Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 65 Issue: 6 Dated: 2020
The purpose of this study was to document forensic testing outcomes from a state census of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs), which included large urban-suburban centers, as well as smaller cities and rural counties.
A growing number of U.S. cities and states have large numbers of unsubmitted sexual assault kits (SAKs) in police property facilities. Prior research conducted in large urban cities found that testing these kits yielded a sizable number of DNA profiles that met FBI eligibility for upload to the national criminal DNA database CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) and uploaded profiles returned a substantial number of matches to existing criminal profiles in CODIS. It is unknown whether these findings are unique to large urban cities with high crime rates. The current study inventoried all previously unsubmitted SAKs in Michigan (N = 3,422 SAKs) and submitted these kits for forensic DNA testing. A total of 1,239 SAKs had a DNA profile that met eligibility for upload into CODIS (36.2 percent unconditional, 56.5 percent conditional CODIS eligible rate) and 585 SAKs yielded a CODIS Hit (17.1 percent unconditional, 47.2 percent conditional CODIS hit rate). These rates are consistent with studies from urban areas, suggesting that approximately half of SAKs tested yield a CODIS profile, and approximately half of those uploaded profiles yield a hit. The study compared SAK forensic testing outcomes by geographic and population-density characteristics. Although rates were often higher in larger metropolitan areas, the obtained rates in micropolitan and rural areas suggest testing is warranted in smaller jurisdictions as well. (publisher abstract modified)
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