Murder Clearance Rates Plummet Amid Lack of Respect for Police Officers and Increase in Stranger Killings

Increased unsolved murder rates in the United States have been attributed to a lack of respect for police officers and more killings by strangers, according to retired law enforcement officials. These factors have contributed to a decrease in the homicide clearance rate to 50 percent in 2022 from 83.7 percent in 1964, according to a report by the independent Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ).

Former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker noted that the rise in homicides coincides with cuts to law enforcement resources and diminishing respect for police officers. He also pointed out that advancements in forensic technology have not led to an increased solve rate, in contrast to expectations.

The decline in the murder clearance rate has also been linked to a decrease in cooperation with investigators, especially in cases involving strangers. Donald Tubman, a retired private detective from the Rochester Police Department, highlighted that the decline in witness cooperation is directly related to the lack of respect for police officers and a shift in behavior among young individuals.

The report also found that Black men were eight times more likely than white men to be murdered, and Black women were four times more likely than white women to be murdered in 2020-2021. Ernesto Lopez, a CCJ research specialist, emphasized that increased police response times and declines in public trust in police may also contribute to lower clearance rates.

Overall, the report highlights the challenges law enforcement faces in solving murders, including a lack of cooperation, decreased trust in police, and unclear circumstances surrounding homicides. The decline in solve rates presents a significant issue for the justice system, as it indicates a decrease in police effectiveness and overall public trust in law enforcement.