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Description:

DNA evidence is an increasingly powerful tool for solving crimes. Law enforcement officials have used DNA to solve violent crimes for years, but now research reveals that collecting DNA in property crimes, such as burglaries, is cost-effective and dramatically increases the number of suspects identified.

The cost of performing DNA analysis is decreasing, the amount of data in state and national DNA databases is increasing, and many DNA databases are now including the DNA profiles of all convicted (both violent and nonviolent) felons. Researchers have found that many property offenders do not limit their activities to crimes against property and may commit other offenses, including violent crimes and drug deals.

The DNA Field Experiment was a collaboration between NIJ and local law enforcement agencies -- police, crime labs and prosecutors -- in five communities: Los Angeles, Topeka, Denver, Phoenix and Orange County (California).

This event examined the experiences of the cities collecting DNA evidence from property crimes, and discussed how other cities can determine if such procedures are right for them.  The panel shared stragtegies for building partnerships among police, crime labs and prosecutors, and addressed other challenges a city may face as part of this endeavor.

Resources:

Websites

Denver District Attorney's DNA Resources - Shares information about DNA and its use in prosecution and cold-case projects

NIJ's topic page on DNA and Property Crimes:

Articles

Roman, John K. et al. (2008). The DNA Field Experiment: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the Use of DNA in the Investigation of High-Volume Crimes.

Collecting DNA Evidence at Property Crime Scenes
NCJ 224177, November 2008, Online Training, by President's DNA Initiative
HTML

DNA Solves Property Crimes (But Are We Ready for That?)
NCJ 224084, October 2008, NIJ Journal, by Nancy Ritter
PDF | HTML

DNA in "Minor" Crimes Yields Major Benefits in Public Safety
NCJ 207203, November 2004, In Short, by National Institute of Justice
Summary | PDF

Online DNA Training Targets Lawyers, Judges
NCJ 216526, January 2007, NIJ Journal, by Glenn R. Schmitt
HTML

DNA Evidence: What Law Enforcement Officers Should Know
NCJ 200908, July 2003, NIJ Journal, by National Institute of Justice
PDF

DNA: A Prosecutor's Notebook
NCJ 219372, July 2007, Online Training, by President's DNA Initiative
HTML

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