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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Prioritizing Evidence at the Scene

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Prioritizing Evidence at the Scene

clipboard with paper that says crime scene information
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

To prioritize the evidence at a crime scene, investigators first establish the type of crime committed, then develop a working theory of how it was carried out and determine what information is needed to assist in solving the case. Evidence is evaluated and prioritized based on which items are the most probative and have the strongest relationship to the crime.6

Investigators must consider the following factors to identify the most probative items to submit for analysis:

  • Laboratory capabilities and limitations
  • Type(s) of testing methods that will be most beneficial to the case given the type of evidence present
  • Amount of DNA that may be present, especially in regards to touch DNA
  • Prosecution needs


6 Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory Guide to DNA Analysis PDF download: 448kB

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