The Washington Post

Lanier fights back on homicide closure rate

On Friday, Lanier defended her practice of including old cases in the city’s homicide clearance rate in an irate-sounding letter to The Post:

The MPD’s homicide clearance rate is calculated, as it is in most police departments in the country, using the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) guidelines established by the FBI in the 1930s — guidelines that are the national standard for reporting homicide clearance rates. The UCR closure standard is not a new development in the District; it has been used by the D.C. police since the early 1980s.

Because it includes action on both current- and prior-year homicides, UCR measures all of the work that an agency exhausts in closing cases. I have always stressed to my department the importance of closing all homicides — including prior-year cases. Any suggestion that the MPD is being deceptive by including prior-year closures is absurd. In fact, I have repeatedly and publicly explained the UCR closure calculations in our annual reports, to the media and in public testimony to the D.C. Council.

Lanier further argued that the reporting standards cut both ways. While a 2008 murder that’s closed in 2011 could count towards the 2011 clearance rate, a 2008 assault that results in a death in 2011 is counted as a homicide in 2011.

[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at]

Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.


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