Research on the factors that influence crime clearance rates has primarily studied violent crimes in large cities. However, property crimes are among the most commonly occurring and least frequently cleared offenses, and the majority of police departments in the United States serve small jurisdictions. Thus, this study undertook an examination of the predictors of clearance rates for burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft in a sample of agencies serving populations of 50,000 people or fewer. Independent variables included both policing factors (e.g., workload, funding, broken windows arrests) and social disorganization indicators (e.g., residential instability, poverty). Negative binomial regression analyses revealed variation in the significance of the predictors across the three crimes. Additionally, many predictors found to be influential in prior work were insignificant in this study, which suggests differences in the nature of crime clearance between large cities and smaller jurisdictions and a need for further research in this area.
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