Two years ago, Investigative Post and WGRZ teamed up to examine the Buffalo Police Department’s inability to solve murders. At the time, police were solving only about a quarter of homicides.
A follow-up investigation which aired Wednesday on WGRZ found the department still has a low batting average. Police have cleared only 38 percent of murders committed in the past three years, including 25 percent last year. That compares with a national clearance rate of about 60 percent.
Investigative Post and WGRZ found that police are clearing about three-quarters of murders involving robberies, domestic disputes, child abuse and the like. But they solved only seven of 77 homicides committed during the past three years involving drugs and gangs.
An unwillingness by witnesses to cooperate with police is cited as a major reason for the low clearance rate. That is rooted in part in poor relations between police and inner-city residents.
“I think there’s a significant degree of mistrust with respect to communities of color and the Police Department,” said Miles Gresham, an attorney and city resident.
Gang-related violence account for more than half of the murders committed in recent years and the ranks of gang members have more than doubled in the past couple of years, law enforcement officials say.
Listen to Jim Heaney’s interview with Capitol Pressroom on Buffalo police