Criminal Investigation Resource Center (CIRC) at Russell Sage College

No victim is forgotten.

Imagine never knowing what happened to a loved one who was taken from you. 

Unresolved homicide or missing person cases – or “cold cases” as they are often known – are the subject of countless TV series, films, and podcasts. But they’re more than just fascinating who-did-it stories. They are painful losses without closure for the people left behind.

unresolved murder cases
unresolved missing-person cases
unresolved unidentified-person cases

The Backlog of Unresolved Cases

There are more than 250,000 unresolved murder cases, over 20,000 unresolved missing person cases, and 14,000 unidentified person cases in the United States. Meanwhile, the “clearance rate” on murder cases in the United States is an estimated 52.3%, meaning nearly half of cases are not solved within the year

As the number of unresolved cases mounts, older investigations take a backseat to new ones that may have a higher likelihood of being solved. Case files grow over time while task forces and investigators come and go. As law enforcement agencies take on new cases every day, resources are stretched, leaving little time and few personnel to focus on cold cases.

In response to this problem, some agencies have formed their own Cold Case Units to address the growing unsolved case problem – but not all agencies have the resources to do this.

In 2019, only 7% of the approximately 18,000 U.S. police agencies had dedicated cold case units.

– U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs

How We Help

The Criminal Investigation Resource Center (CIRC) utilizes a team of experts and Russell Sage College students, most often those majoring in criminal justice and related fields, to work with law enforcement agencies in resolving these unresolved cases – giving those left behind hope in their search for answers.

CIRC was developed to address this mounting problem in the criminal justice system. The CIRC provides training and experiences to students in unresolved case investigation and analysis while forming relationships with community agencies and contributing resources to local law enforcement to address their unresolved initiatives.

One of only two centers of its kind in NYS

The CIRC is a truly innovative resource for over-taxed law enforcement agencies. It brings an active and dynamic work force to aid in the resolution of unsolved cases, and provides students to access a unique educational experience while also giving back to their communities.

Areas of Focus

The CIRC has a variety of units that are designed to aid law enforcement by providing case assistance, training, research or outreach. This offers students, who want to contribute to the unresolved case initiative, options for how to get involved and how to build different skill sets. Students may work in more than one focus area during their time at the CIRC.

Unresolved Homicide Unit

Unresolved Sex Crimes Unit

Missing Persons Investigation and Resource Unit

Crime Analysis Program

Continuing Education and Professional Training

Ready to get involved?

Learn more about how you can apply to become a member of the Criminal Investigation Resource Center.

Request More Info

Don't see your school? Type and select "Unknown School" from list, then enter your school below.

If not listed in available options.