Murder Accountability Project

Murder Accountability Project A nonprofit organization tracking unsolved homicides in the United States. The Murder Accountability Project, a nonprofit group, seeks to improve the nation’s accounting of unsolved homicides, to assist law enforcement in clearing the nation’s cold-case backlog and to educate the public about the growing problem of unsolved homicides.
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Operating as usual

The Murder Accountability Project (MAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investi...
08/16/2019

The Murder Accountability Project (MAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal law enforcement agencies for failing to obey a 31-year-old Congressional mandate that homicides and other major crimes must be reported to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), the nation's official accounting of major crimes.

That federal law enforcement agencies have ignored the Uniform Federal Crime Reporting Act of 1988 became apparent when MAP determined earlier this year that half of Native American homicides committed from 1999 through 2017 were not reported to the UCR or to its related Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR). At least 2,400 Indian murders were not reported, MAP determined.

The FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have jurisdiction to lead criminal investigations on many Indian reservations but failed to report either the occurrence of these crimes or whether they were cleared through the arrest of the offenders. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Department of Defense have also failed to report to the Justice Department many hundreds of homicides and other major crimes for which they had jurisdiction.

The 1988 law requires all federal law enforcement agencies, including those within the Department of Defense, to report crime data including homicides to the Justice Department. The Act further requires that the Justice Department “shall report” these data to all “institutions participating in the Uniform Crime Reports program.” MAP relies upon the UCR and SHR to monitor homicides and makes these data available at this website.

"The American people have the right to know how they are being murdered and whether those murders are being solved," said MAP Chairman Thomas K. Hargrove. "We reluctantly are suing federal law enforcement agencies under the Freedom of Information Act to compel them to obey a Congressional reporting mandate."

To download a copy of MAP's 71-page federal complaint, go to our Website at: www.murderdata.org.

03/29/2019
Chicago detectives review 51 strangulations as likely serial murders

Detectives for the Chicago Police Department have begun a review of more than 50 unsolved strangulations of women -- many with histories of prostitution and illegal drug use -- looking for evidence of serial murder. Superintendent Eddie Johnson ordered the probe in hopes that recovered DNA can help identify their killer or killers.

"We are looking at them now to see if we can go back and do some additional testing to ... bring to the forefront who these (offending) individuals are," Johnson said.

The cases were identified by the Murder Accountability Project's computer algorithm that reviews FBI files looking for homicides with an elevated probability of serial murder. To download MAP's report to Chicago leaders and to see an interactive map of these victims, go to: www.murderdata.org.

Chicago-based members of the Illinois State Senate are also reviewing the homicides. The lawmakers conducted a hearing called by Sen. Patricia Van Pelt to probe whether police investigations have been hampered by a backlog of DNA evidence from more than 5,000 crimes, including 658 homicides, awaiting testing by overburdened Illinois State Crime Labs.

For two years, the Murder Accountability Project has warned that too many strangulation and asphyxiation murders of women have gone unsolved, a pattern suggestive of serial murder. "It's highly unlikely these 50 women were murdered by 50 separate men," said MAP Chairman Thomas Hargrove.

Reporter Pam Zekman of CBS affiliate WBBM-TV has also reviewed the murders and issued four reports outlining the killings and the Chicago community's growing response to them. Chicago detectives, once dismissive of MAP's concerns, recently agreed that "any reasonable person" would conclude the strangulation and asphyxiation deaths may be linked to a common killer or killers.

02/28/2019
Does Chicago have an active serial killer?

The Murder Accountability Project's serial-killer-detection algorithm is signaling an alert over the 50 unsolved strangulations/asphyxiations of women in Chicago in recent years. CBS Affiliate WBBM-TV this month has produced two reports that generated interest by elected officials.

Chicago City Council 3rd Ward Alderwoman Patricia Dowell said she will seek hearings into these deaths. “There are too many black women who have lost their lives and we don’t know what happened to them,” Dowell said.

Illinois State Senator Patricia Van Pelt, 5th District, also called for an investigation: “This is raising some questions that need to be answered,” she said.

Van Pelt recently held hearings in Springfield into the backlog at the Illinois State Crime Lab in which more than 700 DNA samples from homicide cases (and thousands of others from other major crimes) have not been tested, a wake-up call for how badly overburdened the state’s crime labs have become.

