News 12.02.08

DNA Increasingly Used in Property Crimes

As DNA testing technology advances, more law enforcement agencies are turning to testing as a tool for investigating burglaries and other property crimes. Thieves may leave skin cells, blood, saliva or hair at a crime scene during a burglary, and police are moving quickly to use DNA testing technology to solve these crimes. As scientific evidence becomes more common in property crimes, it is likely to reduce the number of wrongful convictions by shifting the weight of evidence from circumstantial or eyewitness evidence to more solid forensic methods.

A

recent field study from the National Institute of Justice

followed the use of DNA testing in property crime investigations and found the advanced technology was having a significant impact on crime investigation in an area where it’s needed – more than 2 million burglaries were reported to police in the U.S. in 2006, and only 12 percent of those cases were solved.

And news from

Texas

and

Florida

this week underlined the developing trend. Here’s what an Austin, Texas, detective, had to say about the developments:

"When we first started hearing about DNA, I didn't expect it would be used on crimes like this," said Detective Michael Sanford in a story Sunday in the Austin American-Statesman. "But we are always looking for as much evidence as we can get."

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