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Implementing a stand-alone investigative unit to clear non-fatal shooting cases

NCJ Number
Policing-a Journal of Policy and Practice Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Dated: April 2022 Pages: 204-217
Scott W. Phillips ; Dae-Young Kim; Greg M. Drake; Irshad Altheimer
Date Published
April 2022
14 pages

This research contributes to the small but growing body of scholarship examining non-fatal shooting cases. 


This study is particularly important considering the recent increase in the number of shooting incidents in the USA, and the fact that there are often many more non-fatal shooting cases than fatal outcomes. The Buffalo Police Department developed a specific investigative unit focusing exclusively on non-fatal shootings with the expectation that this would allow one group of detectives to focus on all homicides, while the other group focused exclusively on non-fatal shootings. Data from the Buffalo Police Department included both fatal and non-fatal shooting incidents, and an interrupted time series analysis was used to determine if there was an increase in the number of cases cleared by arrest. Results indicated that the implementation of the specific investigative unit did not influence clearances for non-fatal shootings. Furthermore, contrary to expectations, the numbers of clearances for homicides in the post-intervention period were significantly lower than those in the pre-intervention period. Two conclusions are offered. First, the non-fatal shooting unit was not structured in a way that mimicked a homicide unit, thus lacking the resources to clear non-fatal shooting cases. Secondly, separating investigative units created a 'silo effect' where the units may not have communicated enough on similar incidents.