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Solving Property Crimes With DNA

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2009
3 pages
This paper reports on South Carolina's experience in collecting samples of evidence from property-crime scenes for DNA analysis.
In order to assist in determining the workload of the proposed regional DNA laboratory to serve law enforcement agencies in the South Carolina Low Country, the National Institute of Justice, through its National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center-Southeast established a program to collect and test DNA samples from property crimes. The objective was to determine whether resources should be devoted to the collection and analysis of biological fluids from property crimes in addition to violent crimes. Sources of DNA from property-crime scenes may be blood from a cut when breaking glass for entry, saliva from a dropped cigarette butt, or a stray hair on a kitchen floor or in a stolen car. There can also be "touch" DNA, which is left from skin cells or sweat when an offender touched or came into contact with an object, such as a steering wheel. The Low Country project began in October 2007 and has been extended to October 2009 in order to allow for the collection of additional data. Thus far, the project has had significant success in matching the DNA of a number of property offenders to CODIS. Serial property offenders have been identified, perhaps before they could commit more serious crimes.

Date Published: February 1, 2009