In most places, vandalism, shoplifting, and loitering are misdemeanors, not likely to result in jail time. Those who commit such low-level crimes in New York State may soon be required to give DNA samples to authorities, just as convicted rapists or murderers do, says the Christian Science Monitor. New York would be the first state to require DNA samples for all convicted offenders. Gov. George Pataki argues that a larger database will help solve more crimes. Criminals who start off committing petty crimes sometimes graduate to more serious offenses.
Twenty-eight states now collect samples for some misdemeanors, says DNAResource.com, which tracks DNA policies. A week ago, Kansas joined California and five other states in going one step further: taking the DNA samples of some people arrested, but not necessarily charged, with a crime. “They all tend to be violent felony and burglary arrestees,” says Lisa Hurst of Smith Alling Lane, which represents Applied Biosystems, a maker of DNA testing equipment. Smith Alling Lane also runs DNAResource.com. New York’s proposal would add 80,000 DNA profiles per year to the DNA bank.