Eliminating Maryland DNA Test Backlog Leads To More Arrests


More arrests are being made using DNA in Maryland thanks to expanded collection and processing in Maryland, reports the Baltimore Sun. State Police Superintendent Col. Terrence B. Sheridan and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III said the state’s DNA database had assisted in the arrests of 101 people for serious crimes committed in Baltimore over the past three years, including 68 for rapes or sex offenses and 13 for murder. “By eliminating the offender sample backlog and passing legislation requiring persons arrested for violent crimes to submit samples, Maryland’s DNA database is operating more efficiently than ever before and is helping dedicated law enforcement personnel in Baltimore and across our state to unlock the secrets of crime scene evidence and bring those responsible for violent crime in Maryland to justice,” Sheridan said.

After Gov. Martin O’Malley made DNA collection a priority for his administration, in 2008, state police cleared a backlog of more than 24,000 untested and uncollected DNA samples from convicted felons, the result of additional funding and staffing. There are more than 87,000 samples in the statewide database, including 4,213 samples from people who have been arrested as well as from samples collected from crime scenes. As more samples are collected, the rate of positive hits – matches to other samples in the database – is increasing. The DNA database was established in 1994, and the first positive comparison took four years. It took another eight years – until 2006 – for state police scientists to reach their 500th hit. In comparison, 500 hits were made over a 15-month span from 2008 to 2009.

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