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The effectiveness of standardized investigative tactics in clearing nonfatal shooting investigations

Much research explores the correlates of clearing fatal shooting incidents. It is suggested that common investigative resources and tactics, such as the number of detectives and witness interviews, may be associated with clearing both fatal and non-fatal shooting cases. This study examines the effect of a standardized list of investigative tools in the clearing of non-fatal shooting incidents. For this study, detectives from the Buffalo Police Department's Gun Violence Unit completed an "Investigative Checklist" for non-fatal shootings that occurred between November 2019 and December 2020 (N=234 usable cases). Bivariate correlation analysis shows a strong association between uncooperative victims and a detective conducting multiple canvases as part of the investigation. Logistic regression shows that examining a suspect's social media information, and detectives accessing patrol car reports, contributed to successfully clearing a non-fatal shooting case. An uncooperative victim was negatively associated with clearing a case. Police practitioners should be aware, based on the findings of this and other research, that a small number of investigative techniques contribute to non-fatal shooting case clearance rates. It may be necessary for police agencies to construct detective units, and focus on a narrow set of investigative tactics, in a way that improved clearance rates in non-fatal shootings.

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