Located in Seattle, the WSP CODIS Laboratory receives approximately 1,400 convicted offender samples each month. The resulting database contains over 194,000 DNA profiles from Washington state offenders convicted of a felony, or certain gross misdemeanors and misdemeanors. State legislation also requires that registered sex and kidnapping offenders submit a DNA sample.
Samples from convicted criminals are compared regularly with DNA evidence retrieved from the scenes of more than 3,500 crimes statewide. Samples in the state database are also routinely searched against the nationwide CODIS database.
In 2010, over half of Washington’s CODIS hits were linked to burglary cases, while approximately 39% were hits in connection with violent crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, and assault.
Of note is that 79% of the DNA hits were from convicted offenders whose profiles were in the database for typically less violent crimes, such as burglary or drug possession. This shows the value of capturing DNA from those convicted of less severe, mostly non-violent crimes.
In addition to being an all-time high, the 379 hits generated in 2010 equal a 47% increase over the 257 hits in 2009. This marked increase is attributable to a number of factors, including a pilot project testing evidence from property crimes, and technology improvements implemented by the WSP Crime Laboratory Division.
“The CODIS program is a forensic time machine”, said Forensic Laboratory Services Bureau Director Larry D. Hebert. “Our scientists use this powerful technology to link suspects to unsolved crimes, some of which were committed over 40 years ago. CODIS is also used to link apparent unrelated cases to each other providing investigators with valuable information.”