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DOJ Press Release letterhead

  • Monday, March 28, 2011
  • Contact: Office of Justice Programs
  • Contact: Sheila Jerusalem
  • (202) 307-0703


Justice Department Publication Examines Detectives' Role
in Crime Control and Prevention

WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has published the latest paper from the Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety, a roundtable managed by Harvard Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management and funded by NIJ.

Moving the Work of Criminal Investigators was written by Harvard Executive Session members Anthony Braga, Edward Flynn, George Kelling and Christine Cole. The authors discuss the benefits for police agencies and communities when detectives are more active players in crime control. The authors provide research showing that despite the evolution of community and problem-oriented policing, the role of detectives in policing has changed little in the last two decades. The authors argue that the work of detectives is mostly reactive, largely isolated from broader police efforts and that their expertise is not fully utilized in the crime-prevention process. Increasing detectives' responsibility for crime prevention could improve clearance rates and provide other positive results for the community and department. They emphasize the need to consider moving or expanding the work of detectives and suggest ways to allocate work between detectives and patrol officers to help control and prevent crime. They present case studies from Milwaukee, New York, Australia and the United Kingdom.

TITLE: Moving the Work of Criminal Investigators Toward Crime Control, part of the Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety series published by NIJ.
AUTHOR: Anthony Braga, Edward Flynn, George Kelling and Christine Cole
WHERE: National Criminal Justice Reference Service


The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at