Baltimore County Police have a 106% homicide clearance rate for 2016

How does Bmore Co close to many homicide cases?
Posted at 6:47 PM, Jan 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 06:49:52-05

Last year, 34 people were killed in Baltimore County.  Most of the homicides involved a gun, and 60 percent of the time the victim knew the suspect.           

But there's another number Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson wants you to know about.

"What we're seeing is a 106 percent case clearance rate for 2016," he said.

Johnson said of the 34 homicide cases for the year, 28 have been closed. Additionally, detectives cleared nine homicides that happened in previous years. The hard work is paying off at a rate far above the national average of 61.5 percent and departments nearby.

"That's achieved through the tenacity of great street officers who handle these calls initially and sometimes arrests are made at the scene,” Johnson said. “Then you have detectives who follow up a case, and these are great people who are very passionate about what they do."

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For decades, law enforcement agencies have had to deal with a growing "no snitching" culture, and that reluctance of potential witnesses can make it hard to identify suspects.         

The top cop says in the county people trust officers, and it goes a long way.

"We still have citizens that come and cooperate with us on these cases, to help us build these cases up, to come forward with information," said Johnson.

Crucial cooperation that county leaders say is a key part of the department's success.

"Police rely upon information to help solve crimes, in addition to technology, and when you don't have a particular DNA lead, you can then go to the community to get a better sense and then from there you can use forensic science to help clear the case," said Baltimore County executive Kevin Kamenetz.

But clearing a homicide case doesn't always equal a conviction.  A murder can be cleared even if a suspect isn't prosecuted and sentenced.

"A clearance rate for us is when we identify a suspect and bring that individual to the State's Attorney's Office," Johnson said.

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