ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Police Department launched a unique way to get cold cases back in the spotlight in the community.

They’re called cold case cards: it’s a set of playing cards with details about unsolved murders in the City of Rochester, some of which date back to the 1970s.

There are 52 cards in a deck so there are 52 cases highlighted in this first installment. Captain Umbrino tells me there are well over 500 cold cases and choosing just 52 for the first edition is an “impossible task.”

“Every victim is important. What we tried to do in the first edition is highlight some of the higher profile cases in the community that, quite frankly, people have forgotten about. Families haven’t forgotten, but the people forgot about,” Captian Umbrino says.

These decks of cards are being given out in various community meetings, agencies, events, and even the Monroe County Jail.

“A card could trigger something in their mind — oh yeah, this is a poker chip I was holding onto. So it just gets people talking,” said Captain Umbrino.

This has been done in other parts of the country before but the idea for RPD to do this actually first came from the parent of one of the victims of a cold case: Mr. Vasconcellos. His son, Paul, was killed on Post Ave. in 2010.

“One of the things he brought up is cold case cards and we’re like, you know what, we’ve thought about it, great idea. And he was really the catalyst in pushing us forward to get this done,” said Captain Umbrino.

Each card features a picture of the victim, the date and location of the crime, and a synopsis of what happened. The decks are also available for anyone to pick up for free at headquarters.

“The objective of the cards is twofold: number one, get the word out. We have some horrible cases here that haven’t been solved over the years. They’re cold for a reason. We’ve run down all the leads, we have no more information, we need more information to come in in order for us to move forward with the case,” explained Captain Umbrino.

“The second motivation behind the cards is some type of solace for grieving families, saying ‘hey look — the Rochester Police Department has not forgotten about your case. We’re doing everything we can. Even though the case is cold, we haven’t forgotten about it,'” he added.

In order to reopen a cold case, there would need to be a new piece of information, evidence, or advancements in technology that can turn something from an old case into evidence.

“Evidence technicians may have collected something 20 years ago that meant absolutely nothing but now with the advancements in technology, it could be a critical piece of evidence,” said Captain Umbrino.

This is the first edition of this project with plans for more cases to be added to future decks as part of this ongoing project.