Facts & Stats
According to the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC), there were 87,180 active missing person cases in the U.S. as of September 30, 2017. In addition, there were 8,589 active Unidentified persons entered into the national database, most deceased.
It is estimated there are at least 211,000 "unsolved homicides" in the United States, dating back to 1980.
That means, if you or someone you love becomes a victim of a murder, there is a 1 in 3 chance the murder will be solved.
This also means thousands of murderers remain on the street, free to prey upon others, while thousands of traumatized families await justice.
Despite the many advances in investigative techniques and DNA technology, Vernon Geberth, a retired NYPD Lieutenant and Commander of the Bronx Homicide Task Force points to the deterioration of relationships between law enforcement and the public.
“If there is a distrust of the police themselves and the system, all of these scientific advances are not going to help us,” says Geberth. "In addition, the standards for prosecuting a case are higher now."
We now live in a society where “telling on someone” is looked down upon. Being known as a "narc" or a "snitch" has never been a popular title. However, clearly, there exists a connection between gaining information from the public and solving cases.
Whether someone fears coming forward due to personal safety concerns or doesn't quite believe the information they have is relevant, fears to report a family member - or fears being known as a "rat" or "snitch," their conscience must lead the way. It doesn't make our communities any safer if we remain silent. What does count is doing the right thing and speaking out is the only right thing to do," says Missing Leads Director Kym Pasqualini.
It is common to hear law enforcement agencies to say they work on older, colder cases when they have time. Sadly, some cases end up in basements of law enforcement agencies, dust collecting faster than law enforcement’s ability to dig into their files.
It is no question law enforcement throughout the country is battling an often silent war on crime and lack important resources. With an estimated 5,000 new homicide cases landing on the desks of detectives each year, accumulating cold cases becomes more challenging to solve without the manpower.
However, according to David Carter, a criminologist at Michigan State University, “Getting results doesn’t have to cost more money,” says Carter. Through his studies, he has concluded, the most effective police departments have trusting relationships with their communities, communicate widely, to include great teamwork.
There are many factors that can be attributed to the rise in the number of unsolved homicides, but it is clear the public’s involvement in solving cases is essential - and as a society, we need to encourage the public to come forward. Someone knows . . .
For more information about crime reporting and statistics go to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting site.
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