The nonprofit organization Murder Accountability Project (or MAP) has just posted an alarming study about racial inequal...
02/19/2019

The nonprofit organization Murder Accountability Project (or MAP) has just posted an alarming study about racial inequality for homicides.

It turns out America's historic decline in the rate at which murders are cleared through the arrest of offenders was entirely the result of unsolved homicides of African Americans. Clearance rates for whites (which includes ethnic Hispanics), Asians and Native Americans actually improved slightly over the period from 1976 through 2017.

You can download MAP's report at our website at www.murderdata.org.

The MAP study found this racial divide occurred in every region of the nation and in most communities, regardless of size. Major urban centers, suburban neighborhoods, rural counties and tiny cities all generally experienced a large decline in the rate at which black homicides are solved through arrest.

Homicide records for 2017 now available at www.murderdata.org.The nonprofit Murder Accountability Project (MAP) has post...
10/08/2018

Homicide records for 2017 now available at www.murderdata.org.

The nonprofit Murder Accountability Project (MAP) has posted records of more than 17,000 homicides committed in the United States during 2017, allowing users to access individual case files and to explore crime clearance trends for most police departments.

Most of these records were provided by the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services division in Clarksburg, West Virginia. But 1,232 homicide case files were obtained by MAP from police departments that do not report data to the federal Supplemental Homicide Report.

The FBI estimates that 61.6 percent of homicides committed last year were cleared through the arrest of the offender, a slight improvement from the previous year. The official estimate that 59.4 percent of homicides were cleared in 2016 was the lowest in U.S. history.

The assembled records from the Uniform Crime Report (available at the "Clearance Rate" tab) and the Supplemental Homicide Report (available at the "Search Cases" tab) can be downloaded in either SPSS or comma separated values (CSV) formats at this website's "Data & Docs" tab.

Police and sheriffs’ departments frequently fail to report homicides of infants and elderly Americans to the U.S. Depart...
06/11/2018

Police and sheriffs’ departments frequently fail to report homicides of infants and elderly Americans to the U.S. Department of Justice, a troubling finding by the nonprofit Murder Accountability Project based upon a comparison of crime data given to the FBI and mortality records reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MAP’s study of 297,816 homicides reported by medical examiners and coroners from 2000 through 2016 and 272,082 homicides in the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Report for the same period found a significant age bias.

America’s youngest and oldest homicide victims are the least likely of any age cohort to be reported by police to federal authorities.

Medical authorities documented 5,261 cases of infanticide while local law enforcement reported only 3,799 infant homicides committed from 2000 through 2017, which means nearly 28 percent of infanticides were not reported to the nation’s official crime record.

This makes infanticide the least-reported among all age cohorts for murder. The next-lowest-reported age group were for victims 65 or older, of which police failed to report more than 15 percent.

Go to www.murderdata.org to see the full 14-page report of this study with state-by-state and county results. You can also download the data upon which this study is based.

Are murders worth solving? Since many cities and counties face a growing fiscal squeeze because of static or even declin...
01/28/2018

Are murders worth solving? Since many cities and counties face a growing fiscal squeeze because of static or even declining tax revenues, some policymakers wonder if social programs to combat crime might be more effective than old-fashioned (and labor-intensive) law enforcement.

A new analysis conducted by the Murder Accountability Project (MAP) contains a stark warning for city and county governments that allow homicide clearance rates to decline below national norms.

Jurisdictions that do a below-average job solving murders suffer homicide rates nearly double those of jurisdictions with above-average clearance rates. Put another way, Americans in cities that underperform in catching killers are twice as likely to die in assaults.

Read the entire nine-page MAP report at www.murderdata.org.

This warning is all the more worrisome since the FBI estimates homicide clearance rates in 2016 dropped to 59 percent, the lowest rate ever recorded in the United States.

MAP’s analysis finds there is a broadly inverse relationship between homicide clearance rates and homicide occurrence rates. As clearance rates decline, murder rates rise and vice versa. This report contains homicide clearance and occurrence rates for 192 major police departments, comparing rates during the five-year period 2012-2016 against the rates during the previous five years.

