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Chicago Cold Cases

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Chicago, Illinois Cold Cases

With a population of about 2.7 million, Chicago, Illinois is the third-largest city in the United States. Sadly, like many major cities, Chicago has a high number of missing persons and homicides that have yet to be solved. Some of these incidents occurred as far back as the 1980s, and they continue to cause worry and anguish to those closest to the victims even today. The following numbers shed light on the frequency and severity of such instances in Chicago.

There have been more than 14,000 homicides in Chicago since 1980, or around 500 each year on average. Over 8,000 have been solved, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) says, leaving about 6,000 open investigations. As these cases have been open and dormant for a long time, they are often referred to as "cold cases."

The absence of physical evidence and credible witnesses is a major obstacle to solving cold cases. Some of these crimes occurred in locations with a high crime rate, making it more challenging for detectives to find and question potential witnesses. It may also be difficult for detectives to identify and locate potential suspects in cases where victims or witnesses have passed away or relocated.

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

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has made headway in solving some of the city's cold cases despite these obstacles. 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 Chicago

Still, a lot of progress has been made. Several families are still searching for answers concerning loved ones who went missing in the 1980s and 1990s as of 2021. The CPD has asked the public for assistance in solving these crimes by sharing any information they may have. The agency has also made public pleas for help on social media and other channels, asking for anyone with information to come forward.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) isn't the only group trying to shed light on cold cases and provide assistance to bereaved families; several nonprofits do as well. For instance, the Chicago Murder Survivors organization and the Chicago Survivors organization both offer help to the families of those who have been murdered in the Windy City.

In conclusion, missing and homicide cases that go unsolved are still a major issue in Chicago. The CPD and others have worked hard, yet many cases from the 1980s and 1990s remain unsolved. 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 Chicago Police Department (CPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) employs a variety of tactics to uncover the truth in unresolved and "cold" investigations. The CPD employs many methods, including:

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 CPD uses forensic science and technology, including DNA testing, to reexamine tangible 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 Chicago Police Department (CPD) utilizes the Crime Stoppers program and other online resources to solicit tips and leads from the general public.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) may team up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Illinois State Police to pool resources and expertise in order to crack the case.

The Chicago Police Department has what they call a "cold case squad" whose job it is to look into cold cases.

In order to aid the relatives of those who have gone missing or been murdered, the CPD collaborates closely with victim advocacy groups and non-profit organizations. 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.

The CPD takes a holistic approach to investigating cold cases and other unsolved crimes by coordinating with other agencies and the local community to find leads and bring perpetrators to justice. In addition to using various media outlets to raise public awareness and collect tips, the department actively solicits the public's help in solving unresolved crimes.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In Chicago, Illinois, there are many services available to investigate and potentially solve cold cases:

The Chicago Police Department has a special unit dedicated to reviewing and investigating cold cases, such as murders and disappearances that have gone cold over a long period of time. They collaborate with the Cook County State's Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

To investigate all fatalities in Cook County, including homicides and suspicious deaths, is the mission of the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. They can lend a hand to law enforcement with forensics investigations and testify as experts in court.

There is a special unit inside the Illinois State Police that looks into cold cases of murder and disappearance. In order to help solve cold cases, they collaborate with local law enforcement to conduct investigations and give resources.

The Chicago Crime Commission is a non-profit agency dedicated to reducing criminal activity in the greater Chicago area. They have a reward system set up to encourage people to come forward with information that helps them solve murders that have gone unsolved.

Some Chicago-based community groups are making an effort to spotlight cold cases of homicide and disappearance. These groups help victims' loved ones and raise awareness about crimes that the police might have missed. A couple of such groups are the Murder Accountability Project and the Chicago Survivors.

Major cities surrounding Chicago, Illinois

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana
Rockford, Illinois
Naperville, Illinois
Aurora, Illinois

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