The Criminal Investigation Process

Volume I: Summary and Policy Implications

by Peter W. Greenwood, Joan R. Petersilia


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A capsule statement of the major findings and proposed reforms resulting from a two-year RAND study of police investigation of serious reported crimes. The findings imply that traditional approaches to criminal investigation by police departments do not significantly affect the rate at which cases are solved; that most cases are solved by application of routine administrative procedures; that the effectiveness of criminal investigation would not be unduly lessened if approximately half of the investigative effort were eliminated or shifted to more productive uses; and that significant increases in criminal apprehension rates are more likely to be produced by more alert patrol units and improved citizen cooperation than by refinements in investigative work. Among suggested reforms are (1) reduction of follow-up investigation on all cases except those involving the most serious offenses; (2) establishment of a Major Offenders Unit to investigate serious crimes; (3) employment of strike forces, and (4) placement of post-arrest investigations under the authority of the prosecutor.

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