What sounds like a bad joke about Oakland's struggling police force is actually the headline to an investigative report by the East Bay Express this week. In the Express' cover story, reporter Ali Winston takes a hard look at the department's data and finds that Oakland's sky-high homicide rate, which has been over 100 for four of the past five years and has already hit 108 in 2012, won't get any lower until they actually start solving some crimes:
...perhaps the most telling statistic is OPD's solve rate — known in criminal justice circles as the clearance rate — for homicides. According to the department's Criminal Investigations Division's annual management report, OPD investigators solved and prosecuted just 32 of the 110 homicide cases of 2011, or a clearance rate of 29 percent. Similarly, OPD posted a 30 percent clearance rate in 2010, when investigators sent 27 of the 90 murders that year to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for prosecution. This is a decrease from 2009's clearance rate of 43 percent, when OPD investigators arrested and prosecuted individuals in 47 of the 109 homicides that year.
The San Francisco Police, by comparison, cleared 52 percent of homicides in 2011 and 64 percent of the homicides to date this year. Read on over at the Express where troubling quotes like "[p]eople are literally free to kill again if they want" await.