Colorado Using “Cold Case Cards” To Generate Tips From Inmates


For several years, law enforcement officials have been putting facts and photos from unsolved crimes in front of prisoners’ eyes by printing them on decks of cards, hoping to generate leads. NPR says Colorado is the latest state to produce the cold case cards. Cold case analyst Audrey Simkins of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation says the department has put out one set of cards and is creating two more for release next month. In Indiana, cold case decks are the only kind sold inside the state’s 27 prison facilities. “A program that allows the case to be seen and viewed by a lot of people who may have input or information really just gets the case moving forward and allows the investigators to work on whatever leads may come in,” Simkins says.

Colorado has nearly 1,600 cold cases,defined as cases unsolved 3 years after the crime. Officials sifted through those cases to find the most likely candidates for a photo and description to print on the cards’ faces. The decks are generating tips, although none of the cases on the first deck have been solved since the cards were issued in the fall. “We’ve gotten about four dozen tips so far,” Simpkins says. “I think the fact that the phones are ringing and information’s coming in where it wasn’t before is a huge success for us.”

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