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DNA Analysis for "Minor" Crimes: A Major Benefit for Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 253 Dated: January 2006 Pages: 2-5
Date Published
January 2006
4 pages
Publication Series
This article discusses the unexpected benefits of conducting DNA analysis for high-volume property offenses, such as burglary and auto theft.
Three National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded pilot projects that were designed to decrease the backlog of DNA samples waiting for analysis produced surprising results. The pilot projects, which analyzed DNA evidence collected from high-volume property crimes, were successful in identifying suspects in high-volume property crimes and in linking the crimes to other crimes. Specifically, out of the 201 DNA samples provided from New York burglaries, 86 were matched to offenders already entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The success of the projects underscores the importance of collecting and analyzing DNA evidence from high-volume property crime scenes, especially given the high recidivism rate of property offenders and the potential for property offenders to engage in violent crimes. The author acknowledges the high cost for DNA analysis but also points out that DNA testing is actually more financially and tactically effective than paying investigators to track down leads. Enhancing the ability of jurisdictions to collect and analyze DNA evidence from property crimes would maximize the potential of DNA as a crime-solving tool. Notes

Date Published: January 1, 2006