CLEVELAND (WJW) – In the last few years, the amount of homicides in Cleveland have been increasing and detectives are finding new ways to help solve cases.
“We have seen an increase in our solve rate,” said Commander Ali Pillow.
Members of the homicide unit met with the I-Team recently to break down the numbers. They say in 2021, detectives solved 67% of the city’s 170 homicides.
The increase in solving cases comes at a time when there are less detectives assigned to the unit. Investigators say technology, including video from city security cameras, are helping get detectives quick answers to help crack cases. A Real Time Crime Center Analyst assigned to the homicide unit reviews the video captured by the city owned cameras moments after police are notified of a murder.
“We will immediately speak with them, and they will get us up to speed with cameras that are in the area,” said Detective Sgt. Aaron Reese.
Reese added that if detectives know the name of an alleged suspect the analyst will then start searching social media data bases.
“Just trying to get us all the information they can,” Reese said. “Most of the time we get that before we even arrive on scene.”
The analyst also does through data that comes in from license plate readers, traffic cameras, and other surveillance videos.
“Technology allows us to compress the investigative timeline, allows us to make better identifications, and allows us to get the right information out as soon as possible to the right investigators,” said Deputy Chief Harold Pretel.
Sgt. Evelyn Montalvo added that technology is also helping identify some homicide victims. She noted sometimes a victim is found and they have no identification on them.
“With permission from the medical examiners, who is also on scene, we can use a mobile fingerprint scanner,” Montalvo said. “We get immediate identification and that’s helpful so we can do immediate notification to the family member.”
Sgt. Teresa Gomez, added that changes on how the 22 homicide detectives are assigned cases is also helping handle the large case load.
“Everything now is all digitized ,” Gomez said. “It’s all done electronically it’s easier for everyone to access from their computers.”
Pillow added that the detectives in Cleveland’s homicide unit the “very best.”
“Technology has been a big part of it but behind technology is people,” Pillow said. “We work with some phenomenal people.”