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Best Practices for Handling “Cold Hits”

Tracking Cold Hits

Tracking cold hits is essential to proper management of cases. With this in mind, establishing a database is a good first step.18 Spreadsheets or database software works well for this. Databases allow cases to be archived for statistical recap and future investigation. They can also be analyzed for case linkage and retrieved for continued follow-up or for trial purposes. A good database system will allow for seamless access, reporting and communication among team members.

Additional Law Enforcement Concerns

Efforts should be made to reach out to other jurisdictions that are currently involved in cold hit investigation to combine or share resources, expertise and database information.

Limited resources may require prioritizing hit follow-up. For example, crimes against persons will typically take priority over property crimes for reasons of public safety.

18 New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services 2009 Crimestat Report PDF download: 876kB • Visit the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services »

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