My Friends at Second City Cop and Chicago’s homicide detectives have their own theories as to why homicide clearance rates are lower than ever. They blame the trend to observe the rights suspects have under our Constitution and some new department policies that end guesswork about suspect’s confessions or statements made to police.
I think I have the real answer and my copper friends won’t like it. In days gone by nearly 85% of all homicides were cleared by arrest. Some people love to confess just because it makes them feel important. That happened with that weirdo, John Mark Karr who confessed to killing little Jonbenet Ramsey. He was cleared not by old methods but by the latest scientific evidence, such as DNA and fresh data technology.
The cops have many more modern tools to solve crimes today and get to the truth. Along with DNA are the investigative tools of data tracking and video surveillance. These tools provide solid alibis for the innocent and damning evidence for the guilty. Suspects are protected from the least reliable evidence, eyewitnesses that will identify anyone the cops bring forward as the perpetrator.
The real reason that the clearance rate is plummeting is that cops are getting much better at homicide investigation and using the new tools. Today it’s much easier to clear the innocent suspects with modern methods despite confessions. I don’t think that’s so bad after all. Chicago cops are doing a great job and should be proud.
Here are a couple of articles: Sun Times NBC5