Only 50 percent of murders result in an arrest.
Those are the findings from analyses conducted by The Washington Post using homicide data collected for cities across America. In some neighborhoods, in fact, homicide arrest rates are much lower than 50 percent.
Other findings include the following:
- Arrest rates when the victim is Black or African American are lower than when the victim is White.
- In many cases, people know who the killer is, but witnesses won’t come forward because they fear retaliation or don’t trust law enforcement.
- Murder cases that remain unsolved for more than a year are unlikely to ever be solved.
The impacts of unsolved murder cases are devastating. For friends and family, there is fear, depression, frustration, prolonged grief, illness, and anger. But the impacts extend much further, affecting entire communities, often resulting in penetrating fear and increased violence.
Where are unsolved murders most prevalent in the United States? Who is bearing the burden of these unsolved homicides? Follow the workflow in the Examine racial inequities in unsolved murder cases Learn ArcGIS lesson to answer these questions. Then take time to really think about what this means:
- What factors play a role in whether a homicide is solved? Why?
- How are unsolved homicides impacting the communities where they occur? What are the broader impacts?
- What can be done? What actions can you take to promote social equity in your world?
As spatial analysts, we sometimes forget that our data—the numbers and rates and categories—reflects real people, real lives, and very real struggles. Take time to click the stories in the Learn ArcGIS lesson to get a glimpse at the faces behind the numbers.