This episode of the National Gang Center’s Voices From the Field podcast series features an interview with David L. Carter, Ph.D., a professor and researcher with the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice, who discusses his work in the project Homicide Process Mapping: Best Practices for Increasing Homicide Clearances, which focuses on how law enforcement can improve investigative outcomes in communities impacted by serious and entrenched gang and gun violence.
Carter was involved in a study that examined best practices for increasing clearances of homicide cases by using an analysis of homicide investigations in police jurisdictions that had exceptionally high clearance rates for homicide cases. The analysis focused on the common features of homicide investigations in those jurisdictions. One key feature mentioned by Carter is having a lead investigator who is oriented toward obtaining broad access to key information related to a high clearance rate for homicides and then accessing types of sources that typically have such critical information. This requires that homicide investigative teams include not only specialized homicide investigators, but also crime data analysts, patrol officers from the neighborhood where the crime occurred, and community leaders with knowledge of neighborhood interactions and occurrences that preceded the homicide. Knowing what constitutes the broad collection of data known to be related to homicide clearances, soliciting such information from a variety of sources, and then conducting an experienced analysis of the data increase homicide clearances.