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Crime Labs Received an Estimated 2.7 Million Cases in 2005
Date:7/29/2008

WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- Federal, state, and local forensic crime labs received evidence from an estimated 2.7 million criminal investigations during 2005, according to a report by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). These cases included requests for a variety of forensic services, such as DNA analysis, controlled substance identification, and fingerprint examination.

An estimated 359,000 cases were backlogged (or not completed within 30 days) at the end of 2005--a 24 percent increase from the estimated 287,000 cases backlogged at yearend 2002.

Publicly funded crime labs employed an estimated total of 12,000 full-time personnel in 2005. Forensic crime analysts made up about 60 percent of all crime laboratory employees. About half of laboratories reported outsourcing some requests for forensic services to private laboratories in 2005. The estimated combined annual budget for all publicly funded laboratories in 2005 exceeded $1 billion.

A typical lab conducted on average six different forensic functions in 2005. Most labs--about 9 in 10--performed controlled substance identification. About 6 in 10 performed firearms and toolmarks analysis, biology screening, latent print analysis, or trace evidence examination. About half of forensic crime labs performed DNA or toxicology analysis.

DNA analyses were more time consuming and complex than other forensic services, such as controlled substance identification. A typical DNA analyst completed an average of 77 requests in 2005. By comparison, the average controlled substance examiner completed about 10 times the number of requests that year (752).

The 2005 Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories was a follow-up to the first BJS national census of publicly operated crime labs in 2002. In 2005 about 80 percent of public forensic crime labs were accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accred
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SOURCE Office of Justice Programs - US Department of Justice
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