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Can Homicide Detectives Improve Homicide Clearance Rates? Crime & Delinquency

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 64 Issue: 3 Dated: 2018 Pages: 283-315
Anthony A. Braga; Desiree Dusseault
Date Published
33 pages
This study evaluated the Boston Police Department's use of a problem-oriented policing approach to improve its post-homicide criminal investigation processes and practices after years of homicide clearance rates lower than the national average.
The available scientific evidence on the value of detectives in clearing crimes generally suggests that most crimes are solved through the random circumstances of crime scenes rather than special follow-up investigation. Other research, however, suggests that the work of criminal investigators can increase the likelihood that crimes might be cleared through arrest. Using quasi-experimental statistical analyses, the current study concluded that the intervention by the Boston Police Department significantly increased key investigative activities and improved Boston homicide clearance rates compared to homicide clearance trends in other Massachusetts and U.S. jurisdictions. (publisher abstract modified)