Monday, December 6, 2010

More Than 185,000 Killings Unsolved in U.S. Since 1980

Despite dramatic improvements in DNA analysis and forensic science, police fail to make an arrest in more than one-third of all homicides even as the homicide rate has fallen to levels last seen in the 1960s.

National clearance rates for murder and manslaughter have fallen from about 90 percent in the 1960s to below 65 percent in recent years. Nearly 185,000 killings went unsolved from 1980 to 2008, according to Scripps Howard News Service.

The percentage of homicides that go unsolved in the United States has been on the rise. The majority of those unsolved homicides occur in American big-cities as gleaned from police department records, according to the Scripps Howardstudy of crime records provided by the FBI.

"This is very frightening," said Bill Hagmaier, executive director of the International Homicide Investigators Association and retired chief of the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. "We'd expect that -- with more police officers, more scientific tools likes DNA analysis and more computerized records -- we'd be clearing more homicides now."

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