Crime Data Ranks Indiana as One of the Worst States at Solving Murder Cases
Before I start, let me say I know several police officers and consider a number of them friends. This article is not meant to be an indictment of their ability to do their job. As a matter of fact, I think very highly of anyone who is willing to put themselves in danger in order to protect another person, especially someone they don't even know which I imagine is the case for many officers when they answer a call from dispatch. No, the purpose of this article is to simply share information that shows when it comes to solving murder cases, Indiana has considerable room for improvement. But don't we all in some way?
Real-life crime isn't like an episode of Law & Order. Meaning cases don't get wrapped up with a nice bow on top in an hour. Most of the time, it takes months, and in some cases, years of investigation before a crime is solved, if it gets solved at all. Witnesses may not cooperate or tell the full story, evidence may not paint a clear picture of what happened or lead investigators to a suspect, there are a number of variables that make solving a case difficult.
Indiana Ranked 3rd to Last in Clearing Murder Cases
Project: Cold Case looked at data from 1965 to 2021 compiled by The Murder Accountability Project which uses information from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report to determine which states had the most success clearing murder cases. Police departments can consider a case cleared in one of two ways, according to the FBI. The first is by charging and arresting a suspect, and the other is by "exceptional means," which can be a variety of ways. For example, the suspect dies before being convicted.
According to the data, the state of Wyoming is the best with an 85% clearance rate. On the flip side, Indiana is one of the worst with a 58% clearance rate. The only states worse are Michigan with a 54% rate and Illinois at 35%.
I think it's important to note that population size and basic math play a big role in these numbers. The states with the highest percentage of clearances are also some of the least populated and have the fewest number of cases with the time span of data. For example, Project: Cold Case shows Wyoming with 1,006 murder cases during that time frame with only 150 of them unsolved. Indiana, on the other hand, had 18,437 during that same time with 7,769 considered unsolved. I'm not saying that should excuse the state, but it should be considered a factor in how the numbers are perceived.
Again, there are many factors that come into play during a murder investigation, and I'd like to believe investigators with the various law enforcement agencies around the state are doing the best they can with what they have available to bring offenders to justice and closure to the families of the victims.
You can see the complete study on the Project: Cold Case website.