ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Police are solving murders at a rate of nearly 20 percent higher than the national average, according to statistics from the Orlando Police Department and the FBI.
FOX 35's Sydney Cameron sat down with one of the Orlando Police Department's senior homicide detectives to find out how this happened.
Detective Michael Fields explained that it is the tenacity of the detectives and the way the unit is set up that allows for detectives to drill down one case at a time.
For example, take Christine Franke. She was shot to death in 2001 and it took the Orlando Police Department 17 years to make an arrest.
"It was always like a cloud hanging over your head, you just don't know why," Tina Franke, the victim's mother told FOX 35. "I'm just so thankful that the detectives never gave up.
Statistics provided by the Orlando Police Department showed that detectives have solved about 730 of the 900 murders in Orlando over 31 years. That is an average homicide clearance rate of 81 percent, compared to the national average of 63 percent.
Detective Fields said that what sets the Orlando Police Department apart is the way that the ten-person homicide unit operates, citing that "when they get a homicide those two people work on nothing but that one homicide until they come up again in rotation. It may be a month, it may be six weeks."
He added that detectives in other departments are sometimes on-call for an entire week, handling every murder that comes in during that time.
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"They know they have to stay three steps ahead of the detective. They are moving forward. If you’re not moving forward with them, you lost them," Detective Fields said.
He said that they used forensic genetic genealogy to solve Franke's murder, becoming only the second police department in the world to do so.
Despite the homicide unit's 81 percent homicide clearance rate, Detective Fields said that it is not good enough, telling FOX 35 that "it's difficult to look at a family and tell them that you can't solve it."
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The Orlando Police Department still has 174 open homicide cases.
Detective Fields said that they are constantly using new investigative tools and recently became the first police department in the world to write a search warrant against a genetic genealogy company for a case.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.