The Ideology of Homicide Detectives: A Cross-National Study

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Law and Justice

Publication Date



Ideologies help guide our behavior and thought processes and have been largely neglected when studying crime and criminal justice professionals. Intensive interviews were conducted with homicide detectives in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia to provide a view of their working beliefs and opinions concerning a number of issues. The areas questioned included (a) working environment, (b) causes of homicide, (c) television portrayal of homicide work, and (d) the death penalty. Within each area several questions were asked. Although homicide detectives in both cities and countries gave similar responses to many questions, they differed significantly in terms of the role of guns, particularly handguns, in homicide rates, the death penalty, and their relationship to the prosecutor/crown. Therefore, although their constellation of beliefs (ideologies) surrounding the above noted topics were in many ways similar, there were distinct differences. The areas of difference can be understood within the larger legal and cultural context.


This article was originally published in Homicide Studies. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Homicide Studies


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