Document Type


Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

DNA, homicide investigation


Criminology and Criminal Justice


Homicide clearance rates in the United States have been dropping steadily since the late 1960s. The literature on homicide clearance has yet to explore exactly what effect DNA evidence is having on the homicide investigation. As such, the increased use of DNA as an investigative tool to raise homicide clearance is hardly axiomatic. The current study examined homicides committed in Manhattan, New York, within the years 1996 to 2003 for the use of DNA evidence in making an arrest. An analysis was also conducted with an eye toward how useful DNA evidence could be—indicating that, via its current usage, the creation of large DNA databases of known criminal offenders will, at best, only marginally increase the homicide clearance rate. Further, the implications of the use of DNA may point to a larger phenomenon which may have contributed to the drop in clearance experienced nationwide.


© 2007 by David Schroeder. Posted with permission. From The Miscarriages of Justice: Current Perspectives Conference.

Dr. Schroeder currently occupies The Oskar Schindler Humanities Endowed Professorship at the University of New Haven.

Publisher Citation

Schroeder, David (2007). DNA and Homicide Clearance: What's Really Going On (Panel Session Papers). Journal of the Institute of Justice & International Studies 7, pp. 279-98. Available at