Every year, at least 5,000 killers get away with murder. That’s because in a growing number of cities—including Jacksonville—most murders go unsolved. In 2015, Thomas Hargrove, an investigative journalist, founded the Murder Accountability Project (MAP), a nonprofit organization that has assembled the most complete public accounting of homicide available anywhere in the world. With these hundreds of thousands of murder records, MAP hopes to alert people to the failures of our governments to stop the cycle of violence. Because when murders aren’t cleared with the arrest of the killers, homicide rates quickly spiral out of control.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Even in a land as violent as America, the power of information is transformative. When people learn the truth, they will demand change: more cops, better trained cops, more resources of every kind, and a cooperative relationship between police and the communities they serve. This isn’t just a theoretical exercise. We need to understand the implications of Hargrove’s data for our community: based on MAP’s algorithm that detects serial killers within a specific geographic area, Jacksonville’s unsolved murder cluster is the largest in the state. What are we going to do about it?