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Relationship Between the Detection of Acquisitive Crime by Forensic Science and Drug-Dependent Offenders

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 52 Issue: 5 Dated: September 2007 Pages: 1122-1128
John W. Bond D.Phil.; Lorraine Sheridan Ph.D.
Date Published
September 2007
7 pages
This British study compared the investigation of drug-related and nondrug-related acquisitive crimes (burglary, theft, robbery, and motor vehicle theft) in order to determine whether drug-abusing offenders were more likely to be apprehended due to evidence produced by forensic science techniques.
For burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, and check fraud, a statistically significant difference was found between those offenses detected by DNA or fingerprints when the offender was a drug abuser compared with detections when the offender was not a drug abuser. There was no statistical significance between apprehension due to DNA compared to fingerprints. These findings suggest that all drug abusers who are arrested for an offense should have DNA and fingerprints collected. The "indiscriminate behavior" hypothesis is proposed to explain why drug-abusing offenders are more likely to leave their DNA and fingerprints at the scene of theft offenses. This hypothesis reasons that drug-abusing offenders are more likely to be in a state of substance intoxication or withdrawal at the time of their offending, which contributes to disorganized behavior at the crime scene. Also, drug users tend to commit a wider variety of crime types, which may impair their attention to detailed planning and execution for each crime type. Additional research relevant to this hypothesis could benefit from the cooperative involvement of forensic scientists and forensic psychologists. The study examined acquisitive crimes detected in Northamptonshire (United Kingdom) for the 6 years of 2000-2005. Researchers reviewed the distribution of drug-related acquisitive crime compared to national data and then considered the relationship between drug-related and nondrug-related acquisitive crime offenses detected by forensic science (fingerprints or DNA). 3 tables, 7 figures, and 23 references


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