Explaining Differences in Homicide Clearance Rates Between Japan and the United States

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Explaining Differences in Homicide Clearance Rates Between Japan and the United States

Category: Homicide, International|Journal: Homicide Studies (full text)|Author: A Roberts|Year: 2008

Japan maintains near-perfect homicide clearance rates (around 95%, compared with roughly 60% in the United States). This study explored possible explanations for higher homicide clearance rates in Japan than in the United States. Using recent (2000 to 2004) official summary statistics, this study found that Japanese homicides contain a higher proportion of “easy-to-clear” cases, including those with nonfirearm weapons, family member offenders, and child (and not teenager or young adult) victims, than do American homicides. Also the Japanese categorization of homicides in official statistics includes cases favorable to clearance (attempted homicide) and excludes cases unfavorable to clearance (robbery-homicide). These findings suggest caution in attributing Japan’s higher homicide clearance rates exclusively to police effectiveness or citizen–police cooperation. Suggestions for future multivariate research are also discussed.

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