Of the 16,000 homicides committed annually in this country, 38% of the perpetrators will get away with it. And the odds are far worse when it comes to robberies and burglaries. Bear in mind that the seven cases in this article represent around .1% (7 out of 6,000) of this year’s unsolved murders. And brace yourself, but only 50% of this year’s 400,000 robbers and a mere 10% of the 2 million burglars will actually be prosecuted. Perhaps, by this article’s conclusion, I can offer a silver lining to the reality that police officers know all too well.
7. Playground Psychopath
On March 25, 2014, a 2-year-old child sustained minor injuries at the Millennium Park playground in East Moline, Illinois, because someone glued nearly a dozen razor blades to the playground equipment. The official charge would be aggravated battery of a child with a potential 6 – 30 year sentence.
Crime Stoppers tip line: 309-762-9500
6. Horse Homicide
In Yakima County, Washington, on the morning of February 3, 2014, the owner of seven branded mares and one stallion found his prized possessions lying dead in their pasture as a result of gunshot wounds. What’s perhaps most intriguing about this incident is that four years prior, in the same county, four other horses were also shot. Is it possible that two separate people killed horses for revenge?
Crime Stoppers tip line: 800-248-9980
5. Armed Robbery Spree
Since October 1, 2014, there have been four armed robberies in Sacramento, California, in which a 6’ black male suspect wore the same black mask. His M.O. is to enter the business (usually a fast food restaurant) around closing time when no customers are present, draw a handgun, and rob the front register. The town of Elk Grove (approximately 15 miles away) reported nine similar robberies matching the description of the Sacramento crimes in the recent weeks prior, bringing the potential robberies committed by this masked assailant to 13 in a one month period.
Crime Stoppers tip line: 916-443-4357
4. New Year’s Homicide
Stephen Jeffries Jr. (40) was attending a 2013 New Years Eve party with several of his family members in Seattle, Washington. At around 11:10 p.m., several onlookers witnessed a verbal confrontation between Jefferies and an unknown assailant which escalated into gunfire. An adult woman was shot in the hand, but Jefferies died in the hospital from multiple gunshot wounds several hours later on January 1, 2014. Jefferies’ mother lost another son, William Jefferies (18), to a similar incident (a confrontation at a party) 12 months prior. That killer, however, was never prosecuted because he claimed his actions were in self defense.
Crime Stoppers tip line: 800-222-8477
3. Double Homicide in a Tent
In a homeless encampment around 6 p.m. in Anchorage, Alaska, an unknown assailant pulled open a tent door and shot the people inside. Mae Melovidov (47) and Robert Workman (55) were killed, while a third victim recovered in the hospital. The male perpetrator was initially described as 5’8”, but the survivor said more like 6’. The victims had been dating for seven months when the incident took place, and those who knew them described the crime as “random.”
Crime Stoppers tip line: 907-561-7867
2. Easter Massacre at Al Barnes Park
In Tampa Bay, Florida, several uninvited individuals showed up at around 5 p.m. to a small private event taking place on April 20. A physical altercation erupted, resulting in gunfire and the deaths of Nico Crawford (22) and Zelmound Culpepper (17). Danielle Allen (21) and Ransom Flowers (27) were wounded but managed to survive. Twenty-two-year-old Ronald L. Milliron, who had several prior felonies, was believed to be at the park and armed with a loaded 9mm and 14 bags of marijuana at the time of the shooting. However, detectives were unable to connect him to the crime beyond circumstantial observations; not to mention he was present at the scene during the investigation instead of fleeing. Those present during the shooting were running for cover and unable to give a description of the suspect.
Crime Stoppers tip line: 800-873-8477
1. Double Murder with Arson Cover-up
Amber Lynn Jordan (24) and Jessica Keith (24) were discovered inside their burning home in Tampa Bay (yes, Tampa Bay again) on February 4, but detectives determined their cause of death to be homicidal violence. Two months prior, Jordan and Keith smoked crack with Zachary Baker (26) and Richard Morris (44) in a motel room, but instead of paying the agreed upon $250 for the drugs, Baker and Morris fled. Shortly after the arson, Baker and Morris fled to Michigan where they committed a home robbery. But an anonymous tip led police to find Baker and Morris in Indiana, resulting in a three-hour stand-off. Morris, who had a slew of priors, took his own life with a handgun. Baker, however, gave himself up, but there was not enough evidence to actually charge him with the homicide/arson.
Crime Stoppers tip line: 800-873-8477
These crimes only scratch the surface of what happens on a daily basis, which might suggest that our country is headed down a frightening path. But here’s that silver lining I promised you: crime in America has been on the decline ever since 1990. Homicides have decreased by 56% since their peak in 1980, burglaries are down 64%, and robberies have decreased 59% since their peak in 1992. We’ll never be able to catch all the criminals, but in the last 25 years something has reduced the “desire to commit crimes.” While economists debate the reasons behind this decrease, let’s each do our best to ensure that this trend continues.