For the past several years, the Chicago Police Department has solved an average of 50% of the city’s homicides per year.
But that number, known as a clearance rate, is even lower for Black victims.
That’s according to Live Free Chicago, whose report “Killed, Ignored, Never Forgotten: Chicago’s Unsolved Homicides” said this failure to solve homicides is itself a root cause of violence.
In 2021, there were 800 homicides counted. The clearance rate by prosecution was 21.7% in predominately Black neighborhoods, yet 45.6% in predominantly White neighborhoods. The study also found that since 2001, the rate of unsolved homicides for Black women is at 35% compared to 23% for White women.
Artinese Myrick, the lead Chicago organizer with Live Free Chicago, points to both a lack of trust between communities and law enforcement and a lack of care given to Black communities from law enforcement when dealing with homicides.
“Families impacted by gun violence — especially in the Black community — are at the intersection of being overpoliced and underprotected,” Myrick said.
Myrick said one solution is to have a “civilian infrastructure” — people who are from communities that are greatly impacted who are able to go in and handle evidence. They’d be able to provide care and some closure to families from the incident to prosecution, Myrick added.
The Chicago Police Department responded to the study in a statement that reads in part: “All homicides are thoroughly investigated as we work to seek justice for every single victim and their families. While these investigations can often take time based on the evidence available and the complexities of each case, our detectives remain committed to solving these cases and bringing a small measure of peace to the families who have lost loved ones.”
Myrick joined “Chicago Tonight” to discuss the report’s findings.