The FBI Uniform Crime Report indicates that there are around 250,000 unsolved murders in the United States, a number that rises by around 6,000 new cases annually. When a case is opened, the hope is that local law enforcement will thoroughly investigate and solve the case in a reasonable amount of time. Depending on the complexity of the case and department’s case load, this can take anywhere from days, weeks, months, and even years. Sometimes, the case is never solved and remains open for further investigation, which is known as a cold case. When time goes by and leads do not provide answers, it can be frustrating and painful for the victim’s loved ones. This is when a private investigator can help assist with cold cases. Let’s take a look at how PIs can help police officers solve these types of cases.
1. A Fresh Perspective
Typically, one or two police investigators are assigned to a case. When a case has been thoroughly investigated for a long time, it can be challenging to see new details and perspectives. This is like anything in life – if you spend a lot of time working on something, it can be hard to see subtle things like a misspelled word as a writer or new lead in a case. A private investigator can provide a fresh perspective to see a cold case in a new light and possibly identify new evidence needed to solve a case.
2. New Focus
Since police departments only have so much time and budgets, it can be difficult to fully invest time into a cold case when there are active cases that pop up constantly. When cases collect dust in the file cabinets, this is when PIs can take a look at a cold case. As private citizens, they will have the time, budget, and resources to fully focus on a family’s case that is yet to be solved. In turn, this can help encourage other investigators to take a look at an old case again.
3. Call-In Campaigns
When a private investigator is working on a cold case, one helpful approach they use is call-in campaigns. This is where a PI hosts an event informing the public that the investigation is being worked on by a private investigator, rather than law enforcement. PIs will encourage people to call them about new information and potential leads. Some people are not comfortable talking to police officers because they are afraid of them, don’t trust them, or have had negative experiences in the past. No matter what the reason, a call-in campaign can be the ticket to unfolding new essential information about a case.
4. Social Media Presence
One of the benefits of social media is being able to attract attention for a cold case to a large group of users. There are FB groups that follow cold cases and can help promote interest in a cold case and assist with finding new leads. The PI will likely receive a lot of feedback and interest in a case. While most people want to help, there will likely be some information that is not realistic nor helpful for solving an open case. Indeed, private investigators will have to separate the helpful information from the sources that are too far-fetched to be useful.
5. Communicate with Local Law Enforcement
While law enforcement must always maintain the integrity of cases, PIs with previous law enforcement backgrounds will be able to use their contacts to find out about new leads and possible evidence. It’s common for PIs to have a background in law enforcement. Indeed, this background can pay off when trying to solve a cold case.
6. Right Timing
Like any case, timing is everything. For child kidnapping cases, this is a time sensitive matter that is a top priority. For cold cases, it can be frustrating when leads dry up and the case doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. However, in certain situations, time can be in the case’s favor. For example, witnesses will naturally change with time, such as new relationships and jobs, as well as feeling guilty about not providing key evidence for a case. Indeed, opening up a cold case at the right time will help PIs and law enforcement discover new information and witnesses.
As you can see, private investigators play a key role in helping law enforcement work on cold cases. These sometimes decade old mysteries are better solved with new perspectives. PIs have the advantage of being able to fully invest their time and energy into solving a case, which is why families across the nation have hired a PI when their case is still unsolved. If you have a case that needs to be solved, contact PATRIOT Backgrounds and Investigations today, the best Florida private investigators. Our expert team has decades of law enforcement experience that we have taken to the corporate world to help individuals, families, and companies across Florida.