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Evidence-Based Model Programs for Cold Case Units

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $358,353)

"Cold cases" are among the most difficult investigators confront. For a variety of reasons'lack of evidence, strained resources, ineffective investigation'a case becomes cold when initial efforts to solve it prove futile. In recent years, rates of clearance for all types of crime have plummeted. Lackluster rates of solution, combined with new technologies such as DNA and automated fingerprint matching, have prompted the police to form 'cold case' units, designed to address cases that stubbornly resist solution. Despite the growing popularity of 'cold case' units and the expenditure of significant resources to fund them, we know virtually nothing about the return on this investment. The current study will generate information in the following areas: a) current practices with regard to cold case investigations; b) those variables, especially existing DNA technologies, DNA database systems, and other forensic evidence, that enhance the solvability of cold cases; c) the level of resources required for successful cold case investigation; and d) further inquiry into an area that suffers from a general lack of evidence-based research'the entire investigative process.


Date Created: September 10, 2007