Lack of police resources leads to lowest ever solved murder rate: report

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In the United States, police were only able to solve 54% of murder cases in 2020, a problem that can be attributed to shortages of officers amid the pandemic and widespread anti-police protests in favor of black people. Lives Matter.

« The National Police and Sheriff’s Departments were overstretched and understaffed in 2020 to meet the growing demand for their investigative services, » reads a report from the Murder Accountability Project, which analyzed the latest data. from the FBI. « Challenges for law enforcement have been further complicated by the COVID pandemic, public outrage over the suffocation killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, and widespread protests in name of the Black Lives Matter movement. »

The 2020 drop in “case clearance rates,” the rate of homicides that result in the arrest of the offender, was the largest one-year drop since the FBI began tracking the metric in 1965. It represented also the worst case clearance rate over the same period, dropping from a high of over 90% in 1965 to a new low of 54% in 2020.

The drop in the solve rate comes at the same time that the United States has seen an increase in violent crimes and murders, with the 30% increase in homicides in 2020 also being the largest single-year increase ever.


Demonstrators hold a sign that reads ‘Defund the police’ during a protest against the death of black man Daniel Prude after police put a balaclava on his head during an arrest on March 23, in Rochester, New York, USA, September 6. 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

The bulk of unsolved murders occurred in 130 major cities whose jurisdictions recorded at least 10 homicides in 2020, with these cities recording a murder rate more than three times the national average with nearly 23 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

Murder Accountability Project chairman Thomas Hargrove said much of the problem stems from a lack of elected support for police departments, saying many local departments were not receiving enough resources to do their jobs at the amid the spike in homicides.


“The main causes of the decline in solve rates are the failure to give the necessary resources to local police and the lack of political will of local elected officials to make the investigation of major crimes a priority,” Hargrove told about the organization’s findings. « When leaders make solving major crimes a priority, solve rates typically improve and lives are saved. »


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