At least 150 rapes, murders, and other crimes since 1993 could have been prevented if states had taken DNA samples from non-violent criminals before they moved on to more serious crimes, a new Justice Department study says. USA Today reports that the study, provided yesterday to Congress, found that local police and crime labs have evidence from more than 540,000 unsolved crimes – including 52,000 homicides and 169,000 rapes – that has not been subjected to DNA or other tests that could help identify suspects. Local agencies may not perform tests because of personnel and funding shortages and a lack of understanding about DNA technology.
The report was done by Washington State University and a Tacoma, Wash., law firm that represents a DNA equipment manufacturer. It outraged women’s and victims’ rights groups, which called on Congress to pass a proposal to increase spending on DNA tests and expand the reach of the nation’s DNA database.