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Six Reasons the Murder Clearance Rate Is at an All-Time Low

The Atlantic: “American violence is resurgent. Gun murders rose to their highest figure on record in 2020, the last year for which we have complete data. While violent crime is rising, America’s police departments are struggling more than ever to bring the perpetrators to justice. In the 1960s, more than 90 percent of all homicides were “cleared” by police, with an arrest or the identification of a dead suspect. But the clearance rate has declined in each of the past six decades. In the most recent data available from the FBI, the clearance rate hit an all-time low of just over 50 percent….In the 1960s, about 50 percent of murders were committed with guns. Today, almost 80 percent of murders are committed with guns. And the share of murders committed by firearms has crept up at a nearly identical rate to the steady decline of murder clearances. Correlation does not equal causation, but if you plot the two together, you see a very strong correlation in the last 40 years…”

It’s the guns. The nature of murder in America is changing in ways that we don’t really talk about enough. You’ve got a bunch of cities where firearms make up 80 to 90 percent of murders today. That is the main driver. Guns make murders much harder to solve, and it leads to lower clearance rates everywhere.”…

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