Unsolved Murders on the Rise in the District

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The number of unsolved homicides in the District of Columbia since 1980 continues an upward spiral. And, according to a member of the grassroots organization, Peaceoholics, a lot of it has to do with the lack of civic involvement, coupled with a general distrust of law enforcement.

“Some people don’t know the difference between practicing citizenship and snitching,” said Ron Moten, who described Peaceoholics as a community advocacy group which deals with social ills that spawn violence.

“There is such a thing as snitching, which means there’s a code [on the streets] that people live by,” Moten continued, “but for everyday citizens who obey the law, they are obligated to uphold the law.”

On the other hand, “A lot of people just don’t trust the police,” Moten said, “and while I’ve seen a lot of that change over the years, there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Though the number of District homicides have declined over the past few years, in many instances police have remained hard pressed to close the files. As a result, the families of numerous victims have yet to learn the circumstances that led to their loved ones’ deaths.

Information provided to the AFRO by the Metropolitan Police Department shows that of 186 homicides reported in 2008, 74 remain unsolved; of the 143 recorded for 2009, 71 have gone unsolved; and of the 44 cases documented so far this year, 24 remain open.