Cops Closing Doors on Cold Cases

Funding to crack unsolved mysteries declined 40% in '07
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 3, 2008 11:15 AM CST
Detective Sgt. Jennifer Soto , right, talks as Detective Barry Lewis, left, looks on at the grounds where eight skeletons were discovered in March in a stand of white-barked melaleuca trees down a dirt...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Amid shrinking budgets and shifts in focus, US police departments are downsizing their cold-case divisions, USA Today reports. Federal funding for the units dropped 40% in 2007, and departments are reducing the hours devoted to long-unsolved cases—and even eliminating the positions entirely. Experts in the field worry that such measures leave murderers to roam free.

Some 60% of US murders go unsolved, a former cop says—translating to thousands per year nationally—and “the people doing the murders didn't go away. If they did, they're victimizing another community.” The cases don’t go away, either. Orange County, Fla., for example, has 280 of them. “I’ve never even had a chance to look at all the cases,” one officer said.