Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Thomas Wadsworth

Second Advisor

Isaac Reed

Third Advisor

Michael Freedman


Since the 1960's, there has been a substantial decline in clearance rates of homicides, a finding which has gained little attention from criminological researchers. This article presents a comparative study of homicide clearance in small geographic areas and large cities in Colorado using data from the FBI's Supplemental Homicide Report and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's Cold Case Database. Using binary logistic regression, homicide clearance rates are predicted based on specific victim and offense characteristics such as weapon and sex, race and age of the victim. The results indicate that while it mattered if a gun was used in a small geographic area, and if the victim was a male in large cities in Colorado, race and age did not differ between the three locations. Having a white victim between the ages of 0 and 23 seemed to significantly predict homicide clearance in all three locations, while the influence of sex and weapon seemed to matter depending on the location.