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January 16th, 2007

The Number of Unsolved Murders in New York City

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There are now 9,082 unsolved murders in New York City going back to 1985. That figure is a moving target of course. They are adding to that number all the time. Roughly 150 – 200 or more murders go cold every year, and try as they might, they are not going back and solving that many each year (of the older, cold cases).

That picture was take at one of the Property Clerk warehouses. Those barrels contain homicide evidence.

Attention!  If you have a friend or loved one whose murder is still unsolved and you want to know what to do, please read this:

People ask repeatedly in the comments section about what to do or who to call about an unsolved murder. The answer to those questions are on the left under the heading, Getting Help – Contacting a Cold Case Squad. First read the document titled Before You Contact a Cold Case Squad. Then look up the number in the document Cold Case Squad and Other Organizations.

If you can’t find a number for your city or town, call your local police department and ask them if they have a cold case squad or a person in their homicide squad who specializes in cold cases. If they don’t then ask to speak to someone in their homicide squad. If you don’t get what you believe is a decent response, then go to the document on the left titled, Escalating Your Case.

If you have specific questions after reading through these instructions please ask here, but come back to see the answer!

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→ 679 CommentsTags: Homicide Facts ·

679 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Monica Cassaberry // Feb 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    What is the number of unsolved merder cases today 2/8/17?

  • 2 Stacy Horn // Feb 9, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Hi Monica. I no longer have access to those numbers, but the last estimate I was was in June, 2016, and based on the numbers of homicides and their clearance rates I estimated that the current number of unsolved murders since 1985 would be around 10,393.

  • 3 Kevin Sweetser // Feb 12, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Stacy, you were nice enough to respond to an inquiry about cold cases a few years ago. I have read your book and was very impressed with it. I was just wondering if there is a cold case database for Manhattan and the Bronx or NYC that I can look up the status of cases. One was a dear friend who was murdered in Greenwich Village around 1974 and the other my dad, who was murdered in the Bronx at his job in 1977. Thank you.

  • 4 Stacy Horn // Feb 16, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Kevin: no, there isn’t a database (not for public use, in any case). If the cases went cold in the 70s then chances are they are still cold. I’m so sorry you lost both your father and a good friend this way. For an update, you could either call the precincts where the deaths occurred, or the Cold Case Squad, but they’d have to pull the cases, which could take a while. I’d need to know more specifically where murders happened to tell you which precinct and number to call. For the Village it’s probably the 6th Precinct, and the number is 212-741-4841.

  • 5 Peter Corbraiti // Feb 17, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Curious, a case in 1977 a young mother who was murdered. I was hoping to see if there is any possibilities of them reopening the case. The lady was my Mother and her Name was Martha Castro, she died a a couple of days before her birthday April 10, or the 12 of that year. Her birthday was the 18th of April she would have been 28. The murder happen in the Bronx. I guess you can say I am looking for closure is possible.

  • 6 Stacy Horn // Feb 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Peter, I’m so sorry about your mother. If no one was ever arrested for the murder of your mother the case would still be open. But unless new evidence or witnesses have come forward, then chances are nothing has been done for years. I would start by determining where the case was left. If no one in your family can tell you, you could contact the precinct where her death occurred. I would give you the number to call, but there are 12 precincts in the Bronx, so I would need the address of where this occurred in order to know which precinct has the case. That might be on her death certificate, which you can order online.

    http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/services/death-certificates.page

    I recently noticed that you can now also request medical reports when you order the death certificate, so you might want to get that as well. It will give you more information about her death, and may list the precinct which caught her case.

  • 7 Hugo // Jun 3, 2017 at 5:42 am

    I was 4 years old when My father was murder on may 1985 in Brooklyn. How do I know if the police caught the person that murder him. Or if they close the case ? At the time I wasn’t leaving with him. I been thinking about him every day. I hope someone can help me. Thank you.

  • 8 Stacy Horn // Jun 3, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Hugo, I’m so sorry you lost your father this way. You would contact the NYPD precinct where his murder occurred. Where in Brooklyn was he killed exactly, and on what day? What was his name?

  • 9 Rene // Jun 5, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    I am in the process of writing a book and are having a difficult time obtaining information on an individual that was murdered in Queens on or about 1990. I don’t exactly know where but I do know that it happened about noon when a van pulled up as the victim was walking an the perps opened fire. They then stopped the van, got out, and shot him again as he lay on the sidewalk. He was initially listed as a John Doe for several months and subsequently identified. All I have is his name. I don’t know if the ME’s office will provide me with the information. Any suggestions?

  • 10 Edmond O Marbury Sr // Jun 10, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    my Father was found in the East river on May17,1985. He was the Pastor of Liberty Temple Church Of God in Christ 1595 Broadway Bklyn NY. Elder William.O.Marbury Jr

  • 11 Stacy Horn // Jun 11, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Edmond, I’m so sorry about your father. Did you have a question?

