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Murder in Space City: Houston Homicide Re-Examined, Final Report & Project Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2000
17 pages
This study determined changes in the volume and characteristics of homicide from the 1960's to the 1990's in Houston, Texas; compared neighborhood-level factors that influenced homicide victimization and offending; and documented and compared clearance (by arrest) rates as well as final legal disposition of homicide cases over time.
Data were collected on all Houston homicide cases recorded by the police for 1984-94 (n=5,442). This permitted a comparison of homicide profiles for 1945-49, 1955-61, and 1969. The project included a quantitative analysis of the age, sex, and race of victims and offenders, as well as a description of homicide circumstances, victim-offender relationship, type of weapon used, and any drug-related or gang-related activity involved. These files were augmented with incident information obtained from the homicide news-report files of the Houston Chronicle. The study sought to establish any significant relationships between the criminal justice system's response to homicide by examining both clearance (by arrest) rates and the final legal disposition of cases, based on characteristics of the homicide incident and/or persons involved. This was achieved by comparing case dispositions of 1969 homicides (n=200) with a random sample of 10 percent of the 1980 homicide cases (n=200) and 10 percent of the 1990 cases (n=200). The clearance analysis proved to be feasible with available data. 11 tables and abstracts of 5 papers that have been produced to date

Date Published: July 1, 2000