D.N.A. Databases and Property Crime: A False Promise?
This article examines the potential for the Australian national criminal deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) database in its application to high volume property crimes, such as burglaries and motor vehicle thefts, and is based primarily on UK data. The potential capacity for police to achieve convictions from reported property offences, and to lower crime levels, was assessed by analysing UK Forensic Science Service and Police inspection reports. The UK national criminal DNA database was selected for examination, as it is the world's longest established and claims the highest "match" rate. It was found that after the database had been in operation for more than seven years it was responsible on average for achieving convictions in close to one percent of reported burglaries, a figure that included the additional convictions developed from the intelligence that the database provided. Having funded a DNA regime from public monies, it may be time for policymakers in Australia to critically reassess expectations for the impact that DNA databases may have on volume crime levels and to focus efforts on those crimes most likely to be solved by the application of DNA testing.
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences