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DNA in "Minor" Crimes Yields Major Benefits in Public Safety

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2004
2 pages
With funding from the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice, the crime labs in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and New York City have achieved dramatic results by developing DNA profiles from biological evidence collected from property crime scenes.
In New York City, biological evidence from 201 burglaries resulted in 86 DNA profiles acceptable to CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). The lab has thus far identified several "pattern" burglaries, and one DNA profile identified a five-burglary serial offender. DNA in bloodstains collected at the scenes of four household burglaries in Miami-Dade linked all cases to the same offender, who was a previously convicted burglar. DNA evidence also linked three different no-suspect vehicles and residential burglaries and identified the perpetrator, also a previously convicted burglar. Overall, the three departments involved in the grant program are solving high-volume property crimes and violent crime based on analyzing DNA from biological evidence left by offenders at property-crime scenes. The cost of DNA analysis must be weighed against the losses from crime incurred by the public. 6 notes

Date Published: November 1, 2004