Forensic DNA analysis is vastly underused in the U.S., says a study reported by the Associated Press. It estimated that 250,000 unsolved rapes and homicides since 1982 — more than half of such crimes — have yet to be subjected to DNA testing. “The effectiveness of forensic DNA has created a tremendous testing demand that is not met by the available supply,” said Travis Pratt, a criminal justice professor at Washington State University.
The reasons for low usage include lack of money, trained personnel, and other resources to do the complicated tests. A survey found that some law enforcement agencies were reluctant to take and store DNA evidence and did not think it was valuable until after a suspect had been identified. Washington State has a backlog of about 900 cases needing tests, about 130 are more than a year old.