HomeUSAAs more violent crimes go uncharged, criminals are getting away with murder

As more violent crimes go uncharged, criminals are getting away with murder

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It was a little more than two years ago that Cody Woodson was murdered in Richmond, Virginia while taking out the trash, and police have yet to make any arrest in his killing. Sadly, that’s becoming a more and more common outcome when it comes to homicides and non-fatal shootings over the past few years as clearance rate decline in many jurisdictions.

On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re taking a closer look at the issue and what can be done to ensure that violent killers aren’t able to get away with murders like the one that robbed family and friends of a kind and gentle soul, prompted by a recent story highlighting Philadelphia’s abysmally low rate of solving homicides and non-fatal shootings.

On April 25, inside a South Philly rowhouse, Ahmad Morales’ mother, Tamika, had memories of him everywhere; photos, a painting, and charms on a bracelet.

Tamika Morales planned to get a cake decorated the next morning — Ahmad would have turned 27 on April 26.

Ahmad was 24 years old when he was killed, shot multiple times by three shooters outside of a convenience store. There was no clear motive, and no one came forward with information.

Nearly three years later, Tamika Morales doesn’t have the answers she and her family need. If the shooting was captured on good quality video, if most of a license plate is visible, and if the car the shooters rode in was identified, why has no one been brought to justice?

The WHYY story is awfully short on answers, but does provide at least a rough idea of the scope of the problem.

A 2022 report by the City Controller showed the clearance rate for fatal shootings in Philadelphia was 36.7% in 2020, the year Ahmad was killed. That number was down from 41.4% in 2015. Nineteen percent of non-fatal shooting incidents in 2020 were cleared by the PPD, meaning about 1,500 non-fatal shootings that year went unsolved.

PPD statistics from the past year show slight improvements since 2020 — arrests were made in 48.8% of homicide cases, with gun violence homicides up to 43%.

A very slight improvement, given that more than half the time murderers are still getting away with their crimes in the city of Brotherly Love.

The best way to reduce violent crime is to ensure that there are consequences, and if most cases are going unsolved then violent and prolific offenders are going to be emboldened to commit more offenses. So what can be done to improve the clearance rates in cities like Philadelphia?

Improving police staffing levels is one crucial piece of the puzzle. I don’t think its a coincidence that as more departments around the country are seeing an exodus of officers, clearance rates are declining alongside the number of uniformed officers on the street. The head of Philly’s police union says the department is understaffed by at least 1,200 officers, which not only means fewer officers on the streets but fewer investigators and detectives responsible for closing these cases.

Another issue is a lack of cooperation by witnesses. Police have long had to deal with victims who refuse to cooperate with investigators because of their own criminal history or animosity towards law enforcement, but many witnesses who would be willing to cooperate are reluctant to do so because they fear retaliation. Witness protection programs have been anemically funded for years, but even when the money is there it can go unspent, as we’ve seen in Baltimore.

Warren Alperstein a former city prosecutor says the bureaucratic back and forth is failing those in Baltimore who could be helped with this money.

“It is unbelievable to me having been a former prosecutor in that office that we’re still having this problem. We have a crime rate and murder rate exploding getting worse, it’s not getting better and yet we still have civilian witnesses who don’t feel safe,” he said. “We can’t get them to court and this money is stuck in some pipeline because government agencies can’t get together and figure it out. It’s really just horrendous to think about.”

Fixing these problems may not be easy or inexpensive, but they’d have a much bigger impact on public safety than a ban on so-called “assault weapons”, adding more gun-free zones to public locations, or imposing storage requirements on law-abiding gun owners. There’s a way to bring down the violent crime rates in places like Philly, but there’s no will among Democratic politicians who would rather use violent crime to put ineffective and unconstitutional gun control laws on the books.

Read the full article here

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