The Boston Police Department’s record of solving homicides has not shown improvement since 2006 despite the commissioner’s highly touted efforts to strengthen the homicide unit and new initiatives designed to protect witnesses and bring cases before grand juries more quickly, reports the Boston Globe. Last year, the department solved, or cleared, 28 homicides – 44 percent of the number of killings reported, compared with 45 percent in 2007 and 47 percent in 2006, according to the FBI’s method of assessing figures.
Police Commissioner Edward Davis defended the department’s performance, saying he is particularly encouraged by headway made last year in solving cases that had lingered from 2007. The department last year solved six killings from the previous year and is poised to make arrests in four more. A Globe review of city and FBI statistics reveals that the total of seven older cases that the department solved last year does not stand out from prior years. In 2007, the department solved six homicides from previous years, and in 2006 it solved 10. “It puts out there the perception that you can get away with murder,” said Jorge Martinez of Project RIGHT. “We have dozens of people who are waiting to find out what’s happening with the investigations regarding their loved ones.” Boston’s 44 percent rate for last year is well below the 2007 national average of about 55 percent for cities with a population between 500,000 and 1 million.