By Reagan Reese
The United States is on its way to becoming the first developed country where most murders go unsolved, according to a Murder Accountability Project report.
Despite solving more murders in any year since 1997, solved homicide cases dropped to below 50% in 2020, the lowest recorded level, according to a Thomas Hargrove, founder of the Murder Accountability Project, report drawn from FBI data. In 1980, 71% of homicide cases were solved.
“Do we have to go to the status of most murders going unsolved? No, we don’t but the trend line certainly suggests we might,” Hargrove told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The truth is that we’re already there in dozens and dozens of major cities. It’s plain and simple that in many major American urban areas, most murders go unsolved and have done so for several years now.”
In 2019, 77% of homicides were solved in the Netherlands while 98% were solved in Finland, according to European Journal of Criminology report. Canada had a 75% success rate in solving murders, and Germany’s success rate ranged from 88% to 94%.
The cities with the most homicides in 2020 included Detroit, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to the report. Most of the homicide cases in 202o and 2021 involved guns.
The increase in unsolved murders comes as police department budgets suffered amid a push to “defund the police” following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the report stated.
“We believe that the issue is the lack of resources that police departments have been on a slow starvation diet over the last 50 years because major cities are becoming increasingly broken relative to the demand for services they have,” Hargrove told the DNCF. “Number two is that there is a growing disconnect between police and the communities that they serve, especially in African American communities. And that lack of cooperation and trust or belief that leads are legitimate is a very real impediment to clearing major crimes like homicide.”
Amid the increase in unsolved homicide cases, police departments are citing a shortage in experienced officers, according to the report. Officers prefer to try to solve homicide cases using methods such as DNA testing and cell phone tower data, despite it being unsuccessful.
“We are underfunding police and have been our whole lives,” Hargrove told the DCNF.
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