For the two dozen New York City police detectives tasked with investigating serious traffic crashes, the first question is determining whether a crime has taken place, reports the New York Times. With the murder rate at a historic low, police are examining more of these crashes, focusing new attention and resources on another manner of violent death in the streets. The specialized squad has been bolstered with more detectives, high-tech mapping tools, and a new mandate to investigate three times as many crashes this year as last. “For big cities, they're on the leading edge of the curve,” said Roy Lucke, a retired Chicago-area traffic officer now directing transportation safety programs at Northwestern University. Most cities think of traffic deaths as somehow less worthy of investigation, he said. “Our mantra has always been, 'Tell me how they're less dead,' ” he said.