JSO responds to FDLE stats that shows Duval is 2nd-worst in state for solving crimes

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released its semiannual Uniform Crime Report on Wednesday.

The UCR, as it’s called, is essentially data compiled from across the state that shows crime statistics.

Action News Jax showed you Wednesday that Duval County was the second-worst county in the state when it comes to solving crimes. Only Miami-Dade was worse.

The stats showed that between January and June of this year, the percentage of crimes solved by police in Duval County was 17.1 percent.

That’s below the state average of 20 percent.

RELATED: Duval ranks second worst in state when it comes to solving crimes

“It’s disheartening, it’s frustrating and quite honestly, it’s not acceptable,” said Ryan Backmann, founder of Project: Cold Case.

Backmann’s own father, Cliff Backmann, was murdered in Jacksonville in 2009. His case has never been solved. Since then, Backmann has made it his life’s mission to end the growing backlog of cold cases.

“We have to be willing to communicate with law enforcement, not be scared to come forward,” said Backmann.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office acknowledged the numbers but pushed back.

STORY: As new Jacksonville crime task force begins, another ends

In a statement, the liaison to the sheriff, Marlo Zarka, said the numbers are 6 months old and that year-end numbers are “more timely and more accurate."

Backmann said there’s still room for improvement.

“I think there has to be a higher priority put on resolving cold cases and unsolved cases, specifically homicides and rapes, violent crimes,” said Backmann.

Backmann’s nonprofit, Project: Cold Case, often works in partnership with JSO. He said new technology like ShotSpotter is a good start, and so is enhancing the city’s surveillance system, but he said this is a team effort.

“I wish they would all recognize the importance of partnerships with agencies like mine, media like yours. We can do a lot more together than we can separately,” said Backmann.

Here is JSO's full statement:

The midyear release of the FDLE Uniform Crime Report (UCR) is data we work with every year. The 2018 mid-year trend is typical of previous years’ reporting (2017 = 17.0%, 2016 = 17.2% and 2015 = 18.6%). The report provides an overall snapshot of the clearance rates based upon clearances at the time of reporting.  

These clearance rate numbers also reflect the aggregate count of all crime types. It is worth mentioning that solvability for property index crimes (misdemeanor thefts, etc) far differs from violent crimes (homicides, etc) in the resources invested in them, hence the vast difference in clearance rates between the two.

It is further worth pointing out that these numbers are six months old. Year-end numbers within each specific crime types is more timely and more accurate than this data report is designed to convey. 

For example, mid-year UCR for 2017 was 17.0%, while the year-end clearance rate ended at 54.1%, a number that comes in 4.8% higher than the national clearance rate.

JSO works diligently to track crime numbers in our community – it is what we do every day. We focus efforts to drive crime down and we know the needle is moving. We will release the annual crime analysis for 2018 at the onset on 2019, as we do every year.

Project: Cold Case has created a database of unsolved homicides, click here to view cases. If you know anything that could help police solve a local homicide or any other violent crime, call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.