Some Policy Implications of Using DNA to Solve Property Crimes

Findings from the five-city field experiment will be valuable to other cities and communities interested in implementing a policy and practice to collect DNA evidence in property crimes. The NIJ-funded study provides a variety of best practices and may also provide support as jurisdictions work with local lawmakers to provide funding for this law enforcement tool.

Even before the study was over, two of the five sites quickly moved to secure local funding to continue the program when NIJ funding ended. Indianapolis—a non-site city that learned of the project's successes—began developing a similar program of its own based on the preliminary findings from the study.

What should state and local jurisdictions look at when considering whether to adopt a policy for using DNA to solve property crimes?

Perhaps one of the most important lessons learned from the NIJ field experiment was this: a high level of collaboration between city police, county prosecutors and county and state crime labs is required to be successful. In the field experiment, as collaboration increased—fostered through biweekly conference calls, site visits and semiannual workshops—data systems and investigative processes improved.

Indeed, producing the most cost-effective results in the use of DNA to solve property crimes requires collaboration across multiple agencies: the police department, the crime laboratory and the prosecutor's office.

Date Modified: June 16, 2008