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That's a lot of Cold Cases

By Timmy Watson in News on Feb 7, 2007 6:45PM

The Chicago Police Department showed a drop in the number of solved murders in the city in 2006. Down to 36% from 42% in 2005, the department attributes the drop to new guidelines that detectives must follow, which include taping interrogations and letting a witness know that they are free to leave.

The Calumet area is bringing up the rear with a clearance rate of 32%. The CPD is not planning to hire additional detectives in the area, but they are sending more officers with experience in cold cases and gang intelligence.

07_02_07_fugitive.jpgOur experience in the area is limited to The First 48, which is an enthralling- COPS ish -show that follows detectives on the 48 hours of a case. The significance of the first 48 hours is that statistics show the likelihood of solving a case after this time frame drops to 50%.

Other cities, including Los Angeles, took the approach of hiring many more detectives to increase their clearance rate. This was two years ago and the rate has since increased. It seems the City of Chicago is going the route of additional training for current detectives. It will also take note of the Northwest area of Grand and Central, where the clearance rate this past year was 49%. The Lieutenant attributes the high clearance to protection of the scene and evidence collection.

The lower clearance rate also comes at a time when the city, and the country, is experiencing an uptick in homicides. According to the FBI, the nation showed a 3.7% increase in violent crimes, which include murder, rape, robbery, and assault. Chicago actually showed a 3% decrease in violent crimes in general, but had an increase of 3.5% in murders.