Precious hours often pass as Los Angeles police detectives waited for the necessary tools to secure, gather and process evidence in sex crimes, says the Los Angeles Times. There were 1,117 rapes in Los Angeles last year and scores of other sex crimes, Because of the large number of rape cases, criminalists cannot respond to all of them. Often physical evidence has collected as the victim was being treated.
Gail Abarbanel of the Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica, which has been pushing local law enforcement officials to stress DNA evidence in efforts to catch sex offenders, has helped the police department put together items investigators need most.
The new crime scene kits were unveiled this month. Costing $1,800 each, the kits have been assigned to 38 sets of sex crimes detectives. They contain 50 items designed to collect and preserve potential sources of DNA evidence, such as human hairs, body fluids, and fingerprints.
Michele Kestler of the LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division said criminalists have gathered evidence on an ad hoc basis for years. Now detectives will have an organized and complete protocol. “The new policy is to get detectives to more crime scenes than they were able to in the past,” said Kestler. “These kits enable them to collect routine physical evidence.”