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Richard Valdemar

Richard Valdemar

Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

How to Solve Gang Homicides When Nobody's Talking

Follow these steps in the 24 hours after a homicide, and you'll improve your odds of solving the crime.

September 08, 2010  |  by Lou Savelli - Also by this author

Many officers have registered confidential informants they utilize for unrelated cases, especially drug cases, and those informants may have pertinent information on the recent act of violence or those involved (victim or suspect). Unofficial or unregistered informants can be just as valuable in assisting the police in developing information.

These informants should be deployed to the streets to acquire any information that could assist in the solving of crimes, especially homicides. Officers should also contact Parole and Probation and ask those officers to talk to their existing confidential informants and question parolees and probationers.

Talk to existing confidential informants in the jails and prisons. Cultivate sources in the jails and prisons connected with the community. While incarcerated, inmates can make phone calls to obtain information. People on the street often talk to those in jails and prisons and keep each other informed.

Telephone, text-message, or e-mail tip lines are effective tools in gathering information from the public, but these lines must be advertised to the public. People must know how to contact the tip lines and understand their calls will be remain anonymous. Reward money is also an effective way to stimulate cooperation from the public. These tip lines have been effective tools for many major cities such as New York and Chicago.

Relentless pursuit of a suspect should be the norm. The longer you maintain interest and pressure, the faster you'll make things happen.  People will come forward and you will start developing useful information. In every investigation, relentless pursuit should be deployed until every perpetrator is apprehended.

Media utilization is another effective tool to let the public know that a homicide has occurred. It often results in calls from witnesses and the acquisition of tips and investigative leads. Wanted posters, crimes stories, and police blotter sections in print media, radio, and television has consistently assisted police in solving crimes. Another important utilization for the media is the 'advertising' of police success stories. It is important for the police to release 'good' arrests and 'police community' events to build positive community perception because it leads to trust and better community assistance.

It is easy to say that the community does not trust the police and refuse to help solving crimes such as homicides but it is incumbent upon the police to better their relationships with the community for a host of obvious reasons.

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