We must do better to get DNA in databases
More than a few “cold case” crimes, some years old, have been solved by using DNA samples. Those taken from crime victims or scenes sometimes can be matched to DNA taken from previously arrested offenders.
That works only if information about previous offenders’ DNA is on file, however.
In many cases, perhaps thousands, DNA profiles that should be available in Ohio are not, a newspaper investigation has disclosed. State law requires that DNA samples be obtained from people convicted of certain crimes, including those involving violence and/or children. That does not always happen, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reported a few days ago.
Newspaper reporters contacted about one-fifth of the more than 800 police agencies and courts required to obtain those DNA samples. Some have not done that consistently.
Exactly how many convicted criminals’ DNA is missing is not known.
If this sounds a bit like the “rape kit” scandal of a few years ago, it should. Then, it was learned thousands of sets of physical evidence from rapes had never been tested. An initiative by Attorney General Mike DeWine has cleared much, if not all, the backlog — bringing some rapists to justice.
Something similar is needed to obtain DNA samples from convicted criminals who fall under the collection requirement. With that information, some crimes may be solved.
Without it, some true threats to the public may be allowed to continue walking the streets — and perhaps finding new victims to harm.