The FBI has fallen behind in processing DNA from nearly 200,000 convicted criminals, reports USA Today. The backlog means most of the biological samples the bureau collects have not been stored in the national DNA database and used to solve crimes. DNA from 34,000 convicts has been added to the database since 2001, resulting in 600 matches to unsolved crimes. At the same rate, the unloaded samples could help solve an additional 3,200 crimes.
The backlog expanded by about 80,000 samples last year under a law requiring that all federal convicts, rather than just violent felons, submit DNA samples. A new law requiring DNA to be taken from about 500,000 federal arrestees and detainees could swell the backlog. The laboratory receives about 8,000 samples a month, meaning the backlog continues to grow. “It’s embarrassing because it’s the FBI, which is supposed to be this powerful organization, but it’s not surprising,” said Lawrence Kobilinsky, DNA specialist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Across the nation, backlogs are an ongoing problem, a tragedy, really, but one that it looks like is going to be with us for awhile.”