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Baltimore Cold Cases

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Baltimore, Maryland Cold Cases

For decades, the city of Baltimore, Maryland has been beset by a high rate of violent crime, including numerous homicides and disappearances that have yet to be solved. The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) reports that there are over 3,000 cold cases of homicide in the city, some of which date back to the 1980s. The Boston Police Department (BPD) has a special team responsible for investigating cold cases, however the sheer volume of these investigations poses a substantial difficulty to the force.

The Boston Police Department's Cold Case Unit is staffed by detectives who have received extensive training and expertise in solving cold cases involving homicide. Unsolved homicides, missing person cases, and sexual assaults in Baltimore prior to January 1, 2016 are the focus of this unit's investigation. To obtain information and solve cases, the unit frequently collaborates with other law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Maryland State Police.

The Cold Case Unit has made progress, yet many murders and disappearances in Baltimore remain unsolved. The BPD reports that 353 people were killed in Baltimore in 2020, and 58 people have been killed so far in 2021, as of March. The increasing number of reported missing persons in Baltimore is also cause for alarm. There are nearly 600 open instances of missing people in the city, as reported by the BPD's Missing People Unit.

The huge number of cold cases poses a significant problem for the BPD's Cold Case Section. The Baltimore Sun reported that in 2019, just around a third of homicide cases were solved by the BPD. This equates to a clearance rate of 32%. Given that Baltimore already has one of the nation's highest homicide rates, this is a very worrying figure.

The BPD has implemented multiple initiatives to reduce the number of cold cases, such as the use of cutting-edge forensic technology, the expansion of witness protection services, and the formation of partnerships with local groups to raise public awareness of these cases. The agency has also made an effort to mend fences between police and the public, especially in areas where tensions have been high in the past.

Famous cold cases in Baltimore

Nonetheless, there are still considerable obstacles to solving cold cases in Baltimore, despite these efforts. Given the age of many of the instances, it's possible that key players and evidence have long since moved on. Yet, identifying criminals and bringing them to prison can be especially challenging in cases involving gang activity, drug trafficking, or other organized criminal businesses.

The loved ones of the victims in these unresolved situations are persistent in their pursuit of answers and justice. To bring attention to the cases and put pressure on law enforcement to resolve them, they hold vigils, demonstrations, and other events. Victims' loved ones have also organized into groups to comfort one another and lobby for increased care for those left behind by homicide.

In conclusion, law enforcement in Baltimore, Maryland faces a huge difficulty due to the large number of murders and disappearances that remain unexplained. It is difficult for the BPD's Cold Case Unit to bring victims and their families closure and justice because of the vast number of unsolved cases and the complexity of the crimes itself. The department, however, is committed to working with the public and other law enforcement agencies in order to develop fresh leads, employ cutting-edge forensic technologies, and ultimately bring those responsible to 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 Baltimore Police Department (BPD)'s strategy for investigating unsolved cases?

The Homicide Cold Case Unit is an investigative unit under the Baltimore Police Department (BPD). The unit's mission is to reopen and reinvestigate cold homicide cases, some of which may be decades old. Forensic technologies and databases are just two examples of the tools at the unit's disposal.

The Homicide Cold Case Squad routinely re-examines all available material and witness testimonies in an investigation to seek for any new leads or angles that were missed during the initial investigation. The team also use cutting-edge forensic methods like DNA and ballistics analysis to reexamine old physical evidence.

The BPD also makes an effort to interact with the locals in order to find fresh leads and information. In order to get the word out and have individuals come forward with whatever information they may have, they may host public forums, distribute posters and other materials, and use social media.

The BPD also maintains tight relationships with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Maryland State Police to facilitate information sharing and joint investigations.

In spite of all of these efforts, many cold cases go unresolved for years, if not decades. The BPD is still dedicated to solving these mysteries and giving peace to the victims' loved ones.

What resources are available to help solve cold cases?

In Baltimore, Maryland, there are a number of tools at your disposal to investigate and potentially solve cold cases:

All killings and suspicious deaths in Baltimore City are investigated by the Homicide Section of the Baltimore Police Department. They have investigators whose sole focus is solving cold cases and bringing closure to grieving families.

The Cold Case Unit of the Maryland State Police investigates killings, disappearances, and mysterious bodies that have gone cold in the state. In order to assist local law enforcement in solving cold cases, they collaborate with these organizations.

The State's Attorney's Office for Baltimore City investigates and prosecutes criminal matters in Baltimore City, including killings and other serious offenses, in conjunction with the Baltimore Police Department. A dedicated team works solely on reopening and prosecuting cold cases.

The Maryland State Police and relatives of missing people and people whose remains have not been positively identified can get help through the Maryland Center for Missing and Unidentified People. They offer forensic analysis and support for investigators to help find missing persons and identify remains.

The Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center is a charitable organization that helps victims of crime and their loved ones. They provide a wide variety of services to aid victims and their families in navigating the criminal justice system, such as counseling, legal representation, and case management.

Major cities surrounding Baltimore, Maryland

Washington, D.C.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wilmington, Delaware
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Richmond, Virginia

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