In 2013, the Chicago Police Department did a better job of catching killers.
A retooled homicide detective division flush with 72 newly promoted investigators assigned to probe shootings brought charges in or cleared 30 percent of murders in Chicago last year, according to police data obtained by DNAinfo Chicago.
Detectives cleared 126 of the 415 murders tallied in the city last year— the Police Department’s best murder-solve rate in a single year since 2009, the data show.
That’s a 5 percentage point improvement from 2012, when the department solved only 25 percent of 506 murders, the lowest clearance rate in 21 years.
Detectives also cleared an additional 106 cold case murders that occurred in previous years. That’s 46 more solved cold case homicides than 2012, police data show.
Not all of those solved murders, however, led to someone getting charged. Some cases are “cleared exceptionally” because murder suspects identified by investigators are dead, or prosecutors declined to bring charges for a variety of reasons, including witnesses refusing to testify.
Police exceptionally cleared 12 homicides — nearly 10 percent of solved cases — that occurred last year. Nearly half of the cold cases — 52 of 106 — were considered solved exceptionally without bringing charges, according to police data.
Deputy Chief of Detectives Anthony Riccio said the first new class of detectives promoted in five years and increased cooperation from witnesses helped the Police Department’s “team approach” to investigating homicides really hit its stride in 2013.
“We did do better. … With the teams we don’t just have two guys assigned to a case. There’s a sergeant and eight to 10 detectives. So cases never sit; they’re constantly worked on,” he said. “And there’s closer supervision of the cases. Sergeants are far more engaged with investigations.”
Last year, Riccio and his team even started holding homicide investigation team leaders accountable by conducting regular reviews of ongoing investigations. It’s similar to Supt. Garry McCarthy’s Compstat meetings with district commanders to review crime trends and make adjustments when needed.
Source: DNA Info | Mark Konkol