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The Interaction and Impacts of State DNA Database Laws, Final Summary Overview

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2017
19 pages
This is the final summary overview of the methodology and findings of a project whose primary goal was to test the effect of other-State DNA profiles on own-State crime rates.
The study concludes that the cross-State effects of DNA database policies (i.e., the types of offenses for which DNA profiles are required and included in the State's database) are consistent with the hypothesis that offenders are mobile and respond rationally to States' crime-reduction strategies. It is apparent that a DNA expansion in one State motivates probable offenders in that State to move to States where DNA databases are not as comprehensive. This suggests that expanding the offenses with DNA coverage in one State will have the effect of offenders moving to other States to commit crime, thus increasing crime in the destination State. Given these findings, this study argues that the Federal Government should stop subsidizing State-level expansions of DNA databases, since an imbalance in States' DNA databases encourages mobile offenders to take their crimes to other States where a DNA identification is less likely. Thus, there is no net effect on crime nationwide. A better approach is for the Federal Government to standardize DNA database policies nationwide, which would eliminate incentives for offenders to move. 7 tables and 2 references

Date Published: February 1, 2017