100 “Hidden Criminals” In Oregon DNA Backlog?

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The man who raped a 28-year-old Portland, Or., nurse, was behind bars three weeks after the crime after DNA left at the crime scene was matched to the convicted felon’s DNA profile in the FBI’s national database, says The Oregonian. Last week, he began a 26-year prison sentence. Law enforcement officials say other dangerous felons are avoiding arrest for rape, murder, and other violent and property-related crimes because they aren’t in the DNA database, even though they’ve provided samples as required under a 2001 state law. Roughly 20,000 samples taken from prison inmates, parolees, and other convicted felons are sitting in boxes at the Oregon State Police crime lab, waiting to be processed and entered into the system.

Huge backlogs of samples have accumulated in Oregon and across the country because there hasn’t been enough money at the state or national level to process them all. That means those DNA profiles cannot be scientifically linked to other crimes. They say more than 100 hidden criminals may be lurking in Oregon’s backlog. “Meanwhile, there are murderers and rapists and robbers — as well as less serious offenders — that are continuing to prey on the community,” said Norm Frink, chief deputy district attorney for Multnomah County. Frink and victim advocates know that the DNA database can produce powerful results. Statistics show that every 163 offender profiles entered into the system produces a “cold hit” that potentially solves a crime. Since 1992, DNA from about 53,000 convicted Oregon felons has been entered into the system, resulting in 323 hits linking convicted offenders to crimes.

Link: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/front_page/1091015902295620.xml

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