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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.

Included with this title:

The password-protected Instructor Resource Site (formally known as SAGE Edge)
offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides. Learn more.

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

Online resources included with this text

The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides.
Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.

"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

Incredible Text, as usual for Sage.

Professor Matthew Cosby
Arts/Social Sciences Div, Univ Of New Mexico-Los Alamos
September 20, 2021
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.
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ISBN: 9781071886175

ISBN: 9781544308005