|Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP)
ViCAP is excited to introduce the newest version of its ?software:? ViCAP-Web!
ViCAP-Web is a significant advancement in technology, allowing law enforcement agencies to directly submit their cases to ViCAP, as well as conduct searches of the ViCAP database system in order to determine if there are similar cases in other jurisdictions.
With the introduction of the new ViCAP-Web, ViCAP's mission remains the same: 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.
History of ViCAP?
Established by the Department of Justice in 1985, FBI-ViCAP serves as the national repository for violent crimes; specifically homicides, sexual assaults, missing persons, and unidentified human remains. Comprehensive case information submitted to FBI-ViCAP is maintained in the national database and automatically compared to all other cases in the database to identify similarities. Additionally, individual case submissions are analyzed by crime analysts through the application of analytical skills, education, specialized training, and research.
ViCAP is a nationwide data information center designed to collect, collate, and analyze crimes of violence. 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;
unidentified dead bodies, where the manner of death is known or suspected to be homicide; and
sexual assault cases.
The FBI-ViCAP national database captures for retrieval the following detailed administrative, investigative, and behavior-oriented data regarding violent crimes: Agency information, Victim information, Offender/Suspect information, Offender Time-line information, Modus Operandi, Dates and Exact Geographic Locations, Crime Scene information, Types of Trauma Inflicted on Victim, Weapon information, Sexual Activity, Vehicle information, Evidence Tracking, Narrative Summary, Holdback information (which is restricted to the submitting agency, the hub agency (if applicable), and FBI-ViCAP), and Attachments (photographs, crime scene diagrams, composites, etc.).
All criteria cases remain in the FBI-ViCAP national database indefinitely and are compared against all other cases. ViCAP crime analysts are assigned individual cases for more in-depth analysis based on geographic areas of responsibility. Analysts document their findings in the form of comprehensive Crime Analysis Reports (CARs), which are then provided to case investigators.
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 by coordinating communication between each agency. The multi-agency communication becomes especially important when the suspect(s) has traveled throughout the country. A very valuable benefit for establishing these lines of communication is the sharing of information and coordination of activities in order to eliminate duplication of efforts between agencies. While establishing these lines of communication between agencies, ViCAP also offers services in investigative support (e.g. time lines, NCIC offline searches, NLETS searches, investigative matrix, etc.), major case management consultation, and coordination.
When requested, ViCAP staff will prepare the "ViCAP Alert" notice for publication in the FBI's Law Enforcement Bulletin, Law Enforcement On-line Newsletter, and other publications. 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
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.
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. ViCAP analysts 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.
Recently (05/2004), ViCAP analysts matched three Florida missing persons to unidentified dead cases based on physical descriptions and verified by DNA comparisons.
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. The assigned 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.
Similarly, a Key West, Florida murderer, an avid chess player, was talking in jail about a west coast murder he committed. The case involved a homosexual, who was beat to death with a baseball bat. A search of the ViCAP system located the exact case. It was confirmed that he committed the west coast murder by a DNA comparison of a cigarette butt found in the hotel room murder site. Also, a chess piece was located at the murder site.
LEO Special Interest Group
Law Enforcement Online (LEO) is a network program accessed through the Internet and administered by the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division. It is only available to persons duly employed by a law enforcement, criminal justice, or public safety agency/department and whose position requires secure communication with other agencies. The LEO system provides a user friendly means of electronic communication that offers a secure transmission of sensitive but unclassified information throughout the world, a vehicle for exchange of information, on-line education programs, and participation in professional special interest and topically focused dialog.
LEO hosts several categories of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) which are controlled-access areas for specialized organizations or disciplines. Each SIG contains a public area accessible to all LEO users and may also contain a private (restricted access) area for members approved by the SIG?s moderator.
FBI-ViCAP maintains a Public SIG, which means the ViCAP SIG is open to any LEO member. The ViCAP SIG provides the following:
1) Access to the ViCAP Web Crime Database (by authorized users)
2) Information re ViCAP services
3) ViCAP Staff and Assignment charts
4) Featured ViCAP cases
5) ViCAP success stories
6) ViCAP Alerts
7) ViCAP newsletters
8) Forms and Reference material
9) The ViCAP events calendar
To obtain a LEO account, contact LEO at 304-625-5555, 1-888-334-4536, or firstname.lastname@example.org.