Predicting If the Cold Case Can Be Solved

What Are the Chances of Success When Renewing a Murder Investigation

When we combined the data from three homicide samples (Washington, Dallas and Baltimore), we tried to determine if it was possible to predict which cases were more likely to be resolved. The information about the crime context, victim, motivation, evidence, basis for opening the cold case murder investigation, and the actions taken from the people who were investigating them was in the core of the analysis which targeted the variables associated with the probability of solving the case.

The results suggest that the chances of solving a case decline with the increasing age of the case itself. Other factors also have influence such as if the victim is known to be a drug user. On the other hand, if the victim was found in a private residence, the odds of solving the case start to increase.

Some cases that involved younger or male victims also have bigger chances of being solved. If the death of the victim was preceded by a struggle, the chances of finding the truth decrease. The progress made during the initial murder investigation played a significant role in finding out if the cases have any chance to be solved in the future. The revelations about the motive are of key importance to the growing chance of solving the case. If they are determined during the initial investigation or if they involve some sort of personal feud, the odds improve.

Of course, it goes without saying that the action that was taken during the investigation is among the most important variables. Research indicates that a new theory about the motive behind the crime or a suspect lineup are factors that can greatly influence the outcome of the investigation after the case has been re-opened.