South African DNA Database is Making Progress
Friday, August 19, 2011
South Africa has the highest incidence of rape in the world and also the second-highest murder rate. For both of these crimes, DNA evidence is often found at the crime scene and/or on the victim or victims. However, with a population of a little more than 50 million, South Africa has only less than 130,000 DNA profiles in its national DNA database. This makes it nearly impossible for the South African Police Service's Database to link DNA collected at a crime scene to any particular person.
Dr. Carolyn Hancock who serves as the director of the DNA Project, a non-governmental organization states, "South Africa also has one of the highest rates of repeat offences in the world. People commit multiple offences, often becoming more violent over time, and we need to apprehend them as soon as possible." Around 90% of rapists and 50% of armed robbers have a previous conviction of some kind, with criminals often convicted for their first offence between 16 and 19 years of age. According to Hancock, The DNA Project is lobbying for a much upgraded national DNA database that would contain DNA profiles "of all people arrested or convicted of an offence; profiles for elimination purposes, such as those of police officers; as well as DNA provided on a volunteer basis by, for example, parents providing the DNA of their children in case they go missing."
Read the news article here.