Getting away with murder in the U.S.? It may be easier than you think

May 21, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

If you are planning to commit a murder (don’t do it!) in America and you’re a bit clever and a bit lucky, you have a pretty good shot at getting away with it.

That’s the conclusion you are led to when you read the Murder Accountability Project’s “Why We Exist” page, which begins this way:

America does a poor job tracking and accounting for its unsolved homicides. Every year, at least 5,000 killers get away with murder. The rate at which police clear homicides through arrest has declined over the years until, today, about a third go unsolved.

As a result, more than 256,000 Americans have perished in unsolved homicides committed since 1980 —  more than the combined death toll of all U.S. military actions since World War II. In fact, total U.S. military fatalities during the eight-year invasion and occupation of Iraq were less than a single year of civilian losses from unsolved domestic homicides. Source: Murder Accountability Project: Why We Exist

The Murder Accountability Project is the brainchild of Tom Hargrove, a retired award-winning journalist (someone I knew in Alabama many years ago) who realized several years ago that the U.S., with its many legal districts and jurisdictions, has no good means of tracking the overall number of homicides or their follow-up investigations.

Consequently, if we ask,”How does the police force where I live stack up against the force in other communities in clearing homicides?”, there is no good answer.

This website is a fascinating and unique view of homicides in the United States and is well worth a close look by those who are interested in this topic. Check out the Murder Accountability Project.

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