  • 12 Stacy Horn // Jun 11, 2017 at 5:55 am

    No, the ME will not give you any information as you are not a family member. If you have the name you should be able to get a little more information from the Social Security Death Index. You can also contact the office of the DCPI at the NYPD, 646-610-6700.

  • 13 Renae Walker // Jul 5, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    My mother was murder on March 6tj 1965 i don’t know if any one ever arrested and was trying to get information her name was ester Walker

  • 14 Stacy Horn // Jul 6, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Renae, I’m so sorry about your mother. Where exactly did it happen?

  • 15 Lena Allan // Jul 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Hi. My name is Lena. My mother is a victim of homicide & its unsolved / cold case. . Helen Martinez was her name. Her body was found in the area of the Brooklyn Bridge in November 1993. She had been murdered. Being raised by my Fathers side of family, I don’t have many [accurate] details.
    I’m trying to figure out how to go about accessing any info on how to reopen her case. There is also a website, Helen (Maldonado) Martinez Website that gives her address at the time (where she was abducted from) as well as the approx location to where I’m assuming her body washed ashore, which is just below the Brooklyn Bridge. 640 Logan Street Brooklyn, NY was her address at that time and the date is November 26, 1993. Thanks in advance for any info that may help me on this journey.

  • 16 Stacy Horn // Jul 16, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Lena. I’m very sorry about your mother. First, if there was never an arrest in your mother’s case, then the case would still be open. But if there hasn’t been any new evidence or leads in a while, chances are no one is actively working it. You definitely should contact the Cold Case Squad and ask them to look into it.

    If you haven’t already, read through these instructions quickly, but it sounds like you already have all the information I suggest gathering:

    http://www.therestlesssleep.com/?page_id=366

    Then call the Squad, their number is: (718) 834-2777

    If you have any problems reaching someone there, please email me. horn@echonyc.com

  • 17 stacey // Sep 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    how can I go about finding out if anyone was charge in the MURDER of my brother GEORGE THOMAS SMITH IN THE 1970’S IN EAST ELMHURST NEW YORK.

  • 18 Stacy Horn // Sep 8, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I’m so sorry about your brother, and I’m sorry for not responding immediately. Do you have the exact date? If you do you can call the precinct directly and ask them. They will have to get back to you because they won’t have information for a murder from the 1970s on hand. I believe that is the 115 Precinct, and their number is 718-533-2039.

    If you have any problems, please let me know.

  • 19 james Hoch // Sep 11, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    I would like to determine if the Dec. 17th 1983, murder of my cousin Linda Green has been solved. She was beaten to death in her parked car on Bennett Avenue, Washington Heights. Ltn. Arthur O’Connor was the investigating officer. Dan Cronin of the Daily News published photos. Keith Moore and Rubin Roserio published the article in the Daily News. What Precinct would this be and what is the phone number. My cousin provided these facts to me last week. I did not know she had this info and she did not know I was interested. It only took 34 years to get these facts. Now, I want to know more.

  • 20 Stacy Horn // Sep 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Hello James. You can try calling the precinct where the murder occurred to ask, but I’m going to see if I can find out. I will get back to you. But if you don’t want to wait, I believe it would be the 34, and the number is: 212-927-0823.

  • 21 james Hoch // Sep 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you so much Stacy. I will let you try first. Is there a way to send you the article? Looking forward to your help.

    Jim

  • 22 Stacy Horn // Sep 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you Jim, but I really don’t need it. You might want to send a copy to a detective, depending on what we find out though.

  • 23 james Hoch // Sep 25, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Thank your advice. Look forward to hearing what you find.

  • 24 james Hoch // Sep 25, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Thank you for the advice. I am Looking forward to hearing what you find.

  • 25 Lauren Thomas // Sep 28, 2017 at 4:05 am

    I’ve been searching for quite some time and have been unable to find much more than these two articles about my father, John Thomas’ murder on January 31, 1989. Sad thing is, I know so much more insider information than was known at the time. Total of three murdered over a VCR heist in Long Island City. Any tips on finding out more information?

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.nydailynews.com/amp/archives/news/warehouse-mystery-death-bones-ed-supplies-article-1.684310

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/18/nyregion/bodies-discovery-revives-6-year-old-murder-case.html

  • 26 Stacy Horn // Oct 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I’m sorry for not responding sooner, and I’m so sorry about your father. What kind of information are you looking for? Have you been in touch with the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad?

  • 27 Pat // Oct 10, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Hi James. When I lived in Jersey City my co-worker, Warren Scott, was murdered (circa 1976-1978) in the west village. I believe his body was found in the Hudson River near Christopher Street. When I look through my high school year book I think of him and wonder if they ever found the person(s) who killed him? Thanks Pat

  • 28 Pat // Oct 10, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    I’m sorry I may have address my comment to James in error. Please route my comment to the appropriate person. Thanks Pat

  • 29 Stacy Horn // Oct 10, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Pat, I would suggest you start by going to your local library to search through New York City newspapers for those years and after. I give some tips here: http://www.therestlesssleep.com/?p=704 but I’m sure the librarians there can help you with other sources.

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