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The police departments in predominantly African-American cities have a mixed record when it comes to solving murders. While Chicago’s shockingly high homicide rate has decreased in recent months, an astonishing 74 percent of murders go unsolved in the Windy City, according to research conducted by the Washington Post.

See Also: Has Chicago Turned The Corner On Its High Homicide Rate?

An interactive, searchable tool mapped out more than 52,000 homicides in major cities over the past decade, revealing the “pockets of impunity” where investigators still have not arrested killers. The Post’s research method involved the selection of 50 police departments based on the size of the city they serve and their violent crime reported to the FBI. Most of the departments gave the newspaper a decade’s worth of information.

Overall, the 50 cities had a 49 percent arrest rate. Investigators, however, made arrests less than 33 percent of the times in the areas where killers appear, by-and-large, to get away with murder. And although the nation has been trending toward historic decreases in violence, the homicide arrest rate is now lower in 34 of the 50 cities than it was 10 years ago.

Here’s a look at the percentage of unsolved murders in the eight predominantly African-American cities included in the study:


973 murders tracked, 38 percent unsolved


2,827 murders tracked, 65 percent unsolved

District of Columbia

1,345 murders tracked, 44 percent unsolved


2,519 murders tracked, 59 percent unsolved


1,514 murders tracked, 32 percent unsolved

New Orleans

1,434 murders tracked, 65 percent unsolved 

St. Louis

1,677 murders tracked, 54 percent unsolved


246 murders tracked, 47 percent unsolved

Police departments typically blame their failure to solve more homicides on several factors, including a lack of resources and broken relationships in high crime communities that don’t trust the police, according to the Post.

“If these cases go unsolved, it has the potential to send the message to our community that we don’t care,” Oakland police Capt. Roland Holmgren told the Post.

Indeed, the families of murder victims (as well as some officers) blamed the failure to solve murder cases on apathetic police departments.


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