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Crime Without Punishment: Detroit Homicide Clearance Rates Rise as National Rates Fall

(CBS Detroit) - According to the FBI and the Detroit Police Department, the homicide clearance rates have risen as the national average has fallen.

That's good news for Detroit, as this means the rate of homicide cases that have been solved has increased while the national rate has gone down.

Clearance rates are measured when the homicide case has been solved, and arrests have been made.

Nationwide the clearance rate has reached a 50-year low in the US; according to the FBI, homicide clearance rates fell to just over 50% in 2020, while Detroit's clearance rates rose to between 60 and 90%, depending on who you ask.

In a special project with the CBS News Investigative team and CBS Television Stations Group, the project took a look at the decline in homicide arrests nationwide.

Unlike the rest of the country, Detroit has seen a rise. Detroit Police Commander Michael McGinnis said, "I think that we do a better job now of engaging with empathy from our detective standpoint instead of just being another name, another number on the board, our detectives, become so engaged with the family that they bear the burden of the grief that they're suffering.

But high clearance rates aren't enough for Tonya Robinson, the mother of Seafred Robinson, who has been seeking justice since her son's death on October 16, 2016, on Detroit's west side.

"My community knows who did this, and they know who I'm talking to; they know they still not going to say anything to me," Robinson told CBS News Detroit.

When asked about the number of cases the city has not yet resolved, Detroit Police Chief James White responded, "some of these cases are multilayered, involve multiple people, and, you know, you just need cooperation at every level to get that answer, to get those answers."

Complete coverage of "Crime Without Punishment' from our CBS stations across the country and CBS News is available here.


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