FREE GUIDE: Citizen Detective Tips by Paul Dettmann

Love true crime? Stuck for something to do? Want to make a difference?

The aspect of true crime I love more than anything is the possibility that someone with spare time can help solve a crime that has eluded the professionals. I wrote my free guide to help just those people, especially if you live in the UK. I'm updating it constantly, and you can get free updates.


What's the Catch?

There isn't one. I put this guide together based on my own experiences as an investigative journalist and Cold War expert. I realised that the same skills could be used to solve cold cases. I am developing a full, paid course, but it will take time. I want you to get this information today. This free guide will always be free, and I am constantly updating it. If you grab this today, you will get the future updates too.

Do the Police Want Help?

They certainly want the right kind of help, but it's easier for them to say 'no' to avoid encouraging unhelpful people. But they do encourage tip-offs and genuine leads even though they might not acknowledge you for weeks or months when you submit information. Be patient. Be persistent, but do not pester. Just because you are certain of a suspect does not mean that Police can find enough evidence to charge.

What are the Ground Rules?

I adapted these rules from the Murder Squad podcast: the golden rule is you must not name any suspects on social media or the internet or any other public forum, no matter what the reason. This risks vigilantes seeking them out and it might jeopardise a conviction. If you do find something useful, tell the local police force straightaway. And one from me: don't contact the friends or family of the victim. This is more of a strong suggestion for a beginner. Maybe in a year or two, you might have a good feeling for when and how to contact families to offer help. But for now, stay away. Learn your craft first.

Stay Safe

Not a question, but an obvious point. Billy Jensen suggests creating a new free email account and separate social media accounts for your crime detecting activities. I have done that, but not in a way that stops you from knowing who I am. I no longer believe in anonymity on the internet, I think it hides too much bad stuff. How can you trust me if you don't know who I am? But you don't need to know where I live to know that you can trust me. Also, I specialise in stone cold, really frozen cases, where the murderer won't be coming after me. There are too many cases where individuals have taken unnecessary risks and the reward, which is the reward of a job done well, is never worth it.

Okay, So Who Are You?

I am a freelance amateur writer and researcher. I started writing in the 1990s and in those days it was science fiction novels. These days I stick to nonfiction, podcasting and investigating stories with a big data element to them. My name is Paul Dettmann, sometimes known as P. C. DETTMANN and I live in Buckinghamshire, England, about half-way between London and Oxford.

Why Me? Why You?

If you find you're someone drawn to true crime, sooner or later you will usually get to thinking that you could investigate the crimes better than the police. This may not be true (yet) but it's frustrating to hear about a cold case, focus on the clues that were missed, and wish things had unfolded differently. I believe that anyone with time and persistence can learn some basic skills and get involved. Let's prove it!

FREE GUIDE: Citizen Detective Tips

What tools do you need to investigate cold cases? Apart from tenacity and patience, there are a ton of skills that can save wasted hours. Grab this free guide now!