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Baltimore tops the list of unsolved murders. Photo supplied

Getting away with murder: Where do US murders go unsolved?

Fifty of America’s largest cities where violent crime is widespread has been identified, but despite that, the vast majority of murders are never solved and no arrests are made.

Published: June 9, 2018, 10:19 am

    By closely examining up to a decade of murder arrest data from America’s largest cities, The Washington Post provided an in-depth analysis of 52 000 unsolved murder cases. Black neighbourhoods, according to the maps, tend to have the most unsolved murders.

    According to the report, the overall murder arrest rate in the 50 cities is 49 percent, but in some areas where violent crime is out of control, only 33 percent have been recorded. Seventeen out of 50 cities from The Post’s list that are in serious trouble.

    In Indianapolis, only 64 of the 155 murders in 2017 resulted in an arrest. The city has four no-go zones with a high concentration of violent crime and unsolved murders in black areas.

    The Post also noted that the alarming low-arrest rate was occurring in black-dominated cities such as Baltimore and Chicago. Law enforcement agencies solve very few murders in areas “stretching for miles…with virtually no arrests”.

    This is due “especially in areas that grapple with drug and gang activity where potential witnesses fear retaliation,” said The Post.

    Families of those killed, overwhelmingly blame the police for not being more present.

    “If these cases go unsolved, it has the potential to send the message to our community that we don’t care,” said Oakland police Captain Roland Holmgren, who leads the department’s criminal investigation division. That city has two no-go zones where unsolved murders are clustered.

    But Charles Wellford, a University of Maryland criminologist, said “some types of homicide — gang violence, drive-by shootings, stranger-on-stranger killings — can be especially challenging to solve”.

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