2014 | XXXVI | 423-450
Article title

Fotelowi detektywi w XXI wieku. Sposoby angażowania społeczeństwa do rozwiązywania spraw kryminalnych oraz korzyści i zagrożenia z tego płynące

Title variants
Armchair Detectives in the 21st Century. How the Public Can Help Solve Criminal Cases: The Benefits and Dangers
Languages of publication
This is the first article in the criminological literature to describe armchair detectives, i.e. non-professionals who solve criminal cases as a hobby. The phenomenon is mainly discussed in the context of contemporary means of communication, including the internet and social media. While these are increasingly important, this article focuses on more “traditional” types of activity as well. Citing examples from Poland and abroad, the authors come up with their own typology of this highly diversified group. The authors distinguish six ways in which armchair detectives engage in solving detective puzzles: 1) recognizing a person, place or thing; 2) reporting an incident; 3) OSINT; 4) the classic “Oh!”; 5) expert knowledge and skills; 6) and cold cases. The authors also discuss the benefits and threats posed by armchair detectives. These are analyzed from the standpoint of both law enforcement and the common good within the broad meaning of the term. The summary includes a suggestion that the phenomenon be studied under the paradigm of evidence-based policing. Their proposal is to empirically check the extent to which armchair detectives help detect crime and how effective their help is in investigations.
Physical description
  • M. Sullivan, Armchair detective, w: R. Herbert, C. Aird, J. Reilly, S. Oleksiw (red.), The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing, Oxford University Press, New York 1999
  • J. Simpson, E. Weiner, The Oxford English Dictionary, t. 1, Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press, New York–Oxford 1989
  • G. Strauss, Armchair detectives, w: C. Rolyson (red.), Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Salem Press, Pasadena, Calif. 2008
  • J. Błachut, A. Gaberle, K. Krajewski, Kryminologia, Wydawnictwo Arche, Gdańsk 1999
  • Z. Czeczot, T. Tomaszewski, Kryminalistyka ogólna, Comer, Toruń 1996
  • G. A. JamiesBruinsma, D. Weisburd (red.), Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Springer, New York 2014
  • J. Symons, Bloody Murder: From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel, Mysterious Press, New York 1992
  • D. Halber, The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths are Solving America’s Coldest Cases, Simon&Schuster, New York 2014
  • Opening a clear channel – The FBI on digital billboards, Federal Bureau of Investigation [online], http://www.
  • H.A. McAllister, Wanted Posters: A call for research, „The Open Criminology Journal” 2008, t. 1, nr 1–3
  • Digital billboards – big apple joins national initiative, Federal Bureau of Investigation [online], billboards-big-apple-joins-national-initiative
  • H. A. Macallister, B. A. Baiamonte, J. H. Ory, J. A. Sherer, The effect of wanted posters on prospective and retrospective memory, „Law and Human Behavior” 2011, t. 35, nr 2/04
  • J. Sher, One Child at a Time: The Global Fight to Rescue Children from online Predators, Random House Canada, Toronto 2007
  • K. Mroziewicz, Czas pluskiew, Wydawnictwo „Sensacje XX wieku”, Warszawa 2007
  • B. Stromczyński, P. Waszkiewicz, Biały wywiad w praktyce pracy organów ścigania na przykładzie wykorzystania serwisów społecznościowych, „Prokuratura i Prawo” 2014, nr 5
  • I. Krzywicka, Sąd idzie, Towarzystwo Wydawnicze „Rój”, Warszawa 1935
  • E. Żurek, Gorgonowa i inni, Książka i Wiedza, Warszawa 1973
  • S. Milewski, Ciemne sprawy międzywojnia, Iskry, Warszawa 2002
  • M. North, Act of Treason: The Role of J. Edgar Hoover in the Assassination of President Kennedy, Carroll & Graf Pub., New York 1991.
  • J. Kasprzak, B. Młodziejowski, Anatomia zabójstwa: nowa rekonstrukcja zamachu na prezydenta Johna F. Kennedy’ego, Wydawnictwo Muza, Warszawa 2004.
  • R. Greysmith, Zodiac, Berkeley Books, New York 1976
  • B. Kaysing R. Reid, We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle, Health Research, Pomeroy, Wash. 1976.
  • R. Turner, R. Kosa, Cold Case squads: Leaving no stone unturned, „Burreau of Justice Assistance Bul letin” 2003 (lipiec) [online],
  • K. Soothill, Armchair detectives and armchair thieves, „The Police Journal” 1998, t. 155, nr 71
  • L. Coleman, The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines, Paraview Pocket Books, New York 2004
  • R. Surette, Self-reported copycat crime among a population of serious and violent juvenile offenders, „Crime & Delinquency” 2002, t. 48, nr 1
  • T.J. Miles, Estimating the effect of America’s Most Wanted: a duration analysis of wanted fugitives, „Journal of Law and Economics” 2005, t. 281, nr 48.
  • J. Trainum, D.M. Havlin, A false confession to murder in Washington, D.C., w: K. Rosso (red.), Criminal Investigative Failures, CRC Press, Boca Raton 2009
  • K. Dowler, T. Fleming, S. L. Muzzatti, Costructing crime: Media, crime, and popular culture, „Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice” 2006, t. 48, nr 6
  • M. Grabowski, A. Zając, Dane, informacja, wiedza – próba definicji, Katedra Informatyki Akademii Ekonomicznej w Krakowie [materiał online], tad/APSI/cwiczenia/Dane_informacje_wiedza.pdf
  • A. Petrosino, R. Boruch, Evidence-Based Policy in Crime and Justice, w: Bruinsma, D. Weisburd (red.), Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Springer, New York 2014
  • A. Jamieson, A. Moenssens (red.), Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science, Wiley- Blackwell, Chichester–West Sussex 2009
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.