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Within the UCR Program, law enforcement agencies can clear, or "close," offenses in one of two ways: by arrest or by exceptional means. Agencies may administratively close a case, but this does not necessarily mean that the agency can clear the offense for UCR purposes. To clear an offense within the Program's guidelines, the reporting agency must adhere to certain criteria, which are outlined in the following text. (Note: The UCR Program does not distinguish between offenses cleared by arrest and those cleared by exceptional means in its data presentations. The distinction is made solely for the purpose of a definition and not for data collection and publication.)


  • Nationwide in 2005, 45.5 percent of violent crimes and 16.3 percent of property crimes were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
  • Of the violent crimes of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, murder had the highest percentage—62.1 percent—of offenses cleared.
  • Of the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft, burglary was the offense least often cleared with 12.7 percent cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
  • Nationwide in 2005, 42.2 percent of arson offenses cleared by arrest or exceptional means involved juveniles, the highest percentage of all offense clearances involving only juveniles.
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Expanded clearance data

Expanded information regarding clearances for the offenses of forcible rape, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson may be found in Table 27, "Percent of Offenses Cleared by Arrest or Exceptional Means, Additional Information About Selected Offenses, by Population Group."

Percent of Crimes Cleared by Arrest or Exceptional Means, 2005

What you won't find on this page

Arrest data are not on this page. In its calculations, the UCR Program counts the number of offenses that are cleared, not the number of arrestees.

If you have questions about these data

Contact the Communications Unit of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division via e-mail at or by telephone at (304) 625-4995.


Information is available regarding the UCR Program's statistical methodology and table construction.

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