The criminal investigation process in municipal and county police departments was studied by survey, interviews and observations, and special data collection. Investigators spend about 7 percent of their time on activities that lead to solving crimes. Case solutions reflect activities of patrol officers, members of the public, and routine clerical processing more than investigative techniques. Nearly half of investigators' case-related activities are devoted to post-arrest processing; these activities are inadequately responsive to the needs of prosecutors. Collecting physical evidence at crime scenes does not help solve crimes unless evidence processing capabilities are adequate. Policy implications are discussed.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.