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Attorney General Lockyer Announces State DNA Data Bank "Hits" the Century Mark
Data Bank's "Cold Hits" Identifying Record Number of Violent Crime Suspect
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that over 100 "cold hits" have been made by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) DNA Laboratory in Richmond.
The DOJ DNA Laboratory surpassed the century mark on Friday when six suspects were identified through evidence collected from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Orange County Sheriff's Department, San Diego Police Department and Santa Clara District Attorney's Office. The evidence provided by these local law enforcement agencies was analyzed by the state's DNA Laboratory and yielded DNA profiles that matched those stored in the DOJ Convicted Felons data bank.
"Cracking the century mark is a great milestone in California's fight against violent crime," Lockyer said. "With each hit we make, law enforcement has the ability to take one more dangerous criminal off the street. Our recent hit increases are in large part the result of our successful ‘Cold Hit' program. Together with the Governor's Office of Criminal Justice Planning, our program helps fund the processing of local law enforcement's DNA evidence. Thanks to the program, our DNA data bank continues to be an invaluable crime-solving resource for local sheriffs, police and district attorneys."
Since 1999, the DOJ DNA Convicted Felons data bank has shown steady year-to-year increases in the number of criminals that have been identified as a result of the state's DNA program. From 1994, the year that the DOJ DNA Convicted Felons data bank was created, to January 1, 1999, a total of eight hits were made. Hits made by the DOJ DNA data bank have consistently increased over the last three years, however. In 1999, four hits were made; in 2000, 11 hits were made; in 2001, 51 hits were made; in the first four months of 2002, 27 hits have been made.
Since 1983, California law has required blood and saliva samples to be taken from individuals convicted of any of 13 specified felony sex and violent crimes. The samples yield DNA profiles, which are stored in the Department of Justice Convicted Felons data bank. DNA profiles extracted from crime scene evidence are compared to the profiles in the data bank, and a match in an unsolved case is considered a "cold hit." The local law enforcement agency and/or the local crime lab is notified about the identification and can then proceed appropriately with the information. More than 200,000 DNA profiles from convicted felons have been developed.