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Value of DNA Evidence in Detecting Crime

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ABSTRACT:

DNA material is now collected routinely from crime scenes for a wide range of offences and the timely processing of the DNA is seen as key to its success in investigating and detecting crime. An analysis of DNA material recovered from the volume crime offences of residential burglary, commercial burglary, and theft of motor vehicle in Northamptonshire, U.K., in 2004 has enabled the DNA to be categorized into seven sources. Further analysis using a logistical regression has revealed a number of predictors, other than timeliness, that greatly influence whether the DNA material recovered from a crime scene enables the crime to be detected. The results indicate that a number of these predictors are of statistical significance and may be just as relevant in determining whether DNA successfully detects the crime as the timeliness of the processing of the DNA material. The most significant predictor was found to be investigating officer accreditation with location, quantity, and type of DNA material at the crime scene also being relevant. Accreditation of the Crime Scene Examiner recovering the DNA material was found not to be significant. Consideration is given to where further emphasis is needed by the U.K. police service to maximize the opportunities to detect volume crime with DNA.
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Keywords: DNA; forensic science; identification

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Scientific Support Unit, Northamptonshire Police, Wootton Hall, Northampton NN4 0JQ, U.K.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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