August 5, 2008 By News Report
Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced that the Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) has obtained its 5,000th hit to Virginia's Offender DNA Databank. A "hit" occurs when a DNA profile developed from any biological fluid, tissue, or hair recovered from a crime scene is matched to a DNA profile from an individual or a forensic case in the Commonwealth's DNA Databank.
"The 5,000th hit is an extraordinary milestone," Governor Kaine said. "It shows what a powerful tool DNA has become, as the databank grows larger and more law enforcement agencies utilize it effectively for a wide range of offenses. I remain proud of our scientists and other staff at our four DFS labs for maintaining the Commonwealth's record as one of the premier forensic labs in the country. They are making a real difference in public safety."
The 5,000th hit involved evidence retrieved from an April 2008 burglary in Northern Virginia. The offender sample for the hit was submitted to the Databank in the mid-1990s, and came from a female with several prior burglary and larceny convictions.
Virginia's DNA Databank has not only helped further the cause of justice in the Commonwealth, but it also has assisted law enforcement agencies in 31 states, along with the FBI and ATF.
Under Virginia law, all convicted felons must submit a DNA sample for the database. Since 2003, all individuals arrested for a violent felony after a finding of probable cause must also submit a sample. The number of distinct samples in Virginia's DNA Databank now exceeds 277,000.
"The more people included in the Databank, the more chances a criminal case can be resolved," DFS Director Pete Marone said. "Success generates more success. And the more confidence law enforcement has in this system and the science, the better. In the end, it is also important to note that the databank not only helps us identify perpetrators but also exclude the innocent."
Within the Virginia Databank's 5,000 hits, approximately 9 percent have been in homicide cases, 16 percent were sex offenses, 65 percent were in crimes such as burglary, robbery, grand larceny, and breaking and entering and 10 percent have been from other crime types.
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