If members of the Senate are serious about reducing violent crime, they will have two chances in the coming months to prove it. Seizing both opportunities would produce a “win-win” outcome for all Americans, especially those most at risk of senseless violence.

First, the Senate should pass the Violent Incident and Technological Investigative Methods (VICTIM) Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced this month by Senators John Kennedy (R-La.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would invest $360 million over five years on police investigators to solve homicides and non-fatal shootings. Funding could also be used for technology that aids in investigations and for efforts to expand access to victim services.

This investment is desperately needed because the rate of unsolved violent and property crimes has risen to its highest level since the FBI started collecting data in the 1960s, according to Jeff Asher, a crime data expert. The FBI’s 2022 report revealed that just under half of all murders and 63 percent of all violent crimes went unsolved.

As shocking as those numbers might be, the rate of violent crimes that go unsolved is actually much higher. That’s because the FBI data cover reported crimes. Most crimes are not reported to the police. A Bureau of Justice Statistics survey found that only 42 percent of violent crimes were reported to the police in 2022. Given that reality, the actual number of violent crimes that went unsolved in 2022 is probably closer to 85 percent.

Deterring violent crime is difficult enough, partly because so many offenders suffer from a lack of impulse control or act out in the heat of passion, but it becomes nearly impossible when the risk of getting caught is so low. The VICTIM Act can help by dedicating more resources to solving violent crimes and increasing the likelihood that perpetrators will be brought to justice.

The bill was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs of America and the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies. Patrick Yoes, the president of the FOP, said of the serious violent crimes targeted by the VICTIM Act, “Closing these types of crimes requires diligence, manpower and a sustained investigative effort.”

The bill offers significant resources to boost investigations, and it also aims to ensure that the millions in new investments are well-spent. It requires agencies that receive funding to report how they used it and how it helped to solve violent crimes. In addition, the bill would require the National Institute of Justice to conduct periodic evaluations of funding recipients’ activities to identify best practices and look for programs that could be scaled nationally.

Solving more violent crimes would benefit all communities, and it would benefit some more than others. A recent study revealed that Black Americans of all ages suffer homicides at a rate that is 12 times higher per capita than for Whites. Hispanics are twice as likely to be killed by firearms than Whites. A truly just system would ensure that every victim’s life mattered by finding and holding the perpetrator accountable and supporting the victim’s family.

Senators likely will acknowledge the value of solving homicides and other violent crimes. Still, some might raise concerns about the bill’s price tag. Lawmakers are right to weigh the costs and benefits of legislation, including legislation to improve public safety. Yet, given the extraordinarily high social and economic costs that violent crime imposes on individuals and communities, supporting the VICTIM Act should be an easy decision.

The Senate can and should take another step to demonstrate its commitment to reducing violent crime. It should amend the CARES Act to clarify that the 3,000 people who were sent to home confinement during the pandemic and who have been living productive, law-abiding lives should not be forced to return to federal prison.

Reincarcerating these nonviolent, low-risk offenders now would waste millions of dollars that could be better spent, among other things, by funding the VICTIM Act, hiring more homicide detectives, and solving violent crimes. If senators do not clarify the CARES Act, they should, at a minimum, oppose a resolution that seeks to require the understaffed Bureau of Prisons to return en masse everyone on home confinement.

Homicide and violent crime rates are trending down in most parts of the country, but Congress should not be complacent. The Senate can show that combating violent crime is a priority by passing the VICTIM Act and leaving nonviolent, law-abiding citizens in home confinement.