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Chicago Cops Get Guidance on Clearing More Murders

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Looking to lift its lamentably low rate of solved homicides, the Chicago Police Department will take up recommendations from a Washington, D.C., consultancy that call for adding detectives and updating the department’s outdated methods. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, the CPD stands to solve more murders if it creates a dedicated homicide bureau, improves case supervision and keeps better tabs on non-fatal shootings in order to curb retaliation. Improvements in detective selection, overall police training and the handling of cold cases are among the broad-brush directives in the 116-page report. It comes on the heels of a strategic action plan the CPD launched in January.

The clearance rate hasn’t touched 50 percent in five years and dipped to below 30 percent in 2016, when cops in solved 224 of the 778 murders in the city. The rate of closed cases improved to 45 percent last year, but that is still well below the national average, the report said. Detectives comprise less than 10 percent of the more than 13,000 officers employed by the city. The report notes that cops aren’t fully to blame for the low rate of solved cases because murder charges in Chicago only can be brought by the Cook County State’s Attorney, which also is examining its methods in order to better serve residents.