Murder with impunity: Where killings go unsolved
June 6, 2018 7:59 AM   Subscribe

 
Without reading the article first… I'm going to go way out on a limb here and guess that maybe they're areas with lots of poor people, and especially poor people of color. Do I win a prize?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:05 AM on June 6, 2018 [18 favorites]


And on reading:

Almost all of the low-arrest zones are home primarily to low-income black residents.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:08 AM on June 6, 2018 [23 favorites]


Unsolved homicides are the second worst possibility, framing the easiest target is the worst.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:08 AM on June 6, 2018 [23 favorites]


Retaliation is a real fear. Henry Nunn Sr., 63, was killed in 2015 after he testified in court about a shooting he witnessed. Police note that in December, a local gang posted a YouTube video titled “Ain’t no tellin,” filmed at a cemetery. In it, gang members act out a scene in which a young man is bound, doused in gasoline and set on fire — presumably for cooperating with police.

Just this. If you testify can you afford to move your entire extended family across the country to escape retribution? Can you afford to take a day off work to sit in court?
posted by sammyo at 8:11 AM on June 6, 2018 [12 favorites]


They also mention that police have trouble getting witnesses to cooperate in areas where people distrust them. It sounds like a catch-22 as a lack of arrests does increase distrust, but that's not exactly the only thing that makes people in low-income, primarily-Black neighborhoods distrust police. Maybe if police stopped harrassing, assaulting, and fucking murdering Black people on quite such a regular basis, it might help increase trust?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:14 AM on June 6, 2018 [42 favorites]


Oh, and of course the rate of arrests in cases where the victims are Latinx is almost as low as when the victims are Black. I can't imagine why, in our current political climate, Latinx people might be a little hesitant to work with law enforcement.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:16 AM on June 6, 2018 [6 favorites]


Are there enough samples to do this kind of statistics?

I'm trying to make sense of the San Francisco map and can't really. Like yeah, the Bayview has a low arrest rate, that fits the expectation that poor / minority neighborhoods have bad policing. But then why does the section on the Bayview / Candlestick border to the south have high arrests? It's the same demographics. Why does Excelsior / Mission Terrace show up as high policing? And nearly no trend at all out in the western half of the city? That seems unlikely.

I'm wondering if some of these regions had < 5 murders in their data set. At that scale you can't do statistics, it's anecdotes. You can't meaningfully say things like say "25% of those murders resulted in arrests".
posted by Nelson at 8:31 AM on June 6, 2018 [6 favorites]


Yep, they need an epidemiologist consult, because this is a crude attempt at identifying 'disease' clusters.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:38 AM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Folks, unless you're black yourself, please leave off the bleak ironic-racism jokes about how black lives don't matter; taken together they add up to a weird gross atmosphere.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:42 AM on June 6, 2018 [24 favorites]


Needs a ghettoside tag.
posted by TedW at 9:00 AM on June 6, 2018


Unsolved homicides are the second worst possibility, framing the easiest target is the worst.

If you do both at the same time you then get to blame the community mistrust for you being bad at your job.

Chicago has 74% unsolved rate so it is extremely likely there are many serial killers on the streets and several thousand murderers.

We deserve better police.
posted by srboisvert at 9:25 AM on June 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


Hey, Bob, good news! I finally got that money I owe you so you can stop bitching about it all the time. I'll pay you back today. Meet me at 10th and Medford in Indianapolis.

What? Why there?

Oh, no reason.
posted by Naberius at 9:31 AM on June 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


Is there any kind of witness protection for people who testify against gangs? It sounds like beyond the systematic oppression from the cops (which undoubtedly lowers the cooperation rate for all crimes), there is a significant fear of reprisal. If there was a witness protection for those who testify, there would be much more cooperation. (Witness protection including things like helping people get employment and housing, not just housing them in a hotel for a month or two, but getting them actually set up in another community.)
posted by Hactar at 9:33 AM on June 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


Weird that when I google map 10th and Medford, one house on the corner has been blurred out...

What's up with that?
posted by Windopaene at 9:48 AM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


Oh, no reason.
posted by Naberius at 9:50 AM on June 6, 2018 [7 favorites]


Weird that when I google map 10th and Medford, one house on the corner has been blurred out...

