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detective

My Weekend as an Amateur Cold Case Detective

Nearly 300 amateur investigators joined law enforcement authorities in Seattle for a groundbreaking effort to “crowd solve” two crimes—one of them a murder—that have defeated detectives’ efforts for decades. Our reporter was there.

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crime scene

Solving Murders: Why Time Matters

The passage of time works against detectives in homicide cases, a Washington Post investigation found. Only 30 percent of arrests happened within 48 hours, which some experts have said is a common solution time for murder probes.

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crime scene

Fixing America’s Cold Case Crisis

Since 1980, the U.S. has recorded 248,933 unsolved homicides, and the number is growing ominously each year. An expert on cold-case investigations writes that a forthcoming federal “Best Practices Guide” offers a path forward—if police are willing to take it.

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How to Tackle the Nation’s Missing Persons Challenge

A federally funded database called NamUs provides free forensic and analytical resources for missing, unidentified and unclaimed person cases. But unless all states make it mandatory for use by local authorities, its full potential won’t be realized, say three Florida researchers.

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Why Solving Old Murders Can Help Prevent New Ones

Time is the most important resource for detectives examining the thousands of “cold cases” accumulating on police files since 1980. In the interest of public safety, mayors and police chiefs should make sure they get it, says a former deputy chief coroner.