Thursday, June 3, 2010

Durham, N.C., doubles its rate of solving homicides

The nation's most dramatic improvement, according to a Scripps study, was in Durham, N.C., where clearances averaged only 39 percent in the 1990s following a dramatic increase in drug-related crime. But the solution rate shot up to 78 percent for the city's 215 killings since 2000. Durham's department uses several practices espoused by criminologists and Justice Department researchers:

• Generous authorization of overtime for murder investigators during the critical first hours after a killing.
• More manpower at the murder scene, including up to eight detectives.
• Sharing electronic information between investigators and the intelligence and crime-analysis units.
• Sending forensic-science technicians to crime scenes, and expanding in-house lab procedures for fingerprint and ballistics analysis.

In addition, they developed a response unit to locate witnesses after a crime. "We'll get up to 100 officers knocking on doors," Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez. "It's civilians, police, even elected officials who come out so we can get more witnesses... witnesses we otherwise would never have gotten."



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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