Criminologist slams OPP for 'retrograde' handling of death probe
Homicide expert Michael Arntfield says police probing a body found with a fridge near a Lake Erie village are doing it all wrong by saying there’s no threat to the public and withholding details of the case.
The former police officer, now a university professor and author of several books on crime investigations, including Murder City, documenting unsolved London homicides between 1959 and 1984, said police are doing a disservice to their investigation and Ontario residents by releasing few to no details of their probe into a human remains found with a refrigerator part way down a steep bluff near Port Burwell on Monday.
“You need a progressive media strategy or else you will have people indulging in guesswork,” Arntfield said.
Local residents of the cottage enclave an hour southeast of London — where OPP were canvassing local businesses for surveillance video Thursday — have not even been told whether the remains have launched a homicide investigation. No new updates were available Thursday, OPP said.
“Ninety per cent of all crime that is solved is solved through some form of citizen engagement,” Arntfield said. “And the public can’t help if it doesn’t know what it’s looking for or they are not told or used; it’s frustrating.”
Forces in other regions such as Toronto, he said, are “very transparent, very timely and very contemporary in terms of tactics in media.”
“A lack of sharing of information is retrograde,” he said. “And antithetical to what is widely understood in North America to be accepted policies with respect to homicide investigation, especially in a small community.”
But, he said, it’s not surprising.
“It’s par for the course … this is practice with all cases with the provincial police particularly — they have a reputation for this, even among other police agencies,” he said.
Arntfield also takes issue with a statement by police that the incident is “isolated” and that there is no risk to public safety. On Thursday, OPP again stated there was no threat to public safety.
“They can’t (say it). It’s absolutely absurd,” he said. “Normally you would say no need of alarm or risk to the public if someone is in custody or the working theory is based on a preponderance of evidence that the victim was targeted for personal reasons and normally, that entails someone being arrested promptly and it’s not a random act.
“But when you have no information, you are left to speculate …that does more harm than good in an investigation.”https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/cri ... eath-probe