Criminal Investigation

6th Edition

A Method for Reconstructing the Past

Authors: James Osterburg Richard Ward
Paperback ISBN: 9781422463284
Imprint: Anderson
Published Date: 7th April 2010
Page Count: 680


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Criminal Investigation: A Method for Reconstructing the Past is written to educate readers about how detective work should be conducted and how to clarify the investigative process. The text includes a comprehensive discussion of the fundamentals of criminal investigations and the method for reconstructing an event or crime. The ideas presented in this book are based on three major sources of information: people, physical evidence, and records.

The authors organize the parts of the text into three sections. The first section covers the foundation and principles of criminal investigation, including responsibilities and attributes of an investigator; interpretation of physical evidence; discovery of crime scenes; and the preservation, collection and transmission of evidence. Included in this division of the text is the illustration and discussion of the methods of seeking and obtaining information from people and records; followed by the discussion about surveillance, witness identification and interrogation procedures. The second part of the book covers the application of the principles discussed in the first section to criminal investigation. It includes the procedures of reconstructing the past events and the crime, and constitutional law, which forms the appropriate methods of criminal investigation and the categories of crimes. The last section of the book presents numerous special topics such as the emergence of crime, terrorism and urban disorder, computers and technological crime, and enterprise crime.

The book is written for students, beginners, non-experts and professionals in the criminal justice field.

Key Features

  • Dozens of photographs, graphics, table, charts and diagrams supplement the text.
  • A glossary elaborates on terms found in the text, gathered into one handy reference.


Students and beginning professionals in the criminal justice field.

Table of Contents

Dedication Acknowledgments Preface Section I The Foundation and Principles of Criminal Investigation Part A Sources and Uses of Information 1 The Investigator: Responsibilities and Attributes; Origins and Trends 2 Physical Evidence: Development, Interpretation, Investigative Value 3 The Crime Scene: Discovery, Preservation, Collection, and Transmission of Evidence 4 People as a Source of Information Part B Seeking and Obtaining Information: People and Records 5 Records and Files: Investigative Uses and Sources 6 Interviews: Obtaining Information from Witnesses 7 Informants: Cultivation and Motivation Part C Follow-Up Measures: Reaping Information 8 Surveillance: A Fact-finding Tool—Legality and Practice 9 Eyewitness Identification: Guidelines and Procedures 10 Interrogation: Purpose and Principles 11 Interrogation of Suspects and Hostile Witnesses: Guidelines and Procedures Section II Applying the Principles to Criminal Investigation 12 Managing Criminal Investigations 13 Reconstructing the Past: Methods, Evidence, Examples 14 Crime and Constitutional Law: The Foundations of Criminal Investigation 15 Evidence and Effective Testimony 16 Homicide 17 Robbery 18 Rape and Other Sex Crimes 19 Burglary 20 Arson and Explosives Section III Special Topics 21 Increasing Threats and Emerging Crime Introduction Identity Theft Internet Fraud Exploitation of Women and Children Home Invasions Con Games Thefts of Paintings and Cultural Objects Copies and “Knockoffs” Body Parts School and Workplace Violence Satanism, Cults, and Ritual Crime Notes Supplemental Readings 22 Terrorism and Urban Disorder Introduction


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About the Author

James Osterburg

James W. Osterburg was long involved in the investigation process, actively engaged in the functions of teaching, research, and public service. For 20 years, Osterburg served as a sworn member of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), where he assisted in the investigation of thousands of serious crimes. He testified in municipal, state, and federal courts on numerous occasions, and taught at the NYPD Police Academy. His academic affiliations include professorships at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Professor Emeritus); Indiana University; the University of California, Berkeley; the Baruch School of Public Administration at the City University of New York; and Sam Houston State University (as Beto Professor of Criminal Justice). A frequent participant in educational symposia, he discussed criminal investigation, criminalistics, fingerprint characteristics, and scientific evidence, and authored books on criminalistics and scientific investigation. His articles were published in a variety of scholarly journals, including the Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science; the Journal of the Forensic Sciences; the Journal of the American Statistical Association; and the Journal of Police Science and Administration. A Fellow and past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Osterburg served on the ad hoc committee appointed by the Academy president to review the homicide of Robert F. Kennedy and to help resolve the controversy that arose subsequent to the conviction of Sirhan B. Sirhan regarding some of the firearms evidence. Most recently, Osterburg was awarded the 2010 Paul L. Kirk Award, the highest award conferred by the Criminalistics Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), and was named a Distinguished Fellow Honoree at the 2012 AAFS conference.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois

Richard Ward

Richard H. Ward is currently Associate Vice President for Research and Special Programs at the University of New Haven. He recently left the position of Dean of the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences there. A former New York City Detective, Dr. Ward is an internationally recognized expert on issues related to criminal investigation and global crime.

Affiliations and Expertise

Associate Vice President for Research and Special Programs, University of New Haven