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Survey of Law Enforcement Forensic Evidence Processing 2007

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2009
82 pages
The Survey of Law Enforcement Forensic Evidence Processing (LEFP) was conducted to estimate the number of unsolved homicide, rape, and property cases in the United States that involved forensic evidence which was not submitted to a crime laboratory for analysis, as well as to determine the policies and procedures used in law enforcement agencies for processing, submitting, and retaining forensic evidence.
Survey findings showed that 14 percent of all unsolved homicides and 18 percent of unsolved rapes yielded forensic evidence that was not submitted to a crime laboratory for analysis. DNA was the most common form of forensic evidence in these cases. Survey results also indicated that 23 percent of all unsolved property crimes involved unanalyzed forensic evidence. These findings show that law enforcement agencies continue to face substantial forensic evidence caseloads. Results also indicate that law enforcement personnel need more uniform procedures for submitting evidence, including a level of prioritization based on factors such as case seriousness, as well as improved training in the benefits and use of forensic analysis. Other resource needs identified by the survey are information systems that can track forensic evidence by case and standard guidelines for evidence retention. The survey was completed by a nationally representative sample of 2,250 State and local law enforcement agencies (a 72.7 percent response rate). The survey questionnaire was delivered online and by mail, fax, and telephone. 9 figures, 29 tables, 17 references, and appended survey questionnaire and other project materials

Date Published: October 1, 2009