Veteran New Yorker magazine writer Alec Wilkinson spent many days interviewing the volunteers at the Murder Accountabili...
11/28/2017

Veteran New Yorker magazine writer Alec Wilkinson spent many days interviewing the volunteers at the Murder Accountability Project to produce this amazing story about how to spot serial killers using the nonprofit organization's database of 751,000 homicides. Read the piece in its entirety at: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/27/the-serial-killer-detector

11/07/2017
Atlanta's unsolved female strangulations

The nation's largest suspicious cluster of unsolved female murders occurred over a 40 year period in Atlanta, Ga., according to a new series of investigative reports by WXIA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta. The Murder Accountability Project and members of its Board of Directors participated extensively in producing this report.

Veteran investigative reporter Brendan Keefe is leading a team examining 133 female strangulations in Atlanta stretching back to the 1970s. Three-quarters of these crimes were reported to the FBI as unsolved. These cases were identified by a computer algorithm developed by the Murder Accountability Project to spot victims of serial murder among FBI computer files.

"This is the nation's largest cluster of female homicides that we believe have an elevated probability of containing serial murders," said MAP Chairman Thomas K. Hargrove. "We are grateful to WXIA, the Atlanta Police Department and Dr. Michael Arntfield's researchers at the Cold Case Society at Canada's Western University for re-examining these many dozens of unsolved homicides, some of which are quite recent."

MAP's algorithm has reported the suspicious cluster since it was first run nearly eight years ago. To see this cluster, go to www.murderdata.org and select the "County Clusters" page under the "Murder Clusters" tab. Set the Year selector to cover the period 1976 to 2016.

The homicide clearance rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level on record, according to new estimates b...
09/26/2017

The homicide clearance rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level on record, according to new estimates by the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services division.

Only 59.4 percent of the estimated 17,250 homicides committed in 2016 were solved through the arrest of offenders, the first time the much-watched national clearance rate dropped below 60 percent. The clearance estimate for 2015 was 61.5 percent.

The total number of homicides jumped 8.6 percent, up from the adjusted estimate for 2015 of 15,883 homicides. The estimates mean more than 7,000 murders were not cleared last year, up from more than 6,000 unsolved homicides in 2015.

"America's declining homicide clearance rate is a national tragedy," said Thomas K. Hargrove, chairman of the nonprofit Murder Accountability Project. "We believe the failure to clear homicides through arrest is a failure of political will by local and state leaders who provide insufficient resources to the growing challenge of violent crime."

MAP will post local homicide clearance data for every state, county and police jurisdiction as soon as they are available from the FBI. To see the historic downward trends in homicide clearance rates, go to the "Analytics" tab at www.murderdata.org and select "Charts."

It should be noted all official estimates for homicide trends are based upon incomplete records provided by local police under the voluntary Uniform Crime Report. Many jurisdictions, including the state of Illinois, do not report clearance data to federal authorities.

Do we truly know how many people are murdered in the United States each year?An new study by the nonprofit Murder Accoun...
09/05/2017

Do we truly know how many people are murdered in the United States each year?

An new study by the nonprofit Murder Accountability Project has found that coroners and medical examiners reported nearly 2,200 more homicides to state and federal health authorities in 2015 than police departments reported to the U.S. Justice Department, a long-standing discrepancy that has been getting worse in recent years.

Our study found significant lapses in police participation in the annual Uniform Crime Report, a voluntary reporting program which policymakers rely upon as the official estimate for violent crimes in the United States.

See the full report at www.murderdata.org. You can also see how often murders go "missing" in your state and local county.

The Murder Accountability Project (MAP) has developed an algorithm capable of detecting serial killers who target multip...
08/08/2017

The Murder Accountability Project (MAP) has developed an algorithm capable of detecting serial killers who target multiple victims using similar methods of killing within a specific geographic area. This technique can be useful to police in identifying difficult-to-see patterns over a period of several years or even decades.

Data visualizations baed upon this algorithm have been added to MAP’s webpage at the “Murder Clusters” tab. (Go to www.murderdata.org). Web users can easily search for possible serial killers without expensive statistical software or advanced computer knowledge.

The algorithm is based upon a reasonable premise -- a serial killer can dramatically reduce the normal clearance rate for groups of similar victims killed through similar methods. The algorithm looks for clusters with extremely low clearance rates. This algorithm has successfully detected both well-known serial killers and killers whose homicidal patterns were not recognized by police.

