Several law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices, and crime labs across the country have established innovative programs to review old cases. Often called "cold case units," these programs have enabled criminal justice officials to solve cases that have languished for years without suspects. Most frequently, DNA evidence has been the linchpin in solving these cases.
NIJ's Solving Cold Cases With DNA program offered funds to States and units of local government to identify, review and investigate Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Part 1 Violent Crime cold cases that have the potential to be solved through DNA analysis. For the purpose of this program, a "violent crime cold case" refers to any unsolved UCR Part 1 Violent Crime case for which all significant investigative leads have been exhausted. The funds can be used to locate and analyze biological evidence associated with these cases, as well as conduct CODIS hit follow-up travel and investigations.
Under this program, the National Institute of Justice has funded states and units of local government for funding to identify, review, and investigate "violent crime cold cases" that have the potential to be solved using DNA analysis and to locate and analyze biological evidence associated with these cases.
NIJ made awards under the Solving Cold Cases With DNA program from 2005 through 2014.
In 2019, NIJ shifted the focus of this program under the solicitation Prosecuting Cold Cases using DNA and Other Forensic Technologies. The new solicitation supports the prosecution of violent crime cold cases, including civil rights cold cases, where DNA has been used to identify a suspect(s).