Killers weren’t arrested in more than half of the murders committed in the nation’s capital in 2021, according to one analysis – a figure that could worsen without major changes, given the nature of how homicides are solved, criminologists told Fox News Digital.
The main reason so few murder suspects were arrested is because of how far trust in the police dropped in the fallout after an officer killed George Floyd in May 2020, the criminologists said. Witnesses, as a result, became less willing to cooperate with detectives.
“If people are less confident in the police, want to have less contact with the police, they’re not going to be as cooperative,” a University of Missouri-St. Louis criminology professor, Richard Rosenfeld, told Fox News Digital. “The police therefore lose that valuable form of assistance as they’re trying to solve homicides.”
“The police can’t clear crimes on their own,” Rosenfeld continued. “Those of us who happened to witness the event are key ingredients in the ability of the police to clear a homicide or any other serious crime with an arrest.”
Rosenfeld and other criminologists described vicious cycles that can form. Essentially, a decrease in police trust can cause homicides to rise and arrests to fall, which further harms police trust.
Murder cases were closed in 42% of Washington, D.C.,’s homicides in 2021, meaning police found murder suspects in about two out of every five murders, according to data compiled and analyzed by D.C. Witness, a nonprofit that tracks murders in the nation’s capital.