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Modeling Forensic DNA Database Performance

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Over the past decade or more, DNA databases have been a focal point of development for the forensic field. Using this approach, forensic and law enforcement agencies have aided millions of investigations, many of which would remain unsolved but for the intelligence links provided from DNA database comparison. However, despite their widespread use and increasingly broad legislative and operational reach, there has been limited overarching performance modeling or reflection on drivers of operational or financial efficiency. This study derives an inferential model for DNA database performance using data from major national DNA database programs. Parameters that optimize desirable database outputs (matches) are isolated and discussed, as is an approach for maximizing financial efficiency and minimizing ethical impact. This research takes important steps toward identifying measures of performance for forensic DNA database operations.

Keywords: Canada; Combined Offender DNA Index System; DNA database; New Zealand; U.K. NDNAD; forensic science; intelligence; performance management

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Forensic & Data Centres, Australian Federal Police, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia. 2: Department of Statistics, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. 3: ESR Ltd., Private Bag 92-021, Auckland, New Zealand.

Publication date: September 1, 2010


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