The RAND Criminal Investigation Study

Its Findings and Impacts to Date

by Peter W. Greenwood

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Abstract

In 1973 RAND undertook a nationwide study of criminal investigation practices of major metropolitan police agencies with the purpose of assessing the value of various investigation activities to police effectiveness. This study demonstrated that investigative activities play only a minor role in contributing to overall arrest rates, and that much of an investigator's time is consumed with administrative paperwork or locating and interviewing witnesses on cases that have a small likelihood of ever being solved. Following up on interest in investigation policy generated by the RAND study, LEAA's National Institute sponsored a series of regional workshops for police administrators. In addition to reforms prompted by workshops and demonstration programs, many police departments have begun reforms under other LEAA programs — the Career Criminal Program, and the Integrated Criminal Apprehension Program. Although the RAND study and other research have suggested reforms, to date there have been no thorough evaluations of these innovations.

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