Every year in America, 6,000 killers get away with murder.
The percentage of homicides that go unsolved in the United States has risen alarmingly even as the homicide rate has fallen to levels last seen in the 1960s.
Despite dramatic improvements in DNA analysis and forensic science, police fail to make an arrest in more than one-third of all homicides. National clearance rates for murder and manslaughter have fallen from about 90 percent in the 1960s to below 65 percent in recent years.
In Texas, the statewide clearance rate is 71%. S-H had several additional stories accompanying the feature that may interest Grits readers:
- Many 'best practices' known to improve homicide investigations
- A look at what kind of homicides get solved
- One in nine Americans know the victim of an unsolved homicide
IMO that doesn't fully explain the data. Instead, I think we're witnessing the extraordinarily high opportunity costs for pursuing the war on drugs and expanding law enforcement's purview to address a wide array of social problems instead of focusing on traditional crime fighting. Cops issuing tickets for truancy, compiling photo albums of graffiti, making arrests for pot smoking, or trolling the highways to generate asset forfeiture income aren't focusing their time on more serious offenses. However solving murders doesn't generate revenue, while writing tickets for petty offenses helps fill up local coffers, creating perverse priorities that (at least partially) explain the declining clearance numbers.