CHICAGO -- The Chicago Police Department has solved fewer than one in six homicides in the first half of 2018, according to data obtained by USA TODAY.
According to the report, Chicago's homicide clearance rate -- the percent of cases in which police officers identify or arrest a suspect -- is 15.4 percent for the first six months of 2018, which is down from 17.1 percent in 2017. The clearance rate is on track to have its sixth consecutive year of decline, with other cities like Indianapolis and the nation as a whole facing similar declines. In 2016, the national homicide clearance rate dropped to 59.4 percent, the lowest it had been since 1965.
Top officials in the police department say the declining rate is because shooting victims in violent neighborhoods on the West and South Sides refuse to cooperate with police in order to maintain their reputation and have a chance at personal retaliation.
Deputy Chief Brendan Deenihan, head of the Chicago Police Department's detectives division, told USA TODAY that shooters and victims are often "interchangeable" and "just want to get even with the people who shot at them.”
Deenihan used the example of an August shooting on the West Side in which the suspect pulled into a gas station and dropped a gun behind a donut display. Though gas station employees reported what happened, Deenihan said the victim of the shooting refused to cooperate, allowing the police to only charge the suspect with unlawful use of a weapon. This lesser weapons charge carries much less prison time.
Though homicides are down approximately 19 percent compared to this point last year, Chicago is on pace to have over 500 killings in 2018.
Chicago police released the following statement to WGN:
"CPD takes the safety and security of every resident in every neighborhood seriously, and holding accountable those who violate the public’s trust. Officers and detectives alike strive every day to work together as part of the communities they serve to bring justice to victims. We encourage residents who may have any information about a crime to please contact CPD directly, or anonymously through TipSubmit or TXT2TIP."