Dallas’ Forensic Evidence Auto Recovery task force will deliver its first DNA samples next week to the lab as part of a study using genetic evidence to catch thieves involved in car theft rings, reports the Dallas Morning News. “Hopefully, within a couple of months, we’ll get some results from the crime lab and start matching DNA to people,” said Sgt. David Landry.
The efforts by Dallas police and the Dallas County district attorney’s office are funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice. The study will examine how cost-effective it is to use DNA to solve auto thefts. A higher percentage of crimes solved would mean it’s more effective. New York police are also participating in the study. Police and prosecutors are targeting auto theft rings, not cars that were simply taken for joyriding. The cars tested for DNA probably will have been stripped for parts. By aiming for theft rings, prosecutors can charge participants with engaging in organized crime. In 2008, Dallas police solved nearly 11 percent of the 12,000 car thefts, slightly below the national average of 13 percent.