• Richard Timothy CoupeEmail author
  • Barak Ariel
  • Katrin Mueller-Johnson


The objectives of solvability research are to enable the cost-effective investigation of crimes and to improve the number of detected cases. ‘Triaging’ of cases may be used to facilitate the alignment of resources with incident solvability at each step of the investigation process. Solvability efforts take place against a backdrop of increasing demands, with antisocial behaviour, fraud and cyber offences that are ‘new’ in police investigations. Many offences are perpetrated by offenders and networks from foreign jurisdictions, a few of which are investigated or solved. Resource reductions and the refocusing of police effort into non-crime events involving those at risk of harm, such as missing persons, are also implicated. Detecting crime has an enduring importance through deterring offending, enabling justice to be dispensed and helping maintain confidence in the police. Arrest is a prerequisite for rehabilitative interventions for offenders in the community or while in prison, and for the protection of the public from prolific and serious violent and sexual offenders, whose commission of crimes is largely curtailed while incarcerated. By these means, crime detection helps cement ‘normative compliance’. The volume’s contents cover existing research into the effects of crime solvability and resources on investigating and detecting crime; the solvability of high-volume property crimes, including cyber-offending; the solvability and detection of violent and sexual and hate offences; how offence solvability may be improved; the effects of resources on detection; and a theoretical resourcing-solvability model of crime detection, through which the principal concepts presented in the volume are synthesised.


Crime solvability Resources Detection Deterrence Confidence Rehabilitation Imprisonment Cost-effectiveness Triage Normative compliance 


