Around half of all murders in the United States are now unsolved, with an uptick in unsolved cases occurring during the last seven months of 2020. The alarming statistic can be attributed to the “Defund the Police” movement made popular following the death of George Floyd in 2020.
According to CBS News, which performed the review of FBI statistics, the murder clearance rate has “fallen to its lowest point in more than half a century.”
“It’s a 50-50 coin flip,” said Thomas Hargrove, who runs the Murder Accountability Project, an organization that tracks unsolved murders nationwide. “It’s never been this bad. During the last seven months of 2020, most murders went unsolved. That’s never happened before in America.”
CBS News goes on to report that murders of white people are 50% more likely to be solved than those of black people. While some might be quick to blame “white privilege” for the disparity, the review of the issue dismisses any such connection.
Instead, the piece acknowledges that police investigators are finding it more difficult to receive cooperation from the public, which has become more distrustful of law enforcement since the widespread riots in 2020, when police were vilified by members of the press and left-wing politicians as being the enforcers of “white supremacy” and “systemic racism.”
The figure represents a massive decline in successful case rates from previous decades. In the 1960s and 70s, police reported solving around 7 out of every 10 murders. The figure has dropped to less than 5 out of 10 in 2020.
“Police are also contending with a breakdown in trust between their officers and the communities they serve, a result of decades of tensions that spilled over during high-profile cases of police misconduct in recent years,” CBS News reported.
Police forces around the country have also been slower to respond to murders in high-crime areas or issue patrols to these locations possibly due to the “Ferguson Effect,” which is the hypothesis that violent crime rates increase in a community due to reduced pro-active policing caused by the community’s distrust and hostility toward police.
CBS News reported:
Police are also contending with a breakdown in trust between their officers and the communities they serve, a result of decades of tensions that spilled over during high-profile cases of police misconduct in recent years.
That has made it harder for police to receive tips or obtain help from witnesses, said Danielle Outlaw, the commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. Outlaw told CBS News there is a history of "systemic inequities that contribute to the mistrust" in many communities most affected by crime.
"We've gotten in our own way," Outlaw said, referring to past episodes of police misconduct. "It has to be a two-way street, as it is with any relationship."