Case Clearance

Many times the media and other interested parties report on crime statistics taken from the FBI’s annual report.  I would never dispute that as important data that tells you important information about the community.  I don’t agree that it is the sole measurement of the effectiveness of the police.  I think there are other measures that should be considered. 

One of my most important measures that is also in the FBI’s annual report is case clearance.  It is also a standardized measure and it does tell you something about what police are doing about the crimes reported to them.  Since no one can exactly determine what the causal factors of crime are (there are lots of theories), are police totally responsible for reported crime?  Or is it more important to know what police are doing about crimes reported to them?

Although we’d like to clear every case we have, our limited resources just don’t allow that.  Then it follows that we must determine how best to use our scarce resources.  We must make choices about what to focus on.   For us, it makes the most sense to focus on serious crimes.  However, as a believer in the “Broken Window” theory I know that some of our effort should go to serious crimes but that we can’t forget the minor crime that impact quality of life in our community.  So we focus our most skilled investigators on the most serious crimes and our uniformed folks spend more time on the quality of life issues.  It isn’t a perfect system but it is a way by which we can balance our workload and still give our best effort in both important areas. 

So I took a look at the FBI report on crime clearance to measure how we are doing. 

  AHPD 2010 Avg All Agencies AVG Cities 10K-25K    
Forcible Sexual Offenses 65.6 40.4 39.4    
Robbery 76.9 28.5 36.2    
Assault Offenses 75 55 60.8    
Burglary/Home Invasion 38 11.9 14.2    
Motor Vehicle Theft 18 10.5 15.8    
Arson 33.3 17.7 22.5    

 Overall I’m pleased with last year’s outcomes.  Of course, we are always trying to perfect it…….

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.