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Criminal Investigations Today

Criminal Investigations Today
The Essentials

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January 2020 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Criminal Investigations Today: The Essentials examines the processes, practices, and people involved in the investigation of crime in a brief and accessible format that hones in on the key topics students actually need to know. Drawing from his vast experience in the field, author Richard M. Hough distills the essentials of criminal investigations and takes students through the in-depth processes of criminal investigations while maintaining a streamlined approach that allows for optimal student learning. The text’s focus on people within the investigative system is reinforced with running case studies and hands-on application.

Digital Resources
About the Author
Chapter 1 • Criminal Investigation Then and Now
Introduction: Criminal Investigation Then and Now

The Goals of Investigation

Types of Criminal Investigations

Four Stages of Criminal Investigation

Organizing the Investigative Unit

Task Force Investigations

Contemporary Law Enforcement and the Role of Criminal Investigation

Science and Technology in Criminal Investigation


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 2 • Forensic Evidence: The Crime Scene and the Laboratory

The Developing Science of Criminal Investigation

Methods of Collecting and Processing Evidence

Types of Physical Evidence and Its Processing

Equipment Utilized in Investigations

The Contemporary Forensic Laboratory


Documenting the Crime Scene and Actions

The CSI Effect


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 3 • People in the Process: Victims, Suspects, Witnesses, and Detectives




Witnesses and Informants





Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 4 • Managing the Criminal Investigation

Investigation as a Process

Preliminary Investigation

Case Assignment and Solvability Factors

Follow-Up Investigation

Supervising the Investigative Unit

Case Management Software

Pitfalls, Fallacies, and Sloppiness in Investigations

Developing an Ongoing Relationship With the Media

Improving Productivity


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 5 • Searches, Seizures, and Statements

Fourth Amendment

Search Warrants

Making the Arrest

Fifth Amendment

Suspect Statements

Lineups and Showups

Sixth Amendment


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 6 • Homicide, Death, and Cold Case Investigations

Definitions and Legal Classifications of Cases

Medical Death Classifications

Preliminary Investigation and First Officers on the Scene

Arrival of the Detectives

Medical Examiners, Coroners, and the Autopsy

Criminal Homicide Methods


Challenges in Death Investigations

Cold Cases

Serial and Mass Murder


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 7 • Assault, Battery, Robbery, and Sex Crimes

Assault and Battery


Sex Crimes


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 8 • Familial Crimes

Domestic Violence

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Child Abuse

Elder Abuse


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 9 • Burglary, Theft, White-Collar Crime, and Cybercrime



White-Collar Crime

Identity Theft



Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 10 • Drug Crimes, Organized Crime, and Gangs

Drug Crimes

Investigating Drug Crimes

Organized Crime



Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 11 • Terrorism and Homeland Security


Homeland Security


Key Terms

Discussion Questions

Chapter 12 • Criminal Investigation in Court

The Process: Screening and Filing

Evidentiary Issues


Ethical Issues

Plea Bargaining



Key Terms

Discussion Questions



Instructor Resource Site

SAGE Edge for instructors supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students with:
  • a password-protected site for complete and protected access to all text-specific instructor resources;  
  • test banks that provide a diverse range of ready-to-use options that save you time. You can also easily edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions;
  • editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course;
  • lecture notes that summarize key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions; 
  • career profiles from practitioners in the field that offer helpful career insight to students;  
  • carefully selected video and multimedia links which enhance classroom-based exploration of key topics; and
  • a course cartridge for easy LMS integration. 
Student Study Site

SAGE Edge for students enhances learning, it’s easy to use, and offers:
  • an open-access site that makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime; 
  • eFlashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts; 
  • eQuizzes that allow students to practice and assess how much they’ve learned and where they need to focus their attention; and 
  • carefully selected video and multimedia links which enhance classroom-based exploration of key topics. 

"This is very structured and hands-on experimental book for perspective students interested in policing and criminal investigations. This book introduces several very important and much-needed topics that are not typically discussed in a conventional text for criminal investigations. As a former practitioner, I would recommend this book to any criminal investigations class."

Chernoh M. Wurie
Virginia Commonwealth University

"This textbook is a great balance of theory and practical application. The book also incorporates real-world cases that help students grasp the concepts and apply the information they learn."

Kelly Sue Roth
Bloomsburg University

"This book offers a comprehensive yet concise look at criminal investigations. Topics including evidence collection, police legal powers, and interviewing are combined with strategies for investigating specific crimes to educate future practitioners and interested readers in the discipline’s concepts and best practices."

Scott Duncan
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

"Criminal Investigation Today is more streamlined…offering several new key concepts—one of the most exciting is the ‘case study’ addition to some of the chapters.  Students in criminal investigation classes are always excited to ‘solve the case’!"

Tiffany Morey
Southern Oregon University
Key features
  • Running cases that progress through different stages in select chapters give students a sense of “solving a case” as it makes its way through the system.
  • How It’s Done boxes that list key steps in specific types of investigations provide insight into the process of how criminal investigations move in a linear fashion. 
  • Explore This boxes examine relevant research on chapter topics to enhance students’ critical thinking skills.
  • Learning objectives serve as defining frameworks for forthcoming material and identify what students should learn and accomplish at the conclusion of chapters.
  • Chapter summaries that include policy implications of topics covered help demonstrate how learning objectives were met. 
  • Chapter-ending critical thinking questions encourage thought and debate about chapter topics to stimulate learning.

For instructors

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