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Wisconsin law enforcement above-average at clearing homicide cases

Murder Graphic
Murder Graphic

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin police officers do a better job than others nationally in arresting murder suspects. According to a review by Gannett Wisconsin Media, officers solved 82-percent of almost 1,600 killings in the Badger State during the decade ending in 2012. The clearance rate was 17-percent larger than the national figure. Just over 275 murders from that decade in Wisconsin remain unsolved.

Gannett said a gun was used in almost half those cases. Investigators say gun murders are harder to solve. That’s because shooters don’t leave their D-N-A behind, as they normally avoid physical contact with their victims.

Four-of-every-five unsolved murders in Wisconsin took place in Milwaukee. Most victims were black, and their average age was 33.

A New Mexico university study from 2011 found that over half of wrongful deaths are solved in the first 48 hours after they occur. After a year has gone by, there’s less than a one-percent chance they’ll be solved.

Still Wisconsin officials say they never give up on cold cases. West Allis police captain Chris Botsch says motivations change over time, and witnesses may either have a change-or-heart, or drop alliances with suspects they’re protecting. As Botsch puts it, “That’s what we hope to tap into.”

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