ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Only half of the homicides in the United States are uncleared by police departments, the lowest level on record, a new report has found.

According to the Murder Accountability Project, which analyzed data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police are solving more murders than in any year since 1997, but because of a rise in murders, only half are cleared.

The data looked at data from 2020 and estimated only 50 percent of homicides were considered solved by national police departments, with a nearly 30 percent increase in homicides that year, the highest on record.

The FBI uses “clearance rates” to determine how many murders police have solved. That means a suspect has to be arrested or charged and turned over to courts for prosecution.

The FBI says homicides can also be cleared if police have enough evidence but were unable to make an arrest, such as when a suspect dies.

According to The Daily Mail, from 2019 to 2020, police solved 1,200 murders — a 14% increase — but an increase in murders meant only one in every two murders was solved.

According to Philip Cook, a researcher for the University of Chicago, “It also could be that the standards for making an arrest have gone up and some of the tricks they were using in 1965 are no longer available.”

The Murder Accountability Project also reported most unsolved murders were of Black victims, as clearance rates for White, Asian American, and American Indian victims have remained steady or improved over time.

Peter Moskos, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says witnesses within minority communities may not speak to the police, out of fear of retribution.

According to the Marshall Project, data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows more murders are now being committed by people who were strangers to one another, stymying homicide investigations.