More crimes throughout the state are being solved as a result of a new law allowing public safety officials to collect a DNA profile from anyone arrested for a felony crime. With this policy, our law enforcement officials are identifying serial offenders, closing unsolved criminal cases and exonerating the innocent.
Since January, DNA profiles have been taken through a cheek swab from anyone arrested for a felony crime and matched against profiles processed in the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. If a DNA profile matches a sample already in the system, it will produce what law enforcement call a ‘hit.’
In just the first half of the year, CODIS confirmed more than 500 total DNA hits. About 200 of those hits, including homicides and more than 20 sexual assaults, would likely not have happened without this law. In fact, a DNA sample taken in January matched an unsolved rape investigation that started in 2016.
According to the Department of Justice, DNA is typically used to solve crimes by either matching evidence from a crime scene or identifying perpetrators in cases where suspects have not been identified. Crime scene evidence can also be linked to other crime scenes through the use of the DNA database. Many crimes like sexual assault are committed by repeat offenders, so DNA collection is proving very effective in removing serial offenders from our streets while also deterring those already in the database from reoffending.
Not only does this sample-collection policy allow local, state and federal law enforcement to exchange and compare profiles to help solve crimes, but it also helps exonerate the innocent.
The results of this law are encouraging, and policymakers and public safety officials believe more crimes will be solved as more DNA samples are matched in the CODIS program.
-Kathy Kreag Richardson is a Republican State Representative from District 29, which includes Noblesville, and has served in the legislature since 1992. She also is the elections administrator for Hamilton County. You may contact her at h29@in.gov