RPD homicide clearance rate bests national average

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RICHMOND, VA -- Many things have changed since the 1960s, especially in the field of forensic science.

DNA and technology would seemingly make solving crimes easier, but it turns out, according to FBI  numbers, that presumption is not the case.

While the national police clearance rate for solving murders is around 64 percent, that number in the 1960s twas well over 90 percent.

"Clearance rate" is considered the number of cases in which police make an arrest.

But in Richmond, police are bucking the national trend.

"We can't boast in tragedy," Detective Mark Williams said.

Williams credits the department's version of the witness protection program as a reason the clearance rate is around 80%-90% of murder cases.

Nationwide police have been plagued by witnesses afraid of snitching on their neighbor.

"Thank god we do a good job of protecting our witnesses and relocating them," Williams said.

Of course, the RPD is aware that the city has some unsolved crimes.

Rosalyn Cousins lost her son Randy Scott in 2005. Scott's murderer was never caught.

"They don't know what it's like when a part of you is taken away," Cousins said.

NPR recently profiled the RPD in a national news article. They have established a link in which you can track murder clearance rates in your area. Click here for more.



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