Property and other nonviolent crimes have long been a source of extreme annoyance to the people in the law enforcement community due to their extreme lack of physical evidence. All petty thieves know that the first thing you do when you go to break into a car or a home is put gloves and a mask on. Gloves cover your fingerprints and skin cells that come from your skin, and the mask conceals your identity should there be a pesky camera lurking somewhere unseen and unknown to you.
This is exactly why victims met with the unfortunate news and situation of a carjacking or their home being broken into are also met with the even more frustrating news that unless the burglar left behind rather large physical clues to identify themselves, the victim is potentially, as how we might say, shit out of luck.
But a new forensic technique of using “touch DNA” is now being employed to help solve those crimes that have been previously unsolvable except through blind luck and heavy police footwork. This new technique involves testing evidence in a property crime (such as broken glass) for “touch DNA” – microscopic skin cells containing DNA that naturally rub off when an object, like a car steering wheel, is touched. The technology can be used even if the suspect is wearing gloves because there’s a high likelihood the skin cells were transferred onto the gloves when the perpetrator was slipping them on.
DNA testing is a practice typically reserved for personal crimes like rape and murder. However, the forensic institute, formerly the medical examiner’s office, has also been performing DNA testing on evidence – containing either skin cells or bodily fluids, like blood and saliva – from property crime cases such as car break-ins and home invasions.
This is fantastic news to people and law enforcement who have been met with the most discouraging news in the world when it comes to situations such as these: nothing. There’s very little in the world that is more defeating or enraging to be told when you have just been the injured party of an unfortunate situation. But thanks to the use of this new forensic testing, fewer and fewer people will have to endure this type of frustration.