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Hub murders rise; more go unsolved

In 2010 Boston’s murder rate spiked to its highest level in four years, and the number of those killings in which a suspect was identified or arrested dropped to below 40 percent.

In 2010 Boston’s murder rate spiked to its highest level in four years, and the number of those killings in which a suspect was identified or arrested dropped to below 40 percent.

It’s a number police realize is low — certainly below the national average — and officials believe they will improve that number for this year.

“Numerous cases are before the grand jury and are making significant progress,” said Elaine Driscoll, a Boston Police spokeswoman. “We anticipate clearing many of these cases throughout 2011.”

A cleared homicide is one in which police identify or arrest a suspect.

“It’s been challenging,” Commissioner Ed Davis told the Globe. “My intention is to push this number up to 60 percent solved over the next year or so.”

In November, when the city’s murder rate had already surpassed last year’s total, Davis promoted 11 officers to detective.

At the time, Driscoll said the move was an effort to balance out the ratio of patrol officers and detectives on the force as a recruit class of 90 officers was slated to enter the academy a month later.

The department also experienced a number of command staff changes last year with Davis demoting the supervisors of the gang and drug units and a change of command in the criminal investigations division.

 
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