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    bird1's Avatar
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    36% of 2006 Homicides Solved

    Police Solve Only 36 Percent Of 2006 Homicides
    Interrogation Requirements, Detective Turnover Contribute To Slump

    POSTED: 9:01 am CST February 7, 2007
    UPDATED: 10:56 am CST February 7, 2007

    CHICAGO -- The percentage of homicides solved by Chicago police fell for a second straight year in 2006 -- in part because of changes in how detectives investigate slayings, officials said Tuesday.

    The department cleared 36 percent of the homicides committed last year, compared with 42 percent in 2005 and 47 percent in 2004.

    Detectives are dealing with a 2005 state law that required them to start videotaping interrogations.


    Now detectives have to factor how a videotaped interrogation will play to a jury, Chief of Detectives Maria Maher said. Yelling at a suspect who's caught in a lie -- while allowed -- might not look good to a jury, she said. To prepare, detectives have been doing mock interrogations, Maher said.

    Some detectives say another 2005 policy that requires detectives to tell witnesses they have the right to leave the police station hampers investigations even more.

    Officials also noted that many of the department's 1,100 detectives have fewer than 10 years’ experience, and there is a high turnover in some of the busiest areas of the city.

    Other cities have also struggled to solve killings. Boston is hiring more detectives to improve on a 38 percent homicide clearance rate for 2006. Two years ago, Los Angeles nearly doubled the number of homicide detectives in South Los Angeles and improved the homicide clearance rate there.

    While there are no plans to hire additional detectives in Chicago, Maher is sending cold case and gang intelligence officers to the Far South Side to help in the Calumet Area, which has the lowest clearance rate at 32 percent.

    The Grand-Central Area on the Northwest Side -- an area where homicides are dropping -- posted the city’s highest clearance rate at 49 percent.

    Grand-Central Lt. Mark Hawkins said clearing a murder takes good work from the first officers arriving who have to protect a scene all the way up to the detectives who process evidence and do the interrogations.

    At least one seasoned detective pointed out that the citywide clearance rate for one year doesn’t reflect the total number of homicides officers are solving. Throughout all of 2006, 88 cases from prior years were solved, too.



    Copyright 2006, Chicago Sun-Times Inc.
    " The hardest thing about disarming an armed suspect is not slipping on your own shit "

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    Pedro56's Avatar
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    King Dick is to busy spending money on trying to let felons become aldermen, putting flower pots in the middle of streets, and other bullshit than to hire more of us "uneccessary" police people things.
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