WINSTON-SALEM, NC – For the longest time, detectives have gone door-to-door searching for clues after major crimes but now the Winston-Salem Police Department is using a new strategy to solve cold cases.
The department is launching an internet video campaign in an effort to close unsolved homicide cases in the city.
Lt. Mike Cardwell with the Winston-Salem Police department says the old methods of solving cases just aren’t as efficient as they have been historically.
"The women and men of the Winston Salem police department are dedicated to keeping our community safe and solving crime. But our number one tool is our relationship with our community members. We need the information from the community,” said Cardwell. “They help us solve these crimes. Without them, we will not be as successful."
Right now, there are a dozen murders over the past two years still unsolved in Winston-Salem.
The search for the killers is so desperate, the police department says they needed to do something different.
Over the next few weeks, the Winston-Salem Police Department will be releasing a series of videos on its YouTube page.
The first video highlights the unsolved murder of 66-year-old Walter Odom, who was shot and killed at his home on Hemlock Drive more than one year ago on July 31, 2016.
In the video, police investigators walk through the background, evidence, and crime scene: "Outside the home, investigators found shell casings from two different rifles that they believe were fired into the house at close range."
The videos will then be posted on the department’s social media pages to try to generate information from the public.
“Every tip in these cases helps us to move forward to solve the case,” said Cardwell. “Every tip helps. Whether it's one small puzzle piece in the bigger picture, every single tip from the community helps us solve these crimes.”
Cardwell says traditional investigations where officers knock on doors only last for the moment.
But the videos that the department produces will stay out on the Internet, in the public eye.
Detectives hope after seeing them, someone will come forward with the one piece of information they need to make an arrest.
"We are a social media culture,” said Cardwell. “To reach out to the community members, that's a way for us to add to our toolbox to reach out for tips and get the community involved and help us solve these crimes."
Again, detectives in Winston-Salem are looking for answers in 12 unsolved murders over the last two years.
In comparison, Greensboro Police are investigating 41 unsolved homicides in the same time frame.
Burlington has two unsolved murders through 2016-2017.
The City of High Point has five unsolved homicide cases in 2017 alone.
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