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Improving the Investigation, Clearance Rates, and Victim Restoration of Robberies: A Randomized Controlled Experiment

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Past Project Period End Date
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $548,246)

The applicant proposes to research the effects of enhanced investigative efforts on clearance rates of robberies, and at the same time test if these efforts improve victim satisfaction with, and acceptance of, the police. The study is 2 years and 3 months long. The applicant will work with the Rochester (NY) and Seattle (WA) Police Departments. Both of these departments conduct an initial assessment of their robberies to determine the clearance probability of the crimes. If there is a low clearance probability, the cases are shelved. The departments have a 45% and 40% shelved rate, respectively. These shelved cases are the units of analysis for the randomized controlled trial (RCT) in both cities. These cases will be randomly assigned to two groups. One will remain shelved (control group--business as usual). The second will have a dedicated patrol officer conduct a structured follow-up (treatment group). These dedicated officers will still conduct patrol work as usual, but will be officers trained in the enhanced techniques for the treatment group. These structured follow-ups include: locating and interviewing victims and witnesses both early on, and later, in the investigation; using of crime analysts to identify potential offenders or linked cases; collecting information from license plate recognition (LPR), and connecting with the investigative unit.
The main dependent variable for this application is to see if there is an increase in clearance rates for robberies in each of these cities. Additionally, by surveying victims from both the control and the treatment groups, the researchers will test if this enhanced investigation improves victims’ satisfaction with, and perceptions of, the police departments.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). ca/ncf

Date Created: September 13, 2019