Normally, when a particular area of the city shows an increase in crime, the NYPD sends in reinforcements. The fastest growing category of crime in New York is unsolved crimes.
When talking to law enforcement, I always ask, “Why do you think clearance rates for murder are going down?” I’ve got my theories, which I’ve posted. But I’m not in the thick of it every day. One reason I hear a lot is, “The best guys are retiring.” It used to be that detectives would stick around for a while, and younger detectives would learn from them. Now, I’m told, more and more guys are leaving earlier and earlier and you don’t have the range of experience in the squads.
Why are they leaving? Is there no incentive for them to stay? If you’re in law enforcement and have answers for these questions, I’d love to hear from you. Please email me.
It’s stating the obvious, but: solving murder is hard. And solving murder cases that have gone cold is the hardest of all. If these cases were easy they would have been solved already. When a detective picks up a cold case, chances are there’s little physical evidence. If it’s going to be solved at all it’s going to come down to patience, trying something no one has tried before which again, means experience, and a unique set of people skills, which also takes time to acquire. It takes time to learn what works and what doesn’t, and how to find people who don’t want to be found and then get them to talk 5, 10 or 20 years after a crime.
We need the best detectives to stick around, and the best detectives should be working on the cases that are the hardest to solve: the cold cases.