Once Unsolvable Cases Unraveled By Dna
Databases of DNA profiles have made it easier for law enforcement agents to close cases that once might have remained unsolved–such as a Miami-area case involving the slaying of a woman who had worked as a prostitute–although the drawback is that the popularity of such systems is placing a tough workload on crime labs.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) statewide DNA database, created in 1990, currently has 139,000 samples from people convicted of murder, assault, sexual offenses, robbery, and carjacking, and by 2005 it will be expanded to contain DNA profiles from anyone convicted of a felony in Florida.
The statewide database is also fed into the FBI’s National DNA Index System, created in 1998, which has 1.5 million samples from 44 states. The samples have produced 5,000 matches in the past four years.
The Florida database’s popularity, however, has strained crime labs that now receive 2,300 new service requests a day, leading to a backlog of cases and slowing down some investigations, according to Suzanne Livingston of the FDLE.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Miami Herald (02/17/03) P. A12; Rhor, Monica.