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JHUstudent's avatar

(NSFW: Kinda...) Do you think more people get away with or get caught for murder?

Asked by JHUstudent (678 points ) August 14th, 2012

A friend and I were watching that First 48 show on A&E and he asked an interesting question that I wasn’t sure how to answer.

Do you think that more people commit murder (unlawful killing) and get away with it, or are they more likely to get caught?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

More likely to get caught. Even now the clearance rate is in the 60th percentile.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The good news in the US is that the homicide rate has been dropping in the past few decades. The bad news is that fewer are solved. Here is one reason why:

Nearly 185,000 killings went unsolved from 1980 to 2008.

Experts say that homicides are tougher to solve now because crimes of passion, where assailants are easier to identify, have been replaced by drug- and gang-related killings. Many police chiefs—especially in areas with rising numbers of unsolved crimes—blame a lack of witness cooperation.

The good news is that some police depts. seem to have found the key for solving more homicides.

In 2008, police solved 35 percent of the homicides in Chicago, 22 percent in New Orleans and 21 percent in Detroit. Yet authorities solved 75 percent of the killings in Philadelphia, 92 percent in Denver and 94 percent in San Diego.

“We’ve concluded that the major factor is the amount of resources police departments place on homicide clearances and the priority they give to homicide clearances,” said University of Maryland criminologist Charles Wellford, who led a landmark study into how police can improve their murder investigations.

There is more…Here’s the source.

Kardamom's avatar

I think more murders are comitted than there are people getting caught for comitting murders, hence the need for pictures of missing people on milk cartons.

ucme's avatar

I think the rare few who do escape the net never really get away with it, constantly looking over their shoulder & living with the knowledge of their crime, a virtual life sentence right there.

anartist's avatar

@marinelife but what about the many that get written up as natural causes, accident, and suicide? [Including or not including clandestine services hits.]

downtide's avatar

Without seeing statistics for unsolved cases, I would guess that more people get caught, but that there are still a sizeable proportion that don’t.

marinelife's avatar

@anartist How do you verify that?

anartist's avatar

@marinelife—I don’t but I’ll bet these unknowns would skew that clearance rate. I just think there is so much unknown that I would not feel that i knew the answer.

Just as a random recollection from a zillion years ago, someone from a company with apparently dubious dealings called E-Systems killed a man in a sleazy hotel somewhere. All evidence of this crime might have vanished in the night except the assassin accidently fired through the cheap walls and killed someone in the next room who was there with a spouse.

I still don’t know if the assassin was ever caught—but E-systems made the news.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@anartist Even if it is just a guess, it is likely to be true. I read and watch a fair amount of true crime stories. There are plenty of cases where people are considered runaways or having died from natural causes. Years later, evidence comes to light in a few of these cases that proves it was murder. When this happens, it would be interesting to know if the original statistics are modified. I doubt it.

Not all cases are ever solved though. They fade from the media coverage, if they ever even make it there.

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