Citizen Detective

Starting your own investigation into a cold case can take many forms. Uncovered is committed to providing resources to digital volunteers, family advocates, and citizen solvers to become a citizen detective and to uncover answers in cold cases with the help of our citizen detective website and the resources held within.

The big question now is, what are citizen detectives? Billy Jensen, author of Chase Darkness with Me’ and host of ‘Murder Squad‘ provides us with a clear citizen detective definition. Billy Jensen describes a citizen detective as “an individual who devotes his or her time and expertise to aid in the solving of a crime, without compensation or expectation of reward”. This is the true sentiment and reasoning why a citizen detective’s meaning can be different for each individual. A recent survey from Uncovered relayed that from the 500 people interviewed an overwhelming response to getting involved in solving a cold case is proximity.

How To Become a Detective

The more traditional career for those interested in solving cold cases is typically found within law enforcement, along the lines of leading a detective career. How to become a detective is laid out clearly while researching police detective requirements. These requirements vary from state to state, but almost always include the requirement of a high school diploma or GED, and have prior experience as a police officer.

A seemingly more common, yet less traditional hobby for those interested in solving cold cases is becoming a self-identified citizen sleuth or citizen detective. Although there is no clear outline for how to become a citizen sleuth, Uncovered has created a free Citizen Detective Guide that will assist you on your journey as citizen sleuths. One of the largest sleuthing communities is within the citizen detective Reddit community.

Consider this

More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.

Citizen Detective Podcast

Citizen detective podcasts, also known as true crime podcasts, are one of the most popular podcast genres at the moment. The hosts of these podcasts have a great range of histories and careers, some have a background in law enforcement or the judicial system, while others have a career in investigative journalism; all with the underlying interest in being a citizen detective. Most of these podcast hosts and their listeners hold great pride in their community when they see citizens solving crimes through doing research into crimes, especially cold cases. A prime example of one of these communities is the many web sleuths Reddit users, who work diligently to find new information on cases and aid each other in their search for answers. Another example is the website Websleuths, filled with self-proclaimed web sleuths. What is a web sleuth exactly? Although there isn’t an exact definition for a web sleuth, they often do the same work as citizen detectives on other websites and communities, speculating about unsolved crimes in order to attempt to find the answers needed to solve a crime.

Citizen Detective Review

An easy way to dive headfirst into the true-crime community is to become a citizen detective. Citizen detectives review evidence, timelines, locations, and people involved in unsolved cases, and use their own special skills to try to connect dots that haven’t been connected by law enforcement using every resource they have available to them. Citizen detectives can be compared to a private investigators, in some ways, and are active all over the world, including, but not limited to, citizen detectives in the United States, Europe, Canada, and citizen detective Australia.

One way to really put your citizen detective skills to use, or to make it your career, is to become a private investigator. Although the steps towards becoming a private investigator vary from country to country, one constant remains, which is the need for citizenship in the country you live in and want to work in. The requirements and steps on how to become a private investigator in Australia, for example, are as follows. In order to become a private investigator in Australia, you must first gain your Australian citizenship, as well as earning your high school diploma or approved equivalent, as well as keeping a clean criminal record, and taking a government private investigator course in Australia. The average private investigator salary in Australia ranges from $50,000 AUD to $100,000 AUD, depending on experience and skill.

Citizen Detective Book

Billy Jensen is a true-crime expert and investigative journalist who focuses on unsolved cases of missing and murdered people. He is most known for his investigative work with retired cold case investigators, Paul Holes and Billy Jensen podcast, The Murder Squad, as well as his citizen detective book, ‘Chase Darkness With Me’. ‘Chase Darkness With Me’ focuses on Billy Jensen’s investigation into serial killer Terry Peder Rasmussen, who killed three girls in New Hampshire before their bodies were found in barrels in a state park. On May 6, 2019, police announced that the three individuals had been positively identified as Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch and her two daughters, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn and Sarah Lynn McWaters. Billy Jensen’s bodies in barrels investigation focused not only on discussing the case but also explaining his thoughts on whether Rasmussen had killed other people. Uncovered’s Citizen Detective guide is also a great reference for citizen detectives.

Citizen Detective Guide Cover

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