How Playing Cards Solve Crimes - Ooh, Interesting! Fascinating Facts

July 27, 2018


We love an interesting fact on this blog and in today’s edition of Ooh, Interesting! Fascinating Facts, we thought we’d return to one of our favourite topics, which is a pack of playing cards. They are seen with pretty much every magician we have ever booked and you are sure to have either learned or been the witness to a very clever card trick at some point or another. But did you know they can help solve crimes?

The idea behind using playing cards to help solve crimes isn’t necessarily a new one but it’s never been used in such a way before now. Back in the early 2000s, the US military infamously handed out decks of playing cards to troops with the faces of important people involved in the Iraq war. After enjoying a bit of time off playing cards, the idea was that the troops may well recognise a face when out on patrol and take down the 4 of Clubs (to give an example picked at random!)

In 2013, the state of Florida decided to copy this idea, replacing the faces of the playing cards with the faces of murder victims. We know, it’s all rather macabre for this blog, especially considering our jazz murder fact a couple of weeks ago! But this is a fascinating fact and we just can’t help but share. Each playing card of 'Cold Case Cards' look like the ones posted above and they retail for a couple of bucks, often being the only deck of cards available to bored prison inmates at the penitentiary shop.

But why bother? The answer of course is in the phrase ‘loose lips sink ships’. When inmates play with one another or perform a magic trick for others, somebody might spot a face that they recognise or recall some information that another inmate may have bragged about previously. Realising that the information they now hold could result in their own reduced jail time, these inmates pass on the facts to a warden and the crime may very well be solved.

The idea of putting the face of victims of crime on playing cards has been a definite success with many other states taking up the scheme and according to the New York Post, over 40 crimes being solved since their introduction. Amazingly two murders were solved in the space of a week just last year!