Project provides in-depth assessments on shooting investigations and paves the way for national guidance and best practices for increasing public safety around gun violence
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Nationally, law enforcement agencies vary in their effectiveness to successfully solve or “clear” shootings cases. Some departments solve less than 10% of nonfatal shootings and less than 25% of fatal shootings annually.
In response to this need, RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, is leading the National Case Closed Project, an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The project provides targeted and foundational support to improve how law enforcement agencies and their partners respond to, investigate, and successfully clear violent crimes, with an emphasis on fatal and nonfatal shootings.
“This BJA-led project is an actionable way to improve public safety and prevent future shootings including acts of retaliation,” said Kevin J. Strom, Ph.D., who directs RTI’s Center for Policing Research and Investigative Science and leads the project. “One of the most exciting and impactful components is on better understanding how law enforcement can work with communities to improve trust and legitimacy, including participation as witnesses in these cases.”
This initiative encourages law enforcement agencies to apply for an in-depth agency assessment and targeted training and technical assistance (TTA) to improve clearance rates in these cases, at no cost. The assessments and TTA are performed by a team of experts in violent crime investigation, forensic science, technology, crime analysis, prosecution, and advocacy.
The project has selected its first set of participating agencies, with assessments planned for three agencies. Greensboro (NC) Police Department, Columbia (SC) Police Department, and Lansing (MI) Police Department were all selected during the first phase of applications submitted to the NCCP. Each of these cities has experienced a rise in shootings, which strain agency resources and further traumatize community residents. The project will provide direct support to these agencies while also creating capacity to guide how fatal and nonfatal shootings investigations can be improved across the nation.