Investigative Activities, Resources and Burglary Detection
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This chapter considers the importance of matching police officer resources to incident solvability for cost-effective residential burglary detection. It uses data from police incident logs and self-completed surveys of first officers and detectives. The data set is distinctive because it contains details of officer time spent on each investigative activity and incident, site and occupant information for each individual burglary case. Findings indicate that the resources allocated to investigating solvable incidents help explain which incidents are detected. Solvability characteristics determine whether burglaries may be solved, but resource inputs enable detection potential due to solvability to be realized. Resources appear to be used less effectively in further investigations than by first officers. Better solvability predictors are needed for the incidents at which the resourcing of further investigations results in evidence that helps solve them. These could inform a more cost-effective allocation of resources between first officers and detectives and identify which actions and activities are best undertaken for cases with different characteristics at different investigative stages. The findings are at odds with earlier research insofar as detection rates for high-solvability cases may be improved with even larger resource inputs while some low-solvability offences can be solved and should not, therefore, always be screened out by ‘triage’.
KeywordsBurglary Solvability Resources Investigations Detection Predictors
The author acknowledges the use in this chapter of 1586 words from Coupe (2016).
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