Violent Criminal Apprehension Program

Violent Criminal Apprehension Program

Q: What is the history of ViCAP?

1985: The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) was created by the Department of Justice.

2002: The Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) started developing a web-enabled software for ViCAP.  The software enables non-FBI federal, state, and local ViCAP users to directly enter data into the national database located on a server in FBI controlled space.  Users can access the system via commercially available service providers and Law Enforcement Online (LEO).

2008: ViCAP made their database available to all law enforcement agencies through a secure internet link, providing real time access to the database and allowing agencies to enter and update cases directly into the database.

Q:  What is ViCAP?

The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) maintains the largest investigative repository of major violent crime cases in the United States. It is a web-based data information center designed to collect and analyze information about homicides, sexual assaults, missing persons, and other violent crimes involving unidentified human remains. The database compares information in an attempt to identify similar cases and help move investigations forward.

Q:  What is the mission of ViCAP?

ViCAP’s mission is to facilitate cooperation and coordination between law enforcement agencies and to provide support to those agencies in their efforts to apprehend and prosecute violent serial offenders, especially those who cross jurisdictional boundaries.

Q:  What is ViCAP’s caseload?

Since its creation by the Department of Justice in 1985, more than 4,000 law enforcement agencies have submitted cases to ViCAP, and there are currently over 82,000 cases in the database. Nearly 2,700 investigators and analysts are registered users of the system, and together they forge a powerful nationwide network of professionals collaborating on a daily basis.

Q:  How does ViCAP interact with other agencies?

ViCAP and the NCAVC’s support for state and local law enforcement agencies investigating violent crimes along the nation’s major highways resulted in the establishment of the Highway Serial Killings Initiative. Since 2006, this initiative has grown to include a nationwide matrix of more than 500 murder victims and a list of more than 200 potential suspects.

Crime analysts—specially trained to study the database with the goal of identifying serial offenders—have developed extensive timelines on potential highway serial killer suspects and have provided this information to law enforcement nationwide. ViCAP requests that law enforcement agencies forward any information about cases meeting any of the following highway serial killings criteria:

  • Homicide victims whose remains were recovered along a highway or location associated with a highway such as a rest stop, gas station, or truck stop;
  • Kidnapped or missing persons whose last known location was along a highway;
  • Victims of sexual assault with a connection to a highway or highway location; and
  • Truck drivers or other individuals undergoing investigation or arrested for murder, kidnapping, or sexual assault of one or more victims along a highway or at a location associated with a highway.


Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2010). Investigations and operations support. Retrieved from…

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2010). Investigative programs: Critical incident response group. Retrieved from

Presented by: Ashley DuVal

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