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Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA

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The Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA Program provides funds to:

  • Prosecute violent crime cold cases.
  • Decrease the number of awaiting/pending prosecution(s) of unresolved violent crime cold cases.

This program is aimed at providing resources for agencies to prosecute cases where a suspect’s DNA has been identified [suspect(s) may be known or unknown], decreasing the number of unresolved violent crime cold cases.

This program is one of the forensic science programs that moved from the National Institute of Justice to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in FY 2020.

See the Forensic Sciences page for additional resources and to learn more about how BJA supports this topical area.

Why This Matters

There is a cold case crisis within the United States. Based on data from 1980 to 2016, there are an estimated 242,000 unresolved homicides. The clearance rate for violent crimes declined from 78.3 percent in 1975 to 59.4 percent in 2016. Based on Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Part 1 data, the rate of homicides continues to increase.

It is clear that with an increasing homicide rate coupled with a decreasing clearance rate, there exists a need for the justice community to address. Justice is owed to the victims, their families, and friends. The Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA Program at BJA helps prosecutors meet their challenges and gaps in resources in order to provide justice to victims, their families, and friends in cold cases.

Date Modified: June 14, 2022
Date Created: September 9, 2020