I ran across this Post article today about the DC Department of Corrections’ program that involves printing cold case information on the faces of playing cards and distributing them to inmates in hopes of generating a tip.
So far the cards, which cost about $1/deck when DC bought them in bulk and which cost about $2/deck if you buy them retail, haven’t actually led to any arrests in the 16 months they’ve been in use. According to the manufacturer, the 1 million decks in use across various law enforcement jurisdictions in the US have led to 20 solved homicides. Some Googling didn’t turn up any “average cost of a homicide investigation” type numbers, but the few articles that cited cost of any type of investigation vs. a result indicates that a million to help clear 20 murders is within reason for investigative costs. The DC decks are funded out of prison commissary profits, which I also thought was interesting.