“We are delighted to provide an online version of our serial-detection algorithm,” said MAP Chairman Thomas K. Hargrove. “We hope homicide detectives, police supervisors and the public will use it to identify threats to community safety.”

MAP believes murder clusters with much-lower-than-expected clearance rates have an elevated probability of containing serial killings. But they are not proof of the presence or absence of multiple-victim offenders. Rarely are all of the victims within a cluster the handiwork of serial killers. Police investigation – including physical evidence, offender confession, or witness testimony – is the best evidence that a cluster of homicides may be linked.

These visualizations were developed by Haneesh Marella and donated to the Murder Accountability Project.

More than half of America’s major police departments are struggling to solve homicides at the same level of success they...
06/17/2017

More than half of America’s major police departments are struggling to solve homicides at the same level of success they enjoyed a decade ago, according to a study by retired FBI and DC Metro investigator Eric Witzig, now a volunteer for the nonprofit Murder Accountability Project. See Eric's full report at our Website at www.murderdata.org.

12/15/2016

Killers were more likely to get away with murder in Illinois than in any other state last year.

Only 37.3 percent of the 756 homicides committed last year in Illinois were cleared through the arrest (or death) of the offenders, according to a survey of police departments conducted by the Murder Accountability Project. The national homicide clearance rate in 2015 was 61.5 percent.

The study by MAP was the first accounting of homicide clearance in Illinois in more than a generation. The state ceased reporting clearance data to the FBI in 1994, making Illinois the only state that doesn’t monitor how often killers are caught.

“Illinois is badly under-performing when it comes to catching killers,” said Thomas K. Hargrove, founder and chairman of the Murder Accountability Project. “But since few people realize this, there is little hope that the public will demand change or that city, county and state leaders will monitor the problem and effect solutions.”

The Illinois State Police, which gathers annual crimes statistics, does not follow the reporting standards set by the federal Uniform Crime Report. The state counts homicide arrests, but these are highly misleading data since two or three (or more) people are often arrested in a single case.

That’s why the Illinois State Police reported 439 homicide arrests statewide last year while MAP estimates that only 282 homicides were actually cleared, based upon responses the nonprofit group received from Freedom of Information Act requests sent to 102 Illinois police departments.

Lower-than-average clearance rates are not exclusive to the Chicago Police Department, which cleared 30.2 percent of its homicides last year. Several jurisdictions suffered even lower rates including East St. Louis, with a clearance rate of 26.3 percent; Joliet with 11.1 percent; Maywood with 15.4 percent; and Rockford with 15.8 percent. The Illinois State Police had one of the worst clearance rates, making only one arrest among the 18 homicides it investigated.

To read the complete 14-page report with state and national data, click:https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/59764882/MAP_Illinois_Release_2016.pdf

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Comments

It’s been one year, where is my sister? Still missing, still no updates. Vanished without a trace? This is literally destroying our family. Someone knows something and it’s time to speak up! Please keep praying for the truth to come out! #BringEricaHome
I don’t know if y’all already know but y’all were featured in this video!!!!! The last story is about the Chicago 51 and mentions y’all!!!
Could you please look into the Denita Hedden case? She's not been found, the police know she is deceased, they have a suspect, but say they can not arrest him without a body. Her family deserves answers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/346180849122714/permalink/409266456147486/
Pretty thrilled to see Ada County, Idaho has an 85% clear rate since 1965. I hope I don’t take this for granted.
Just really happy to see the data being compiled and analyzed.
If you know anyone who lived in Rochester, NY in the 1960’s, please join the FB page Shari Smoyer & Jack King Murders 1963 Rochester, NY. We have a new lead and just need to find people who might know the couple of small details we need to solve the case.
I think that the police would benefit from allowing the public access to cold case files especially since true crime is at peak interest right now. We have been doing it for years without law enforcement help, imagine if they had 100 people working towards that goal on each case. Its so interesting to me how the human mind works on both sides of this coin.
Hello, I've just come across your page a few days ago... is there going to be another Demo any time soon? Thank you!
This is one of the cases that isn't being charged as a hate crime. We still have no idea why. http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/30/us/transgender-teen-murdered-not-hate-crime-trnd/index.html