Forensic Department Makes 7,000th Hit to DNA Databank

February 24, 2011

Governor Bob McDonnell announced Thursday that the Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) recently achieved its 7,000th hit to Virginia’s databank of offender DNA samples.

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 7,000th hit identified a DNA profile obtained from evidence submitted in a case involving the attempted malicious wounding of a police officer.

“This is a sobering milestone,” Governor McDonnell said. “It underscores the power of DNA analysis as a crime-fighting tool. While the databank grows larger each day with samples submitted from convicted persons and persons arrested for violent felonies, law enforcement agencies find it increasingly valuable as a means of identifying potential suspects of crimes committed in their communities. Virginians have good reason to be proud of our Department of Forensic Science and its well-earned reputation as one of the premier forensic laboratory systems in the nation.”

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 at least 39 other states, as well as the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory.

Under Virginia law, all convicted felons must submit a DNA sample for the databank. Since 2003, all individuals arrested for a violent felony after a finding of probable cause must also submit a sample. There are approximately 350,000 samples in Virginia's DNA databank.

“We can certainly take pride in crossing the 7,000 hit threshold. It clearly shows the potential for the use of DNA in combating crime,” said DFS Director Peter Marone. “But we obviously cannot rest on this achievement. It is essential that we remain focused on providing timely information, based on sound scientific principles, so that the public can feel safe and both perpetrators and those wrongly accused can be identified as quickly as possible.”

Among the Virginia databank’s 7,000 hits, approximately 8 percent were in homicide cases, 15 percent were sex offenses, 66 percent were in crimes such as burglary, robbery, grand larceny, and breaking and entering, and11 percent were in other types of crimes.

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