Richmond Has Lower Homicide Rate, But Many Cases Unsolved

Although Richmond finished 2013 with the lowest number of homicides in years,  the numbers might be skewed because a number of cases still remain unsolved.

The Contra Costa Times reported the total number of killings in Richmond this year ended at 16, and only four were cleared.

The lack of cases solved is likely attributed, in part, to witnesses being hesitant to cooperate with police, Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

"It's difficult for us to try and solve these cases without the public's help," Abetkov said.

Still, the  number of homicides has been declining, which came shortly after Chief Chris Magnus started his position in 2006. According to FBI statistics, Richmond had 42 recorded homicides in 2006, making it the ninth most dangerous city per capita in the United States.

Throughout the past four years police worked hard, and found more effective ways to solve homicides. Lt. Andre Hill told the newspaper that the department's community-policing efforts have made a huge impact.

After a 31 percent increase from 2006, three years later, between 2009 to2012, half of the city's homicides were cleared.

As of Friday, 12 cases are still unsolved, and police are asking for help.

Abetkov told the paper, "We understand people's reluctance to come forward because of fear of retaliation and being labeled a snitch, but we do everything in our power to protect them."


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