CHICAGO — Each year, hundreds of murders in Chicago go unsolved.
But next week, the Chicago Police Department is launching a weekly web series to highlight some of those “cold cases.”
Each episode focuses on an unsolved killing and features testimonials from the victim’s family members, as well as a CPD detective who recounts the specifics of the case.
Department leaders hope that spotlighting the cases will compel potential witnesses to come forward with new information that could help detectives.
CPD Supt. David Brown said that the involvement of family members was crucial to the series’ production.
“I think the families’ participation in the video series is really what’s going to, in my opinion, engage potential witnesses to come forward,” Brown said this week. “You see the passion. It’s like it happened yesterday for these families.”
The series also aims to address criticism that the CPD takes certain murder cases more seriously than others. The first two episodes of the series focus on the killings of two Black women and a Black girl on the West Side in 1976 and 1981, respectively.
“There is a real perception in certain communities in the city that detectives don’t work these cases like they do others,” Brown added. “We are working every case, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, whether it’s [the] LGBTQ community. Regardless, we’re working every case with the same sense of urgency and passion.”
The CPD currently has about 1,100 detectives, 40 of whom are assigned to investigate “cold cases” — investigations where detectives have exhausted all leads and the evidence trail has gone cold.
Brown said that he expects to ask for more money in the CPD budget to expand the ranks of the Detectives Division in an effort to lower each investigator’s case load and, hopefully, improve the department’s clearance rate.