'Snitches get stitches?': telling tales on homicide detectives

Westmarland, Louise (2016). 'Snitches get stitches?': telling tales on homicide detectives. In: Hviid Jacobsen, Michael and Walklate, Sandra eds. Liquid Criminology; Doing imaginative criminological research. Oxford: Routledge, pp. 49–64.

URL: https://www.routledge.com/Liquid-Criminology-Doing...


As research topics in criminology go, murder is a tough one. It occurs with some frequency but little regularity, making it difficult to predict where and when it will take place. Murder scenes are often ‘closed’ to outside view as the integrity of evidence at the scene could be compromised, especially as forensic techniques become more capable of detecting minute traces. The problem for researchers is to find a ready supply of suspicious deaths and a receptive gatekeeper. This chapter reflects on a study of homicide detectives working in a small corner or ‘District’ of the US capital where murder is a regular occurrence. With around 500 deaths per year across the city, mostly in the African-American ghettos, this was a ‘land of the dead’, cynically dubbed ‘the killing fields’ by the homicide squad detectives.

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