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Homicide Process Mapping: Best Practices for Increasing Homicide Clearances

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2013
67 pages

This report identifies best practices in homicide investigations that will result in an increase in homicide clearance rates.


The report details effective investigative practices and provides insight into "what works" in homicide investigations and identifies effective approaches and key elements of practice for managing these investigations. Seven geographically representative law enforcement agencies were identified that had at least 24 homicides in 2011 and had a clearance rate of 80 percent or higher. In addition, because the first 48 hours of a homicide investigation are critical, the project identified critical tasks in the first 48 hours of the investigation that increase the probability of a clearance. The findings were broken down into strategic and tactical issues. Each of these is discussed from a policy implementation perspective. This is followed by a summary of homicide investigation best practices that at least two agencies reported using. The report concludes with a process map that identifies critical investigative tasks to be performed in the first 48 hours after a homicide is reported. The process map is the product of a detailed analysis and integration of the processes used by the agencies in this project. The selected agencies, both municipal and county, were the Baltimore County, Maryland, Police Department; the Denver, Colorado, Police Department; the Houston, Texas, Police Department; the Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff's Office; the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department; the Sacramento County, California, Sheriff's Department; and the San Diego, California, Police Department. Tables, figure, appendixes, and resources

Date Published: September 1, 2013