DNA evidence can be “remarkably effective” in solving and prosecuting property crimes, the Urban Institute contends in a new report. Analyzing DNA evidence from property crime scenes helps identify suspects in twice as many cases, yields twice as many arrests, and leads to prosecution more than twice as often, compared with cases built only on more traditional evidence, such as eyewitness identification and fingerprints.
When conventional investigative techniques were used alone, a suspect was identified 12 percent of the time, compared with 31 percent of the cases that also used DNA evidence. A suspect was arrested in 8 percent of cases built using only traditional methods, compared to the 16 percent arrest rate in DNA cases. The average added cost for processing a case with DNA evidence was $1,397. Compared to fingerprint evidence alone, DNA was far more likely to lead to suspects and result in arrests, the study said. In crime scenes where biological evidence was collected and tested, DNA evidence was five times more likely to yield a suspect and nine times more likely to lead to an arrest than fingerprints. The report considered 1,841 cases where DNA evidence was available in Denver, Los Angeles, Orange County (CA), Phoenix, and Topeka.