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National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC)

Posted by buffy on: Friday 6 July 2001

The mission of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) is to combine investigative and operational support functions, research, and training in order to provide assistance, without charge, to federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies investigating unusual or repetitive violent crimes. The NCAVC also provides support through expertise and consultation in non-violent matters such as national security, corruption, and white-collar crime investigations.

The experienced FBI Special Agents and other professionals who comprise the NCAVC staff provide advice and support in a variety of investigative matters and other law enforcement related functions. Typical cases for which NCAVC services are requested include child abduction or mysterious disappearance of children, serial murders, single homicides, serial rapes, extortions, threats, kidnappings, product tampering, arsons and bombings, weapons of mass destruction, public corruption, and domestic and international terrorism. The operational services of the NCAVC are supported by research and training programs. Requests for NCAVC services are typically facilitated through NCAVC coordinators assigned to each FBI field office.

To accomplish its mission, the NCAVC is organized into three components:

*Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) -- East/West Regions;
*Child Abduction Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC); and
*Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP).

Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) -- East/West Regions

The mission of the BAU is to provide behavioral based investigative and operational support by applying case experience, research, and training to complex and time-sensitive crimes, typically involving acts or threats of violence. The program areas addressed include Crimes Against Children, Crimes Against Adults, Communicated Threats, Corruption, and Bombing and Arson Investigations. The BAU receives requests for services from Federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies. Response to these requests for BAU assistance are facilitated through the network of field NCAVC coordinators. BAU services are provided during on-site case consultations, telephone conference calls, and/or consultations held at the BAU with case investigators.

BAU assistance to law enforcement agencies is provided through the process of "criminal investigative analysis." Criminal investigative analysis is a process of reviewing crimes from both a behavioral and investigative perspective. It involves reviewing and assessing the facts of a criminal act, interpreting offender behavior, and interaction with the victim, as exhibited during the commission of the crime, or as displayed in the crime scene. BAU staff conduct detailed analyses of crimes for the purpose of providing one or more of the following services: crime analysis, investigative suggestions, profiles of unknown offenders, threat analysis, critical incident analysis, interview strategies, major case management, search warrant assistance, prosecutive and trial strategies, and expert testimony.

In addition to the above services, the BAU staff produced the "Child Abduction Response Plan" to assist investigators faced with these challenging and time-sensitive investigations. Recently, the BAU released "The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective" report to guide school administrators, teachers, parents, and law enforcement in identifying and evaluating threats in our schools. This report is available in the Library at www.fbi.gov. The BAU maintains a reference file for experts in various forensic disciplines such as odontology, anthropology, entomology, or pathology.

In April 2000, the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Center sponsored the Workplace Violence Intervention Research Workshop. The goal of this workshop was to examine issues related to violence in the workplace and to develop recommended research strategies to address this public health problem. The workshop brought together 37 invited participants representing diverse constituencies within industry, organized labor, municipal, state and federal governments, and academia. Workplace Violence--A Report to the Nation is the product of this effort.

Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC)

The Morgan P. Hardiman Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC) was established as part of Public Law 105-314, the Protection of Children From Sexual Predators Act, passed by Congress on October 30, 1998. The legislation provides that the Attorney General shall establish within the FBI's NCAVC a CASMIRC in order to provide investigative support through the coordination and provision of federal law enforcement resources, training, and application of other multidisciplinary expertise, and to assist federal, state, and local authorities in matters involving child abductions, mysterious disappearances of children, child homicide, and serial murder across the country. Therefore, the overall strategic goal of CASMIRC, as set forth in the legislation, is to reduce the impact of these crimes.

Additionally, CASMIRC has been tasked to accomplish the following:

improve the investigation of major violent crimes through the establishment and coordination of CASMIRC with federal, state and local authorities;

provide, if requested by a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, on-site consultation and advice;

establish a centralized repository based upon case data reflecting child abductions, mysterious disappearances of children, child homicides, and serial murder submitted by state and local agencies;

increase the efficiency of the FBI's NCAVC as an operational entity designed to provide operational support functions to any law enforcement agency confronted with a child abduction, mysterious disappearance of a child, child homicide, or serial murder;

improve the behaviorally based operational support services provided by the FBI in an attempt to reduce incidences of violent crime;

identify and prioritize those areas of research necessary to address existing and emerging violent crime problems in the areas of child abductions, mysterious disappearances of a child, child homicide, and serial murder; and,

provide, in coordination with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, appropriate training to federal, state, and local law enforcement in matters regarding child abductions, mysterious disappearances of children, and child homicides.

Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP)

VICAP's mission is to facilitate cooperation, communication, and coordination between law enforcement agencies and provide support in their efforts to investigate, identify, track, apprehend, and prosecute violent serial offenders.

What is VICAP?
VICAP is a nationwide data information center designed to collect, collate, and analyze crimes of violence - specifically murder. Cases examined by VICAP include:

solved or unsolved homicides or attempts, especially those that involve an abduction; are apparently random, motiveless, or sexually oriented; or are known or suspected to be part of a series;

missing persons, where the circumstances indicate a strong possibility of foul play and the victim is still missing; and,

unidentified dead bodies where the manner of death is known or suspected to be homicide.
For VICAP to work effectively, it needs an invitation and coordination with local law enforcement. Therefore, the FBI provides, free of charge, the software to set up the VICAP database. The program has been embraced by many agencies, with busier operations in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, and Kansas City. Other cities, including New York City, are in the process of becoming fully operational.

The Process
Cases with an arrested or identified offender can be submitted to the VICAP system by local law enforcement investigators for comparison and possible matching with unsolved cases.

Once a case is entered into the VICAP database, it is compared continually against all other entries on the basis of certain aspects of the crime. The purpose of this is to detect signature aspects of homicide and similar patterns of modus operandi (MOs), which will, in turn, allow VICAP personnel to pinpoint those crimes that may have been committed by the same offender. If patterns are found, law enforcement agencies involved will be notified.

Furthering Law Enforcement Cooperation
When a pattern of criminal activity is discovered, for example a serial murder suspect has been identified, VICAP can then assist law enforcement agencies with by coordinating a multi-agency investigative conference. The multi-agency conference becomes especially important when the suspect or suspects have traveled throughout the country. A very valuable product of prior conferences was the coordination of activities such as search warrants, interview matters, and laboratory testing.

VICAP also offers services in investigative support (e.g., timelines, investigative matrix, etc.), major case management consultation and facilitation, and training in crime analysis.

When requested, VICAP staff will prepare the "VICAP Alert" notice for publication in the FBI's Law Enforcement Bulletin. These notices typically address offender descriptive data, crime(s), background, MO, maps showing travel and dates, photographs of the offender and vehicles, and the name and telephone number of a contact person in the requesting agency.

To correspond with VICAP, you may write to:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Critical Incident Response Group
FBI Academy
Quantico, VA 22135

A Timeless Tool
The VICAP database is effective in solving crimes from the present and the past. Law enforcement may enter cases that occurred in 2000, the 1980s or even the 1950s; any case that law enforcement feels VICAP can assist in may be offered.

Case Assistance
Rafael Resendez-Ramirez - A Former "Ten Most Wanted" Fugitive
VICAP became involved in the investigation of Ramirez who would eventually be the suspect in various crimes in Texas and Kentucky. When Texas authorities first learned that two Texas cases were possibly linked by a common offender, VICAP was contacted. Based on certain behaviors and methodology of the offender in their two cases, VICAP was able to tell them of a similar case in Kentucky that had occurred two years before. Investigators followed up with a DNA analysis which matched the cases, and this became the catalyst for authorities to realize they had a national serial offender on the loose. VICAP assisted the investigation by providing the Texas authorities with other possibly related cases occurring elsewhere in the United States.

In The Present, Solving The Past
VICAP continues to be used to solve crimes from the past. In 1989 investigators from Pennsylvania entered a case from 1951 into the VICAP database -- In this case a man was found guilty of murdering a young girl. Not long after, investigators from Illinois entered an unsolved case from 1957, in which an approximately eight year old girl was murdered. Analysts in VICAP noticed similarities in the two cases. Due to these similarities and other related evidence, detectives in Illinois were able to solve a crime that occurred almost 40 years ago and finally resolve a terrible mystery for the parents.

From East to West
VICAP assisted in another case that linked unsolved crimes separated by 3000 miles. In November 1987, a Norwegian National was last seen in New York City. Foreign law enforcement personnel submitted the case to VICAP. A VICAP analyst saw that later in the same month in 1987 a body was found in California, a case that was never solved. However, through VICAP's assistance, investigators compared dental records and discovered that the body found in California was that of the man last seen in New York.

Courtesy of FBI Internet Resources

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