A cold case is any criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency that has not been solved for (generally) at least one year and, as a result, has been closed from further regular investigations. A cold case may be closed for various reasons such as: previously available technology was not able to adequately analyze the evidence in order to form a conclusion; witnesses were hostile and uncooperative; various time constraints hindered the investigation; the originally assigned detectives had a heavy workload; a lack of worthwhile leads stalled the case.
Almost assuredly, every law enforcement agency in the United States and in foreign countries has cold cases on their books that could be reopened and solved. However, since agencies have limited amounts of manpower and resources, usually only the most terrible cold cases such as violent crime are reopened. Plus, violent crimes such as homicides and sexual assaults are well matched to being reopened as cold case reviews because such cases generally produce the most evidence. However, the decision to reopen a cold case is also dependent on many other factors including: the overall severity and cruelty of the crime; cooperativeness, whereabouts, and number of witnesses; age of the crime; amount and condition of the inventory (including physical evidence ) relevant to the case; whereabouts of previously identified suspects; and new technologies and tools that may help to determine evidence previously unable to be solved. Oftentimes, cases are reviewed and prioritized according to the likelihood of an eventual solution, with the highest priority cases given to those in which new witnesses, information, and evidence can now identify suspects.
Usually only the most talented and experienced law enforcement investigators are assigned to cold cases because of the thoroughness, persistence, and high motivation necessary to review the large numbers of detective notes, patrol reports, photographs, electronic information, laboratory documents, crime scene drawings and diagrams, witness lead sheets, and suspect information. Important characteristics required of cold crime members include: strong communication and interpersonal skills, seniority, strong research skills and deductive reasoning, creativity, patience, and enthusiasm. Sometimes a special "Cold Case Squad" may be organized, either temporarily or permanently, to deal solely with cold cases, especially when current cases prevent such older cases from being worked. In nearly all scenarios, cold case investigations present many varied and intense challenges to any law enforcement agency.
see also Cold hit; Physical evidence.
"Cold Case." World of Forensic Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 22, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cold-case
"Cold Case." World of Forensic Science. . Retrieved April 22, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cold-case
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.