This variable indicates whether or not the incident was cleared, and by what means. Generally, an incident can be cleared either by arrest or "exceptional means." The first clearance type requires little elaboration. The second, however, is less intuitive. Exceptional means refers to circumstances beyond the control of law enforcement that prevent an agency from placing formal charges against an offender pursuant to an arrest. Examples of exceptional clearances include the death of the offender; victim refusal to cooperate with prosecution; or the denial of extradition because the offender committed a crime in another jurisdiction and is being prosecuted for that offense.
[The information presented above was adapted from material presented in the FBI's annual Crime in the United States report, under the section labeled "Offenses Cleared"]. Note that the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, which includes NIBRS, counts clearances by the number of offenses that are solved, not by the number of persons arrested.