Cities Under Pressure to Improve Homicide Clearance Rates

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A growing number of cities are putting more effort into solving past and present homicides, aided by independent groups that hire retired detectives to help tackle a growing backlog of cold cases while trying to improve dismal murder-clearance rates, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

Today, an average of 40 percent of homicides go unsolved, up from 10 percent in 1965, which has ballooned the list of cold cases nationwide since 1980 to 250,000. Using a New Orleans drive-by double murder as its centerpiece, the Monitor catalogs factors that act as a drag on clearance rates — lack of adequate investigatory resources, eroding police-community trust, and indifference by police and the public to what are perceived as victims complicit in their deaths — and lauds cities like Atlanta, Savannah, Memphis and Charlotte for adding to their detective ranks to clear the backlog.

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