JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The city of Jonesboro broke a historical crime rate this year … in murder investigations.
In 2020, a total of 10 homicides broke the record, with only 7 being solved.
Jonesboro Police Department leads these investigations while evidence collected at the scene of a homicide must be tested at the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
“We just have one crime lab for the State of Arkansas and they serve every law enforcement agency in the state,” Police Chief Rick Elliott said.
With all agencies taking their evidence to one location, it takes longer time to get results back.
Homicide cases do take priority at the crime lab. He explained murder investigations aren’t what you see on TV.
“Whatever you see on the TV shows, about police work and crime scenes, the biggest part of it, it just does not work that way,” he said.
The quick turnaround on DNA evidence, comparisons of bullet casings, and things of that nature do not happen automatically.
In reality, it can take upwards of 8-12 months to get back DNA results and in a homicide investigation, a lot of forensic evidence is sent.
While JPD waits for results, so do the families of murder victims.
“Look at these three cases, we have evidence submitted at the Crime Lab for forensic analysis and since I don’t have a witness statement to go off of at this point, then a lot of its down to forensics,” he said.
Chief Elliott elaborated on how important it is for the police department and the community to work together.
If one person gives a tip, this could get the murder suspect behind bars faster.
“We may have 100 people see a shooting or stabbing take place but I can’t get a witness statement from anybody that names the suspect,” he said.
He said this is the biggest problem police can face. It’s all back to a waiting game with no statement or information to go off of.
JPD waits for forensic evidence to come back to then be able to place someone behind bars linked to the case.
Chief Elliott said you can report a tip on a crime anonymously in these ways: