This year (started March 21) a plan to collect genetic samples from people convicted of serious offences will be expanded to all provinces, according to the head of Iranian Genetic Information Bank, affiliated to the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization.
“The organization plans to collect samples from 30,000 offenders before the year is out in March 2018,” Reza Raoufian said, adding that genetic samples of 12,000 repeat offenders have been collected so far and stored in a database at the genetic bank, ILNA reported.
DNA evidence has helped convict thousands of violent and dangerous criminals and exonerated many innocent people across the world.
The first phase of the plan to collect DNA samples of prisoners started in March 2016, and a total of 2,000 samples were collected and profiles created in the previous year in the provinces of Tehran, Alborz, Isfahan, Khorasan Razavi, and Khuzestan.
Genetic information database helps stop criminals from committing repeat offenses. Statistics show that 12% of criminals commit felonies within a year of their previous offense and 48% repeat their crimes after a gap of five years.
ILMO also has plans to collect DNA samples of people working in hazardous and risky jobs such as firefighters “to help identify quickly a person after death in such an accident,” he said.
While some have concerns about the costs of maintaining DNA databases, Seyyed Ahmad Shojaei, the head of ILMO, says that the time and money saved through identifying suspects swiftly through DNA evidence “greatly outweighs the costs.”
Iran only has 10 genetic laboratories, located in the provinces of Tehran, Alborz, Khorasan Razavi, Isfahan, Fars, and Khuzestan, which conduct genetic profiling.
First developed globally and used in 1984, DNA profiling is used in criminal investigation and to identify a person after death. DNA profiling is a forensic technique used to identify individuals by characteristics of their DNA.
Around the World
Currently, over 60 countries have genetic databases. According to global figures, in countries with the highest number of DNA profiles created for criminals, searching the DNA database to find a profile match helps identify a suspect in around 60% of cases.
One of the countries with the highest number of DNA profiles created for offenders is the UK. The UK National Criminal Intelligence DNA Database was set up in 1995. By 2005, it had profiles of around 3.1 million people and 5.7 million profiles by 2015.
A 2017 study showed that DNA databases in the United States (with around 9 million profiles) “deter crime by profile offenders, reduce crime rates, and are more cost effective than traditional law enforcement tools.”
Germany set up its DNA database for the German Federal Police in 1998. In late 2010, the database contained DNA profiles of over 700,000 individuals and in September 2016 it contained 1.1 million entries.