Fewer people are getting away with murder in metro Atlanta than in other parts of the country, but about a third of this area’s killers still are walking free.
A review of law enforcement agencies in Atlanta, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties shows homicide clearance rates hovering between 65 percent and 77 percent last year, according to statistics obtained through open records law.
The national homicide clearance rate was 61 percent in 2007, the last year for which FBI data was available.
In Georgia, the ability to solve deadly crimes has changed little over the past few decades. The homicide clearance rate was 64 percent in 1985 and 63 percent in 2008, according to the FBI.
Nationally, though, more murders go unsolved now than in decades past. In 1963, the national homicide clearance rate was as high as 91 percent.
Drug crimes, robbery and gang involvement between unacquainted people have made many homicides difficult to solve, authorities said.
“We have cases where there’s no witnesses, there’s no suspects, and we don’t have a clue why this shooting or stabbing took place,” said Victor Pesaresi, who supervises the Gwinnett County Police Department’s Cold Case Squad.
Over the past five years, only one of 67 homicides in Gwinnett that were known to be domestic-related went unsolved. Yet close to half of the drug-, gang- and robbery-related homicides in Gwinnett over that same period were unsolved, Pesaresi said.
Advances in crime-solving technology such as DNA, digital fingerprint matching and ballistics testing aren’t always helpful in solving cold cases, said Sheryl McCollum, director of the Cold Case Investigative Reseach Institute at Bauder College in Atlanta.
While I have to give credit to Atlanta as a whole for having a higher than average Homicide Clearance Rate - the sad fact is that this rate does not stand once we get more granular.
The Vine City section of Atlanta (roughly near the Georgia Dome) has a clearance rate in the low 40's. This is totally unacceptable. The combination of intimidated witnesses and uninterested neighbors take away the most important tool that the police authorities need to function - THE HELP FROM OTHER HUMAN BEINGS in bringing the killers to justice.
It is my view that such a low closure rate amounts to a CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION. The key reason why this has not yet been the classification is because these are Black on Black murders. Thus the same type of venom seen against White on Black murders will not be registered.
The same systematic actions are in common between both of these situations. The main thing that is in common, however, is that A BLACK MAN LAYS DEAD ON THE STREET waiting for someone in the system to bring VALUE TO HIS LIFE by bringing justice to his killer.