The National Capital Police Department has hidden information about its homicide detectives, which criminologists believe could signal if the city’s murder clearance rate will continue to decline.
According to criminologists, details such as detectives’ expertise level and caseloads are important determinants in a police agency’s closure rate. Bureaucrats at the Metropolitan Police Department, on the other hand, declined to disclose information on the department’s detective staffing.
According to the FBI, homicides climbed by 30% nationally in 2020 compared to the previous year. Several big cities established homicide records or experienced their greatest levels in decades last year. In 2021, for example, there were 226 homicides in Washington, D.C., the most since 2003.
According to the spokesperson’s Dec. 21 email, nine MPD murder detectives retired between 2019 and 2021. It’s unclear if that figure includes departures for reasons other than retirement or transfer.
The MPD refused to say how many detectives were hired during that time.
In a Dec. 21 email, MPD supplied data showing that sworn hiring surpassed resignations across the department. Despite this, the mayor’s administration had accidentally published an announcement 11 days prior stating that MPD now had around 3,550 officers, the lowest number in more than two decades.
If homicide units encounter similar attrition problems, catching killers may become increasingly difficult.
According to Peter Scharf, a criminologist at Louisiana State University School of Public Health, the remaining detectives have more work and fewer resources.
Higher caseloads result from fewer detectives, and replacements may be less experienced or unfamiliar with the neighborhood, according to criminologists.
He emphasized that the department intends to hire policemen from the neighborhood, which, according to criminologists, may be an effective approach for cops to create relationships with residents and, as a result, prevent and stop crime.