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Atlanta Cold Cases

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Atlanta, Georgia Cold Cases

Around half a million people call the city of Atlanta, Georgia home. Although though at first glance it appears to be a booming metropolis, there are a number of unsolved cases of murder and disappearance that plague the area. Families and loved ones are left in limbo and anguish when these cases drag on for years or even decades without resolution. You may learn about the frequency and difficulty of these cold cases in Atlanta from the data below.

The APD reports that there are currently over a thousand unsolved homicide cases in Atlanta, some of which date back to the 1970s. Among of these, about 200 are considered "cold cases," meaning they have been unsolved for at least three years. Several disappearances and missing persons cases have likewise gone cold and have not been solved.

Atlantis has had about 2,000 murders since 1980, or about 40-50 each year on average. Yet, homicide rates have changed throughout time, rising sharply in the early 1990s before leveling off in more recent decades.

Because of the absence of tangible evidence and credible witnesses, investigating cold cases is notoriously difficult. Several of these crimes occurred in the '80s and '90s, when DNA testing and other modern forensic methods were not yet in use. The inability to locate and question eyewitnesses is compounded by the fact that some incidents may have included people who have passed away or relocated.

The absence of funds set aside to investigate cold cases is another obstacle. Due to manpower constraints, detectives who are currently working on ongoing cases are typically tasked with investigating cold cases for the APD. A result of this is that it might be challenging for detectives to give cold cases the attention they need.

The APD has overcome obstacles and made headway in solving cold cases in the city. For the past few years, the agency has established a special unit to examine and reexamine cold cases. In certain instances, investigators have been able to make significant headway thanks to new leads or technological advancements, resulting in arrests and convictions.

Famous cold cases in Atlanta

Still, a lot of progress has been made. Almost 200 cases from the 1980s and 1990s have yet to be solved as of 2021, leaving many families without closure. The APD has asked members of the public to come forward with any leads they may have on these crimes. The agency has also made use of various online mediums to spread the word about cold cases in the hopes of finding fresh leads or witnesses.

The APD isn't the only group trying to shed light on cold cases and provide assistance to bereaved families; several nonprofits do the same thing. For instance, in Georgia, local law enforcement agencies and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's (GBI) Cold Case Unit collaborate to investigate and solve cold cases.

In sum, unsolved cases of homicide and disappearance continue to plague Atlanta. There are still many cold cases from the 1980s and 1990s, despite efforts by the APD and other groups. The community as a whole feels the effects of the lack of resolution for the families and loved ones of the victims. Even if there has been some improvement in the last few years, more time and energy are still required to solve these cases and bring individuals who have suffered justice.

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 Atlanta Police Department (APD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

When it comes to researching cold cases, the Atlanta Police Department (APD) employs a variety of techniques. Among these methods are:

Evidence will be reexamined and reanalyzed by detectives, who will look through everything they found during the original investigation and then use any new tools and methods they have at their disposal.

The APD uses DNA testing and other forensic techniques to re-examine physical evidence collected at the site of a crime, such as fingerprints, blood samples, and hairs.

Investigators will conduct follow-up interviews with previously interviewed witnesses and suspects to glean any further information that may be useful in solving the case.

The APD uses many methods, including the Crime Stoppers program and social media, to solicit information from the public and follow up on leads and tips.

In order to acquire information and resources to solve the case, the APD may collaborate with other agencies and professionals, such as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The APD has a special unit whose job it is to investigate and review cold cases.

The APD also requests the public's help in solving crimes by reporting any leads they may have. As part of their Crime Stoppers initiative, they provide monetary prizes for information that leads to an arrest or indictment in any crime case, including cold ones.

The APD also collaborates closely with victim advocacy groups and other non-profits to aid the families of those who have gone missing or been murdered. Several of these groups provide counseling, legal aid, and other services to help victims' families deal with the loss of a loved one and the complexities of the criminal justice system.

In general, the APD has a multipronged strategy to investigate unresolved cases, including cold cases, and collaborates extensively with other agencies and the community to acquire information and ultimately provide closure to these instances.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

As a result of the city's many resources, cold cases can be solved in Atlanta. Among these are:

There is a special team inside the Atlanta Police Department called the Cold Case Unit whose sole purpose is to track down leads in cold cases including murders and disappearances. As a means of reviving cold cases, they use forensics, witness testimony, and other informational tools.

The Cold Case Unit of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looks into cold cases from all throughout the state, including those in Atlanta. Together with collaborating with local law enforcement, they employ cutting-edge forensic tools to help solve crimes.

The Office of the District Attorney for Fulton County has a special unit devoted to investigating cold cases of homicide and prosecuting those responsible. They collaborate with law enforcement to investigate fresh avenues of inquiry and solve crimes through cutting-edge forensic methods.

The nonprofit group Crime Stoppers Atlanta collaborates with law enforcement to pay prizes for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone can ring in with anonymous tips concerning cold cases.

There is a group in Georgia called the Georgia Innocence Project that aims to free innocent people from prison; they don't focus on cold cases in particular, but they do help people who were unfairly convicted. These could be helpful in situations where fresh evidence has surfaced that could prove a defendant's innocence.

In all, Atlanta and its surrounding territories have access to a wealth of knowledge and support mechanisms thanks to these resources.

Major cities surrounding Atlanta, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia
Decatur, Georgia
Alpharetta, Georgia
Roswell, Georgia
Athens, Georgia

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