Do crimes committed in West Hollywood get solved?
We’ve done a series of reports on the number of crimes in West Hollywood, but we’ve never asked how many of them are solved. Law enforcement agencies call it “clearing” a crime. A crime is cleared when a suspect is arrested, charged, and turned over for prosecution. A crime can also be cleared without an arrest if, for example, the suspect has died.
The “clearance rate” is calculated by taking the number of crimes cleared in a given period — regardless of when they occurred — and dividing by the number of reported crimes in that period. For crimes that take time to solve, the crime and the clearance may not happen in the same period. In fact, if a lot of past crimes are solved all at once, the clearance rate can temporarily exceed 100%.
Overall clearance rates
Over the last five years, 63% of violent crimes in West Hollywood were cleared by the Sheriff’s Department. We prefer to use a five-year average because the yearly numbers fluctuate in smaller cities. For example, West Hollywood’s rate was 56% in 2015 but 72% in 2016.
The clearance rate is typically much lower for property crimes than for violent crimes. In West Hollywood, it’s two-thirds lower. It averaged 22% from 2012 to 2016.
Clearance rates over time
In 2016, West Hollywood’s clearance rate for violent crimes was higher than it’s ever been. That’s true of the five-year average (63%) and the one-year rate (72%). Ten years ago, the average was 45%.
The five-year clearance rate for property crimes reached an historical high of 22% in 2014 and 2016. Ten years ago, the five-year average was 13%. The one-year high was 32% in 2014. The year before, it was only 11%, demonstrating the volatility of the year-to-year numbers.
Clearance rates compared to nearby cities
Over the last five years, West Hollywood had the highest violent crime clearance rate among nearby cities. The rate was 63% in West Hollywood, compared to 58% in Santa Monica, 54% in Culver City, 40% in Los Angeles, and 35% in Beverly Hills.
We assume that some of the differences in these numbers are due to reporting differences among police departments. We can eliminate that effect by focusing only on cities served by the Sheriff’s Department. West Hollywood’s rate was still better than average: 63% versus 58%.
West Hollywood’s five-year clearance rate for property crimes was also better than average for cities served by the Sheriff’s Department: 22% versus 17%. It was higher than the rates in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Beverly Hills, which were at 10% or less. On the other end, Culver City stood out for its 44% clearance rate, double West Hollywood’s.
Clearance rates by crime
Four out of five homicides and aggravated assaults were cleared in West Hollywood in the last five years. About two out of three rapes and two out of five robberies were cleared.
Less than a quarter of thefts and burglaries were solved. Only 6% of motor vehicle thefts were cleared.
Among nearby cities, West Hollywood had the highest clearance rates for rape and aggravated assault and the second highest for burglary and arson. It had the lowest clearance rate for motor vehicle theft.
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