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The Importance and Impact of Cold Case Units

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2019
3 pages
In this 5-minute video, law enforcement and forensic practitioners comment on the importance of committing resources to cold cases.
The comments note the dynamic nature of investigative and forensic techniques, so that cases that go unsolved under the investigative and forensic capabilities at the time of the crime can be solved with new investigative techniques available years later. This dynamic nature of forensic and investigative techniques requires that law enforcement agencies give high priority to obtaining and committing resources to ongoing analysis of cold cases. One commentator emphasizes that most offenders, particularly those who commit sexual assaults, do not stop their criminal behavior after one crime. This means that evidence in cold cases, particularly those that have DNA evidence, should be regularly compared with evidence obtained in recent crimes that may have been committed by the same offender who committed the cold case. The point being made in this video is that cold-case investigative units must receive ongoing resources that will sustain the regular examination of cold-case evidence to determine whether contemporary evidence from recent cases and newly developed forensic analytical capabilities may assist in resolving a cold case.

Date Published: July 1, 2019