Decline in Murder Clearance Rate Linked to Lack of Respect for Police and Rise in Killings by Strangers, Report Shows

Seattle, Washington – The rate of unsolved murders in America has seen a significant increase, according to a report released on December 19 by the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ). The report shows that the homicide “clearance,” or solve rate, has dropped steadily from 83.7 percent in 1964 to 50 percent in 2022.

Retired law enforcement officials attribute this decline to a variety of factors, including a lack of respect for police officers, a weakening relationship between the police and the public, more murders being committed by strangers, and slower police response rates.

Chris Swecker, a former FBI assistant director, highlighted the rise in homicides at a time when law enforcement resources are being reduced, leading to less cooperation from the public in providing information to investigators. He also noted the decline in the murder clearance rate despite significant advancements in forensic technology.

The report also found that an increase in murders by strangers is likely making detection more difficult. Donald Tubman, a retired private detective, stated that a decline in respect for police officers has made it more challenging to solve murder cases.

Furthermore, the CCJ report revealed a troubling statistic, showing that black men were eight times more likely and black women four times more likely to be murdered than their white counterparts in 2020-2021. Additionally, the share of homicides with an “unknown” circumstance doubled from 22 percent in 1985 to 43 percent in 2022.

The report’s findings underscore the complex challenges facing law enforcement in solving murders, from declining public cooperation to increased homicides by strangers. As a result, the implications for the justice system are significant, with potential negative impacts on police effectiveness and community trust.