The initial investigation of a robbery in the City of Miami usually begins with an encounter between the angry and frightened robbery victim and a patrol officer from the Miami Police Department, who has responded to a “call for service” to the robbery scene. This interview establishes the basic details of the situation, and the patrol officer’s report provides the basis for the followon investigation into the crime. The initial interview actually determines the type of crime involved - a robbery, entailing a face-to-face, potentially violent situation involving theft of property, as opposed to a burglary situation in which property is stolen without the direct threat of harm by the criminal. At this juncture, the experience, expertise and training of the Robbery Unit’s investigators becomes critical in all aspects of the ensuing investigation, eventually bringing the criminal to justice.
The Robbery Unit is an element of the Criminal Investigations Division’s Criminal Investigations Section. The personnel assigned to the Unit are responsible for conducting criminal investigations into a range of crimes against persons in the City of Miami, including armed robberies, bank robberies, home invasions, extortions, carjackings as well as kidnappings. The investigators assigned to the crime will review the patrol officer’s report, conduct in depth interviews with the victims, probing for that vital detail that will be key to guiding the investigation, and collect all evidence related to the crime. They will also discuss the robbery with crime analysts in an effort to uncover robbery trends in specific neighborhoods, focus attention on robbery “hot spots” and possibly identify suspects identified in similar robbery situations. In some situations, the investigators will identify suspects and initiate surveillance operations focused on specific suspects. The ultimate desired outcome of these activities will be the apprehension and arrest of the individual (or individuals) responsible for the crime. This does not mark the end of the investigator’s responsibilities. There are comprehensive reports to be prepared, and the investigator must assist in the successful prosecution of the criminal, including testifying at the trials.
Investigators from the Robbery Unit are active participants in a series of periodic interagency meetings with detectives, investigators, and analysts from neighboring law enforcement organizations. These meetings provide a forum for sharing information and expertise related to robbery crimes throughout the jurisdictions bordering on the City of Miami. Robbery crime trends are reviewed, similar “MO’s” are discussed, and critical information on suspects is shared. The professional relationships that are developed at these sessions are invaluable, and the intelligence shared among the participants often leads to the solution of particularly difficult crimes.