Law enforcement authorities in Trenton, New Jersey, and across the United States are increasingly challenged by the prevalence of cold cases. There have been numerous unsolved cases of missing people and murder in the city since 1980.
As of March 2023, 143 cold cases dating back to 1980 have been reported in Trenton through the National Missing and Unidentified People System (NamUs). There are a total of 155 cases involving missing persons and a total of 88 involving killings. There are people of various ages, both sexes, and different ethnicities involved in these cases, and many of them have been unsolved for decades.
When crimes have been unsolved for a long period of time, law enforcement faces a particularly difficult challenge. Some progress has been made, though, thanks to developments in technology and new investigation methods.
The absence of physical evidence or witnesses is a common barrier to solving cold cases. Since many of these instances were first investigated decades ago, progress may be slow if no new evidence or technology has emerged since then. The Trenton Police Department has multiple plans to deal with these issues.
One tactic is to re-interview previous interviewees, such as family members and witnesses, to determine whether they have any new information or if their memories have altered. Some potential witnesses may feel more at ease talking to police now than they did in the past.
New forensic techniques, such as DNA analysis, can also be used to reexamine evidence from crime scenes. Many of these cases may have benefited from the availability of technology that did not exist when they were first studied.