Earlier this week, the DNA database at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) crime lab reached 1,000 hits to unsolved cases. The latest hit came from the matching of DNA from an incarcerated state prisoner to DNA evidence from a 1987 rape of an 84-year-old Atlanta woman. The offender is currently serving a life sentence at Hancock State Prison for the rapes of two elderly women in Atlanta. At the request of the Atlanta Police Department, the GBI located the original biological evidence from the 1987 case and processed it for DNA for entering in the database.

"The 1,000 hits on unsolved cases shows the value of DNA for Georgia law enforcement and for the public safety of all Georgia citizens by helping solve violent crimes that otherwise may have gone unsolved," GBI Director Vernon Keenan stated. "We are grateful for the past support of the Georgia General Assembly in recognizing the importance of DNA in solving crimes."

The GBI began DNA testing in 1991 and implemented the Combined DNA Index System in 1998. Under state law at that time only those convicted and incarcerated for sex offenses were included in the database. For the next two years, the database solved 13 rapes and other sexual crimes by linking evidence to an incarcerated sex offender.

The current success of the program stemmed from the expansion of the offender law by the Georgia legislature in 2000 to include all incarcerated convicted felons. In the first year after expansion over 70 cases were solved. The majority of DNA hits since 2000 have been for rape cases but the primary crimes these offenders were incarcerated for are drug, burglary or robbery related.

In 2007, the legislature expanded the DNA database statute to include certain felony probationers. There have been 12 DNA hits to probationers.

Currently, the GBI DNA database contains 162,390 samples. Of that total, 155,184 are offender samples and 7,206 are forensic or evidence samples.