Friday, September 14, 2018

One in three homicides go unsolved

Earlier this week, NPR reported that more than one-third of homicides in America go unsolved and examined why police investigators don’t close more murder cases. The Marshall Project asked Thomas Hargrove, the founder of the Murder Accountability Project and, to talk about what he’s learned in a career of studying data on homicide investigations across the country. After 37 years as an investigative reporter, Hargrove recently retired from journalism, to “spend my remaining time and energy to improve the accountability of unsolved murders.”
In the 1980s, about 27 percent of the killings of both black men and white men were reported to be unsolved at the time of reporting to the FBI. But from 1990 on, 29 percent of white male killings were unsolved compared to 38 percent of black male killings. Why the difference? Some criminologists point to the rise of drug- and gang-related violence in the murder statistics. These kinds of killings are certainly more difficult to solve. But there are many, many police departments where the clearance rates between white and black victims does not show this kind of disparity. It is most likely that the failure of solve homicides is a failure of will by local leadership. Police and community leadership in tandem has demonstrated in many communities that the “no snitching” rule can be overcome by compassionate leaders.
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