If you know, then you know. But if you aren’t familiar with a Citizen Detective, maybe you’ve heard of Citizen Scientists or Citizen Archivist. You know; folks like you and me with interests in bugs and weather patterns, or old texts and forgotten history enough to join forces with others to contribute to a greater good.
Replace those interests with a desire to solve cold cases and access to WiFi, and you’ve got a Citizen Detective.
The ultimate Citizen Detective, Billy Jensen, author of many books including Chase Darkness with Me and co-host of the podcast Murder Squad, sums it up best:
Amateur/Citizen Detective n.
1. An individual who devotes his or her time and expertise to aid in the solving of crime, without compensation or expectation of reward.
2. Fictional Examples: Sherlock Holmes, Batman, Veronica Mars.
Also see: Crowdsolving n.
1. Utilizing the eyes, ears, and expertise of individuals, both locally and across the globe via social media, to aid in the solving of crimes.
Not everyone is Nancy Drew or Jessica Fletcher
We might not all find fascination in building theories or doing extensive desktop research—and that’s ok. Perhaps listening to the latest My Favorite Murder, or binging on 48Hours is more your speed. Odds are if you subscribe to one true crime podcast, you listen to a handful of others, if you set your AppleTV to record anything on ID it’s possible you’ve also spent some time Googling a case for more details or checked in on a Reddit thread. All important factors in citizen detective work. Through collective impact, we can uncover information that might lead to the next big break in the case.
Finding accurate information and details on cold cases is the first step in online sleuthing. We’ve compiled a guide to help you sharpen your skills, download it today to start building your digital toolkit and moving up in the detective ranks.So great, you’re on your way. What’s next? Stay updated on cases that matter to you, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and share information. Like our friend, Andrea Cipriano of The Crime Sheet says: “You don’t need a badge to be a detective.”
Let us know what cases are you following. We’re visualizing cases daily and we need your input, insights and interests.
Together We Can Build a Community
Our team is taking publicly available data and creating timelines, pulling maps, organizing sources, and visualizing cold cases for more eyes and collective impact.