Each crime committed, although the crime itself may be individual, can be investigated by breaking it down and using the same step-by-step process. An example of this process in action might be the string of daytime robberies that have taken place in a City X area. officers to ensure a complete and comprehensive analysis and determine if there is a pattern or whether these robberies are even connected. The plan would look like this:
The first step in the investigation must be to identify and review each case and determine whether all relevant information about each robbery was collected (ie time of incident, description of offender (s), such as height, weight, hair color, clothing, speech) All information that may be useful for the study should have been considered and recorded). The second step would be to conduct different conversations with each of the shop owners and possible witnesses to each crime if there are new facts about the cases or to determine if there is any false reporting. This can help us determine M.O. (Modus Operandi) for the perpetrator (TheIACP.org, 2014).
Step three of the study is the assignment of the specialized investigative tasks to certain individuals. Such specialized tasks may include, but are not limited to, fingerprint identification, video recording analysis to clean up surveillance tapes in an effort to better identify possible suspects and officers who are confident in an ethnic language, to better interact with all non-English speaking people. who may be victims or witnesses of the crimes. Noting who was assigned the task, when it was assigned, and when it was completed will help keep the study organized and easy to handle. There will be no people who “stumble across”, so to speak.
Next, we will have to look at each piece of evidence gathered on each scene and group them by type of evidence (photo, video, conversation, testimony, physical evidence, etc.), date of incident and proximity to other robberies, time of the day, etc. The evidence similar to other crimes is placed in a group and those that are different will be placed in a separate group to be looked at later in the investigation. This fifth step of the investigation will help determine which robberies can be linked to the same perpetrator or perpetrator. Once all the information is identified, the facts of each robbery must be grouped together to create a “picture” of the event. This image will try to position the sequence of events or timeline.
To help create the “image”, the sixth step would involve securing all video tape surveillance tapes from the crime scene, if available. From them, we could possibly obtain information that could possibly help us by capturing images of the thieves while carrying out the crime. If possible, it would also help if ties could be obtained from surrounding companies as they can show the perpetrator (s) before or after the crime. In order for us to gather the tapes, each company that may have visual records must be requested. However, if a company refuses, we first need to obtain search options to obtain video records of the dates and times of the robberies.
With the tapes in hand, including everything required to obtain search requirements, we would then provide them with a team of specialized investigators who would go over each tape and note down any suspicious activity before and after the crime, as well as take note of everything who can identify the thieves during the crime. An example of this can be something as simple as a tattoo made visible by a sleeve that pulls back when a thief reaches the cash. When comparing information from different crimes, this can also help determine which individuals to look into. Are there certain people appearing in each of the areas at the time of the crime? This would be the people to take special note of and add to the list of suspects to be questioned. Step seven would be conversations with these suspects (HR.BLR.com, 2007).
Step eight would be to create a timeline. An event timeline will help investigators see patterns in the overall image as well as help keep the information already collected neatly organized in terms of time, date and sequence of the incident, as well as provide an easy to spread overview of events to be used as the basis for the final report. All this information is kept in a detailed record of all the suspects, witnesses, locations and companies involved in the investigation.
In step nine, each person must be identified by associating their different identities with their image or written description. Keeping a file displaying this information means that the investigator does not have to remember each individual’s details and connections as well as keeping the information close to being easily referred during the investigation. In other words, “build a cast of characters” (IACP.org, 2014). This will also make it easier to share information with new members of the investigative team as they are added and / or facilitate communication and interaction between other departments that may be involved.
An important part of step nine is to place all information that has been gathered in a promotional way that can show the relationship between people, places and events. This includes the use of telephone records, video surveillance, IP addresses, etc. Using the Department’s resources to do this in addition to the “FTC’s ID Theft Clearinghouse on Consumer Sentinel and the U.S. Attorney’s Office NICLE Program (TheIACP.org, 2014)” may prove that be an invaluable source of information.
Further analysis of the intricacies of the crime can be done by looking at other similar crimes and trying to find other crimes that fit the pattern of these crimes. Few crimes are actually simply random acts; they are more often part of a larger ring or set of crimes that have been committed over time. By using the information collected using our own resources, we can read files about other similar crimes and see if they are consistent with any of the previous crimes. The questions as to whether this could be part of a major operation or a continuation of a set of escalating crimes should then be addressed.
As to the need for additional investigators or external agencies to get involved in the investigation, it depends on the scope of the incident and whether a more in-depth examination of certain areas of expertise not covered by the bodies already involved is needed. , or if this is a pattern of crimes that has been repeated elsewhere by someone who has moved.
Once the list of suspects has been interviewed, the evidence collected and decisions made, the final step of the investigation, the investigative report, can be prepared for delivery to the relevant authorities. This report should include everything the investigation has found during its review of the evidence and investigation into the background of the players involved.
The sequence of steps has been created and refined over time as a simple, effective law enforcement work tool. As new technologies have an impact on law enforcement, particularly in the areas of forensics, identification and surveillance, these steps will be changed to include these new technologies and assist an officer of the law in the performance of his duties as they relate to the understanding of criminals who believe they are above the law.
HR.BLR.com. (October 23, 2007). 10 steps for an effective study. Taken from: http://hr.blr.com/HR-news/Performance-Termination/Workplace-Complaints-and-Investigations/10-Steps-to-an-Effective-Investigation
TheIACP.org. (2014). Investigation Stage. Taken from: http://www.theiacp.org/investigateid/investigation/nuts-and-bolts-of-investigation/investigative-steps/