  1. Ahlberg, J., & Knutsson, J. (1990). The risk of detection. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 6(1), 117–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bales, W. D., & Piquero, A. R. (2012). Assessing the impact of imprisonment on recidivism. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 8, 71–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnard, P. (2015). Online vehicle sales fraud—Can police target prevention messages more efficiently and effectively? (MSt thesis). University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  4. Blakely, R. (2018, January 08). US murder rate plunges after police algorithm predicts crime. The Times.Google Scholar
  5. Blumstein, A., Cohen, J., Das, S., & Miotra, D. (1988). Specialization and seriousness during adult criminal careers. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 4(4), 303–345.Google Scholar
  6. Blumstein, A., & Wallman, J. (2000). The crime drop in America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bottoms, A. (2001). Compliance and community penalties. In A. Bottoms, L. Gelsthorpe, & S. Rex (Eds.), Community penalties: Changes and challenges. Willan: Cullompton.Google Scholar
  8. Bradford, B., Jackson, J., & Stanko, E. (2009). Contact and confidence: Revisiting the impact of public encounters with the police. Policing & Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, 19(1), 20–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brandl, S. G., & Frank, J. (1994). The relationship between evidence, detective effort, and the disposition of burglary and robbery investigations. American Journal of Police, 13(3), 149–168.Google Scholar
  10. Budd, T. (1999). Burglary of domestic dwellings: Findings from the British Crime Survey (Home Office Statistical Bulletin 4/99). London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen, L. E., & Felson, M. (1979). Social change and crime rate trends: A routine activity approach. American Sociological Review, 44(4), 588–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coupe, R. T. (2016). Evaluating the effects of resources and solvability on burglary detection. Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, 26(5), 563–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coupe, R. T., & Blake, L. (2005). The effects of patrol workloads and response strength on burglary emergencies. Journal of Criminal Justice, 33(3), 239–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. de Quetteville, H. (2018, June 07). There’s a weapon that police could deploy against violent crime—But they’re not using it. The Telegraph.
  15. Doyle, R. (2018). Personal communication from a serving officer from the Devon & Cornwall Police Service concerning the patrol resources used to deal with missing persons.Google Scholar
  16. Eck, J. E. (1983). Solving crimes: The investigation of burglary and robbery. Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum.Google Scholar
  17. Greenwood, P. W., & Petersilia, J. (1975). The criminal investigation process: Volume I: Summary and policy implications. Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
  18. Hope, T. (2012). Riots, pure and simple? Criminal Justice Matters, 87(1), 2–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Killias, M., Aebi, M., & Ribeaud, D. (2000) Does community service rehabilitate better than short-term imprisonment? Results of a controlled experiment. The Howard Journal, 39(1), 40–57.Google Scholar
  20. Lamme, M., & Bernasco, W. (2013). Are mobile offenders less likely to be caught? The influence of the geographical dispersion of serial offenders’ crime locations on their probability of arrest. European Journal of Criminology, 10(2), 168–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lewis, P., Newburn, T.,Taylor, M., Mcgillivray, C., Greenhill, A., Frayman, H., & Proctor, R. (2011). Reading the riots: investigating England’s summer of disorder. Reading the riots, The London School of Economics and Political Science and The Guardian, London: UK.
  22. Mears, D. P., Cochran, J. C., & Bales, W. D. (2012). Gender differences in the effects of prison on recidivism. Journal of Criminal Justice, 40, 370–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Morgan, R., & Newburn, T. (1998). The future of policing. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  24. Murray, J., Loeber, R., & Pardini, D. (2012). Parental involvement in the criminal justice system and the development of youth theft, marijuana use, depression and poor academic performance. Criminology, 50(1), 255–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nagin, D. S., Cullen, F. T., & Jonson, C. L. (2009). Imprisonment and reoffending. In M. Tonry (Ed.), Crime and justice: A review of research (Vol. 38). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Petrosino, A., Petrosino, C. T., & Guckenburg, S. (2010). Formal system processing of juveniles: Effects on delinquency. Oslo, Norway: The Campbell Collaboration.
  27. Robb, P., Coupe, R. T., & Ariel, B. (2015). ‘Solvability’ and detection of metal theft on railway property. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 21(4), 463–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Robbins, J. (2018). Exclusive: More than 96% of reported fraud cases go unsolved.
  29. Robinson, A., & Tilley, N. (2009). Factors influencing police performance in the investigation of volume crimes in England and Wales. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 10(3), 209–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Skogan, W. G. (2006) Asymmetry in the impact of encounters with the police. Policing & Society, 16(2), 99–126.Google Scholar
  31. Spelman, W. (2006). The limited importance of prison expansion. In A. Blumstein & J. Wallman (Eds.), The crime drop in America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Stavisky. (2018). The role of ethnic communities and ethnic identities in explaining relationships with, and attitudes towards, the police in the London borough of Hackney (Doctoral thesis). University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  33. Tilley, N., Robinson, A., & Burrows, J. (2007). The investigation of high volume crime. In T. Newburn, T. Williamson, & A. Wright (Eds.), Handbook of criminal investigation (pp. 226–254). London: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. van de Rakt, M., Murray, J., & Nieuwbeerta, P. (2012). The long-term effects of paternal imprisonment on criminal trajectories of children. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 49(1), 81–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. von Hirsch, A., Bottoms, A. E., Bumey, E., & Wikstrom, P. O. (1999). Criminal deterrence and sentence severity: An analysis of recent research. Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Weatherburn, D. (2010). The effect of prison on adult re-offending. Crime and Justice Bulletin (New South Wales, Bureau of Crime, Statistics, and Research) Number 143.Google Scholar
  37. Wermink, H., Blokland, A., Nieuwbeerta, P., Nagin, D., & Tollenaar, N. (2010). Comparing the effects of community service and short-term imprisonment on recidivism: A matched samples approach. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 6, 325–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wildeman, C., Schnittker, J., & Turney, K. (2012). Despair by association? The mental health of mothers with children by recently incarcerated fathers. American Sociological Review, 77(2), 216–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Willmott, R. H. (1814). Memoirs of military surgery (Vols. 1–3). Baltimore: Cushing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Timothy Coupe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barak Ariel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Katrin Mueller-Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of CriminologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland, UK
  2. 2.Institute of Criminology, Faculty of LawThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael

Personalised recommendations