Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony verdict a clue that number of convictions in murder cases across U.S. are dropping

More and more Americans are getting away with murder.

Nationwide, the rate at which homicides are solved has fallen from about 90% in the 1960s to below 65% in recent years, a Scripps Howard News Service study of FBI records has found.

In New York, where a homicide is "cleared" when detectives identify or arrest the culprit, the rate fell from over 92.5% in 1998 to around 60% a decade later, sources said.

And it's continuing to drop.

This may come as a shock to Americans raised on "Law & Order," where just about every murder case gets solved, often thanks to DNA and forensic science.

"We'd expect that with more police officers, more scientific tools likes DNA analysis and more computerized records, we'd be clearing more homicides now," Bill Hagmaier of the International Homicide Investigators Association told Scripps Howard.

But that's not the case, Hagmaier said.

More easily solved crimes of passion have been outpaced by drug- or gang-related killings, where witnesses are sometimes scarce, experts said.

Big city police departments like the NYPD have been stretched thin by a combination of terrorism concerns and tighter budgets.

That means there are fewer detectives to solve homicides, experts said.

Even some of the most notorious crimes go unsolved: the death of pageant princess JonBenet Ramsey and the disappearance of 4-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann.

To this day, the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman are considered unsolved because O.J. Simpson was acquitted.



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