Denver police and prosecutors will use a federal grant to crack down on burglary suspects by using DNA evidence, says the Rocky Mountain News. “It’s going to have a huge impact,” Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said. Denver is one of five U.S. cities to receive a grant from the Justice Department for a DNA demonstration project. The $418,000 grant will allow Denver authorities to analyze 500 unsolved burglary cases and have access to state and national DNA databases.
The money will go toward hiring a full-time DNA analyst for the Denver police crime lab, paying for a prosecutor dedicated to burglary cases, and hiring a research coordinator to track the effectiveness of using DNA evidence to solve burglaries. While DNA analysis has been used to solve homicide and sexual assault cases, it has rarely been used to investigate burglaries. Part of the reason is that DNA evidence is found in only 8 percent of break-ins, said Division Chief Dave Fisher, who leads the investigations unit. With DNA evidence, prosecutors can at least file burglary charges against a “John Doe” in a timely manner, and not lose the case because the statute of limitations has run out.