DNA in the criminal justice system: the DNA success story in perspective

Anna A. Mapes, Ate D. Kloosterman, Christianne de Poot

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Current figures on the efficiency of DNA as an investigative tool in criminal investigations only tell part of the story. To get the DNA success story in the right perspective, we examined all forensic reports from serious (N = 116) and high-volume crime cases (N = 2791) over the year 2011 from one police region in the Netherlands. These data show that 38% of analyzed serious crime traces (N = 384) and 17% of analyzed high-volume crime traces (N = 386) did not result in a DNA profile. Turnaround times (from crime scene to DNA report) were 66 days for traces from serious crimes and 44 days for traces from high-volume crimes. Suspects were truly identified through a match with the Offender DNA database of the Netherlands in 3% of the serious crime cases and in 1% of the high-volume crime cases. These data are important for both the forensic laboratory and the professionals in the criminal justice system to further optimize forensic DNA testing as an investigative tool.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-856
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA analysis
  • DNA databases
  • criminal investigation process
  • forensic science
  • crime scene investigation
  • turnaround time


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