U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Video: Cold Case Investigation Units and Advances in Investigative Techniques

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2020
3 pages
In this 4-minute video, Sergeant Jason Moran of the Cook County Sheriff's Office (Illinois) discusses the current situation regarding "cold cases" in the United States, why it is important to establish cold case units, how current tools and technology can assist in solving cold cases, and the resources of the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) that are available to assist in solving cold cases.
Moran notes that cold case investigations are an underserved category of investigation, largely because sufficient resources (personnel, funding, and lab resources) are not available for effective investigations. Reasons noted for having Cold Case Units include concern for victims and their family members and crime deterrence from knowing that investigators will persist until crimes are solved. Resources that increase the effectiveness of cold case investigations include new development in forensic technology not available to police when the crime was committed, the evolution of databases on missing persons, more detailed and comprehensive criminal and crime databases, and more highly trained investigators. One of NIJ's resource tools is the National Missing and unidentified Persons System (NamUs), which contains information on long-term missing persons, unidentified deceased persons, and some unsolved murders.

Date Published: March 1, 2020