Clearance Rates from 1980 to 2014
47% of violent crimes and 14% of property crimes cleared (2014)
California law enforcement agencies reported this data to the California Department of Justice (CA DOJ) as part of the Federal Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR). This data tracks the clearance rates for eight crimes: homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault (together, "violent crimes"), burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft (together, "property crimes"), and arson. An offense is considered cleared by arrests when at least one person involved in the commission of the offense has been arrested, charged, and turned over to the court for prosecution or referred to juvenile authorities. This page presents an analysis of California law enforcement's clearance rates for the years 1982-2014.
How has California's clearance rate changed over time?
California's clearance rates varied across type of crime and over time. Since 1982, law enforcement agencies typically cleared 40% to 50% of the violent crime cases. After reaching a low of just over 40% in 2006, the violent crime clearance rate increased and stood at just over 47% in 2014. The property crime clearance rate was lower, at just over 14% in 2014, and typically fluctuated in the range of 13% to 17%.
California's Violent and Property Crimes Clearance Rate per 100,000 Residents
How did California's clearance rate for violent crimes compare to those of the nation?
Almost two-thirds (64%) of the most serious crime (homicide) led to an individual being arrested, charged, and turned over for prosecution in 2014. Less than half of all reported rapes (41%) and attempted rapes (48%) were cleared. The majority of aggravated assaults also resulted in a charge (clearance rate of 56% in 2014) while less than one-third of robberies resulted in a charge (31%). Overall, California's clearance rates for violent crimes were similar to nationwide averages. California had a slightly higher clearance rate for rape(41%) and attempted rape(48%) compared to nationwide (approximately 39% average for both offenses).
Clearance Rate by Type of Violent Crimes
Note: the 2014 nationwide clearance rate for rape included clearances for both rapes and attempted rapes under the revised UCR definition.
How did California's clearance rates for property crime compare to those of the nation?
Relatively few property crimes in California resulted in an arrest. This is especially true for motor vehicle thefts as only 8% were cleared in 2014. Burglaries were cleared at a slightly higher rate of 14.2% and larceny-thefts had the highest clearance rate at 15.8%. In 2014, the clearance rate for property crimes in California was 14%, lower than the nationwide rate of 20%. This was primarily due to a lower clearance rate for larceny-theft, 16% in California compared to 23.0% nationwide. A lower motor vehicle theft clearance rate also contributed, 8% in California compared to 13% for the country.