by Ming X
Every state has its own database to store DNA information for criminal convictions. New York planned to establish one of the most expansive DNA databases in the nation; this new database requires DNA samples for every conviction, from fare beating to first-degree murder. That’s a so-called all-crimes DNA database. Many district attorneys, sheriffs, and police chiefs support this program. Prosecutors say this expanded DNA database will help them not only identify suspects of more violent crimes, but also exonerate people wrongly accused to reduce wrongful convictions. It’s an expensive project, budget negotiations play a big part.
New York’s DNA database was created in the mid-1990s, with limited information, in other words, DNA samples are majorly from serious criminal convictions. Taking DNA samples from those convicted of low-level crimes has proved to be effective. Sometimes, investigators are able to link murders and sexual assaults to those crimes; since they have the DNA samples in database, investigators could find suspect faster. It improves the efficiency of the investigation. On the other hand, the expanded DNA database could also be used to exonerate the wrongfully convicted by matching DNA in their cases to someone else. It also improves accuracy.
In relation to our lecture, a database with more useful information can provide a more efficient system. With as many DNA samples as the state needs, investigators can easily access the database, analyze and matching the DNA samples. But, the expanded DNA database is expected to cost more to enter DNA samples for every conviction, and later to maintain the database with these huge amount of data.
Elogon, John and Kaplan, Thomas: New York State Set to Add All Convict DNA to Its Database, The New York Times, March 13, 2012