, one day in Sweden and zero days (the same day the homicide took place) in Switzerland. Clearance rates of zero percent or 100 percent should be interpreted with caution, as these may indicate data entry errors, missing data, or the presence of arrest clearances that pertain to offenses known from previous years. How successful are the police at solving crimes? For detailed case, victim and offender analyses, data were available for the period 2009–13. Please read and accept the terms and conditions and check the box to generate a sharing link. Several of the EU totals in this article were adjusted due to this. A private location includes the home of the victim or offender, a hotel, motel, dormitory or car. In addition, cases with victims found in private locations (such as homes or apartments) are the most likely to be cleared (Addington, 2006; Litwin and Xu, 2007; Mouzos and Muller, 2001; Wellford et al., 1999), since in those cases the perpetrator is almost always the (estranged) intimate partner or another family member (Litwin and Xu, 2007). This study provides an overview of homicide clearance in four West European countries: Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. 3 993 police-recorded intentional homicides were observed in the EU-27 in 2018, a reduction of 30 % compared with 2008. Further, whereas some datasets include only victim-based information, other data sources are mostly perpetrator-based, hampering the matching and comparability of figures derived from these datasets. What all four countries had in common was a relatively high clearance rate (in Finland, fast clearance speed) among homicides committed by blunt or sharp instruments and by so-called ‘hands-on’ methods, such as strangulation and hitting or kicking, with overall percentages ranging from 85 percent to 100 percent. Second, unsolved homicides – owing to the long duration of investigations, whether or not followed by costly cold case investigations – are associated with high financial costs, without leading to a positive outcome. Create a link to share a read only version of this article with your colleagues and friends. Hover over the visuals below to see how many months of data were actually reported. Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in. View or download all the content the society has access to. Table 3. From a different point of view, the low clearance rates in the Netherlands and Sweden could be explained by the relatively high prevalence of criminal milieu related homicides in these countries and the low clearance rates associated with these types of crimes. Homicides that include victims who were found in public spaces, for example, seem to have a higher clearance rate compared with homicides with victims who were hidden from the public eye, such as homicides that lacked eyewitnesses (Sturup et al., 2015) or homicides that have taken place in alleys (Litwin and Xu, 2007; Lyons and Roberts, 2014). Because of the militia system and a widespread tradition of hunting and collecting firearms, roughly one in four Swiss households owns at least one firearm. Homicide Investigations in Context: Exploring Explanations for the Divergent Impacts of Victim ... 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