Weird. It's still visible in 3D map mode. There are holes in the roof.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:54 AM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


For the record, murder rates are way down in major cities over the past 25 years and way down in the U.S. in general, lest some think the take home point is urban (those people) equals violent.
Some of the analyses I've done of the numbers.

The Low Degree of Violence in U.S. - Mexican Border Cities

Violent Crime Rates: New York City Versus New York State
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:46 AM on June 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm intrigued by the data for Richmond. Not only is the arrest rate high across the board, some of the high arrest areas include areas like Gilpin Court, probably the largest low-income housing zone in the city. Perhaps because our police chief is so engaged in the community
posted by Lame_username at 12:25 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]




The Post has mapped more than 52,000 homicides in major American cities over the past decade...

I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea that there were 52,000 homicides in only ten years. 5,200 killings a year. Where else in the world (that isn't an actual war zone) even comes close to such carnage?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:17 PM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


According to this list, the U.S. ranks 94th in intentional homicide rate. So, Lithuania, Paraguay, Botswana, Greenland...we're well ahead of most of the Western European nations, though.
posted by praemunire at 1:30 PM on June 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


In 2012 and 2013 the Indianapolis police solved about 70% of of their homicide cases, in 2017 it was 40%, with the decrease inversely related to the increase in homicides. I don't think anyone really has a concrete answer as to why the solve rate is going down and the murder rate is going up. I don't think community relations between minority communities and IMPD has gotten better or worse since 2012 - they have been killing black people for a hundred+ years. The city has generally gotten poorer over that time period.

Two local stories on the trend:
2018 IndyStar story
2015 Fox59 story

You can request that Google blur your house in StreetView, which is probably what happened at the house at 10th and Medford. Looking at permits it seems to have just been renovated and the owner paid off a delinquent tax bill, so good news for that block.
posted by ChrisHartley at 2:11 PM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


The raw data from their open records requests are available on github in csv form . I loaded the data into a database to look things over, the Indianapolis numbers are pretty shocking:

Year Outcome Count Total Percentage
2007 Open/No arrest 37 113 32.74%
2008 Open/No arrest 26 114 22.81%
2009 Open/No arrest 26 99 26.26%
2010 Open/No arrest 28 92 30.43%
2011 Open/No arrest 40 96 41.67%
2012 Open/No arrest 28 96 29.17%
2013 Open/No arrest 37 125 29.60%
2014 Open/No arrest 50 138 36.23%
2015 Open/No arrest 49 144 34.03%
2016 Open/No arrest 87 150 58.00%
2017 Open/No arrest 84 155 54.19%

Between 2007 and 2017 the open/no arrest rate went up 65% while the number of murders went up 37%. Just between 2015 and 2016 it went up 70%. Did the cops just stop doing their jobs?
posted by ChrisHartley at 4:34 PM on June 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


Just between 2015 and 2016 it went up 70%. Did the cops just stop doing their jobs?

In Chicago they even stopped issuing speeding tickets FFS. Ever since Black Lives Matter cops have been working to rule.
posted by srboisvert at 4:45 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


Forget it...it’s China Town.

This is, of course, also how our public schools work. We need to make public actually PUBLIC in this country. Hopefully, that’ll start with un-gerrymandering and re-enfranchisement. But there’s no reason any of us already living ‘somewhere nice’ can’t start voting like we care about our neighbors.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:11 PM on June 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


It makes sense that people worry about retaliation when they decide whether to witness or not. I remember when a classmate of mine was murdered, in high school, that people knew who had done it. But the girl who was willing to talk to the police, if they could keep her identity from being trumpeted about, felt that the police were so careless that she stopped talking to them. His murder is still unsolved and the last published thing about it suggests that it will remain unsolved because it was probably a stranger who did it. (According to school rumor, it was not a stranger.) The police know who was talking (briefly) and could have solved this if they could have kept their witness safe. It's been twenty years.

It feels like not much has changed, but according to the stats, it's gotten worse.
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:22 PM on June 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


Milwaukee was somewhat surprising. The low-arrest area is not known for being particularly dangerous (or heavily black compared to other areas; it's adjacent to a mostly-white suburb). I was also surprised to see that the city is far above average in its arrest rate.

(Also interesting: there has only been one murder within a mile of my house since 2008, and I'd bet my hat it's a domestic. Yet I'm always quoted high rates for insurance because my neighborhood is "dangerous.")
posted by AFABulous at 9:12 AM on June 7, 2018


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