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Birmingham Cold Cases

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Birmingham, Alabama Cold Cases

Cold cases are a disturbing reality in Birmingham, Alabama, where numerous missing or murdered people cases remain unsolved. A cold case is a crime that remains unsolved for an extended period of time, usually years or even decades. Despite efforts by law enforcement agencies, many of these cases remain open, leaving the families of the victims without closure.

The Birmingham Police Department estimates that there are over 500 unsolved crimes in the city, including roughly 200 homicides. These figures are disturbing and indicate that much work has to be done to ensure that victims' loved ones receive justice.

People of color and those from economically disadvantaged communities are overrepresented in these cases. The media rarely covers such incidents, and the relatives of the victims rarely have the means to launch their own probes.

NamUs is a national database that aids police departments and families of missing people in their efforts to locate and identify loved ones who have vanished. Around sixty missing person cases involving individuals who have been MIA for many years are still outstanding in Birmingham, Alabama, as reported by NamUs.

Time makes it difficult to settle these crimes since witnesses forget details, and evidence can vanish or deteriorate. There is optimism that some of these cases will be solved in the future, thanks to developments in forensic science and DNA analysis.

Organizations in the community and law enforcement can collaborate to bring attention to these unsolved cases and aid grieving families. Public events can be held to raise awareness, help families find their loved ones, and encourage anyone with information to come forward.

The victims' loved ones also require psychological and financial assistance as they deal with the aftermath of these unsolved incidents. Families of missing people can find assistance from groups like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Center for Missing and Unidentified People System.

By bringing families closure, making criminals face the consequences of their actions, and sending a message that justice will be done, solving cold cases can have far-reaching effects on a community. As an added bonus, resolving cold cases can teach law enforcement valuable lessons that can be applied to the future prevention and investigation of crimes of a similar nature.

Famous cold cases in Birmingham

The Birmingham Police Department uses many strategies, including its Cold Case Unit, to investigate and ultimately solve cold cases. Several examples follow:

Historical evidence is being reexamined using cutting-edge techniques like DNA and fingerprint analysis.
Conducting further suspect and witness interviews
Money for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a criminal
Sharing the message with other organizations, such as those that advocate for victims.

However difficult it has been, police in Birmingham have recently solved some cold cases. In some instances, new information has led to the perpetrator's arrest and conviction; in others, it has helped offer closure to the families of those who were lost.

Joseph Smedley
Joseph SmedleySuspicious Death, 2015
Asha Degree
Asha DegreeMissing, 2000

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.

What is Birmingham Police Department (BPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

Many methods for reopening cold cases have been implemented by the Birmingham Police Department (BPD). They include some of the following:
Re-examination of old cases using new technology: The BPD has made efforts to re-examine old cases using new forensic technology, such as DNA analysis and fingerprint identification, which were not available when the case was first investigated.
Cold Case Unit: The BPD has a dedicated cold case unit responsible for investigating these types of cases. The unit is composed of experienced detectives who specialize in solving cold cases.
Partnerships with other law enforcement agencies: The BPD has formed partnerships with other law enforcement agencies and community groups to help solve cold cases. These partnerships allow the department to share information and resources, which can be beneficial in solving cases.
Community involvement: The BPD encourages anyone with information about a cold case to come forward and speak with investigators. They also look to citizen detectives and members of the Uncovered community to help bring new information to light.
Advanced DNA analysis and crime scene reconstruction: The BPD also has implemented new techniques for collecting and analyzing physical evidence, such as advanced DNA analysis, which can help to identify suspects and links to other crimes.
Reviewing and updating the case files: The BPD reviews and updates the case files regularly, which can help bring new insight and new leads into the cases. You can find up-to-date information in our cold case database.
Social Media: BPD also uses social media platforms to reach out to the public and collect any information that could help solve the cold cases.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

Birmingham, Alabama has a number of resources accessible to help investigate and solve cold cases. They include some of the following:
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs): NamUs is a national database that helps law enforcement agencies and families of missing persons search for and identify missing persons. It contains information on missing persons, unidentified remains, and unsolved homicides.
The Birmingham Police Department Cold Case Unit: The Birmingham Police Department has a Cold Case Unit dedicated to investigating unsolved homicides and missing person cases. The unit is staffed with experienced detectives who use advanced forensic technology and techniques to solve cold cases.
Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama: Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization that allows members of the public to provide tips and information about crimes anonymously. It offers rewards for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of suspects.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC): The NCMEC is a non-profit organization that provides resources and support to families of missing and exploited children. It offers a hotline for reporting missing children and assists law enforcement agencies in investigating cases.
Alabama Attorney General's Office: The Alabama Attorney General's Office provides resources and support to law enforcement agencies in investigating cold cases. It has a Cold Case Unit with local agencies to solve unsolved homicides and missing person cases.
Private investigators: Private investigators may also be hired by families of victims to help investigate cold cases. They use a variety of techniques, such as interviewing witnesses, conducting surveillance, and reviewing case files and evidence.

Major cities surrounding Birmingham, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Atlanta, Georgia

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Top Birmingham Cold Cases