CHICAGO — If you kill someone in the city of Chicago, you have a better than fifty percent chance of getting away with it.
Experts say a key reason is a lack of cooperation, either because people distrust the police or because they’re afraid to speak out. Either way, Chicago police clear fewer homicides than departments in other big cities.
Take the March 2019 murder of 25-year-old Terry Green Jr., shot and killed outside a West Side fast-food joint. Cell phone video shows there were numerous witnesses. And Green even told police the name of his killer before he died.
But no one has been charged because police say no one will testify.
“Well, a lot of these people, Terry actually knew them,” Green’s father tells WGN Investigates. “For them not to come forward and not give up any information to help his solve his murder is like a slap in the face to him.”
Those in the know say it’s a common problem.
“Witnesses definitely don’t feel safe or protected,” says Eugene Roy, a former Chicago police official. “There may be an amount of short-term protection, getting them to and from [a court date], but over the long term… it’s going to be gone. It isn’t there.”
The Cook County state’s attorney relocates roughly 50-100 families a year to protect them, in exchange for cooperation. The office would like to help more but can’t.
“I think the fact of the matter is we’re woefully lacking the resources that we need to be able to protect people,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said.
She plans to ask state lawmakers for additional funding to help protect witnesses.
In the meantime, the Green family clings to the hope that someone there that night will come forward. Cook County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Green’s killing. The number to call is (800) 535-STOP.