A Dallas Morning News analysis shows that the city’s homicide detectives work up to five times as many cases as in some comparable cities. Yet they solve homicides at a rate consistently above the national average.
Dallas had 244 murders last year, and each detective took on an average of 11 new cases. This differs sharply from Houston and New Orleans, which had more murders last year, but whose much larger staffs took on only four and six new cases respectively. Experts say the standard is six. Murder is only part of the job. Last year, homicide detectives investigated 1,473 cases, including what turned out to be natural or unexplained deaths and suicides. Most of these cases did not require a detective at the scene, but 533 did. Detectives also carry over unsolved cases from past years – some veterans have dozens.