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DNA databases as alternative data sources for criminological research

Sabine De Moor (UGent) , Tom Vander Beken (UGent) and Stijn Van Daele (UGent)
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Abstract
DNA traces found at crime scenes and DNA records held in databases have already helped the police to solve numerous investigations into specific crimes. The police clearly benefit from the use of forensic science at an operational (i.e. case) level. This paper focuses on the use of forensic DNA at a strategic level: its use in the study of patterns of criminal behaviour. The usual sources of information for this type of research are recorded crime data, self-report studies and victimization surveys. However, as our review will show, these data sources cannot provide a complete picture of crime. We therefore propose an alternative approach to criminological research that takes into account DNA databases and has the potential to augment current methods and extend the existing knowledge beyond known offenders. The use of DNA databases has an important advantage for criminological research: it is possible to link offences committed by the same individual, whether the offender’s identity is known or not. By making a one-on-one comparison of police data with the corresponding DNA data, not only can co-offenders be studied, but a larger network of offenders connected to each other can also be analysed, even if their identity is unknown to the police.
Keywords
Co-offending, Methodology, Network analysis, Serial offending, Strategic research

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Citation

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Chicago
De Moor, Sabine, Tom Vander Beken, and Stijn Van Daele. 2017. “DNA Databases as Alternative Data Sources for Criminological Research.” European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 23 (2): 175–192.
APA
De Moor, S., Vander Beken, T., & Van Daele, S. (2017). DNA databases as alternative data sources for criminological research. EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH, 23(2), 175–192.
Vancouver
1.
De Moor S, Vander Beken T, Van Daele S. DNA databases as alternative data sources for criminological research. EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH. Dordrecht: Springer; 2017;23(2):175–92.
MLA
De Moor, Sabine, Tom Vander Beken, and Stijn Van Daele. “DNA Databases as Alternative Data Sources for Criminological Research.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH 23.2 (2017): 175–192. Print.
@article{8051899,
  abstract     = {DNA traces found at crime scenes and DNA records held in databases have already helped the police to solve numerous investigations into specific crimes. The police clearly benefit from the use of forensic science at an operational (i.e. case) level. This paper focuses on the use of forensic DNA at a strategic level: its use in the study of patterns of criminal behaviour. The usual sources of information for this type of research are recorded crime data, self-report studies and victimization surveys. However, as our review will show, these data sources cannot provide a complete picture of crime. We therefore propose an alternative approach to criminological research that takes into account DNA databases and has the potential to augment current methods and extend the existing knowledge beyond known offenders. The use of DNA databases has an important advantage for criminological research: it is possible to link offences committed by the same individual, whether the offender’s identity is known or not. By making a one-on-one comparison of police data with the corresponding DNA data, not only can co-offenders be studied, but a larger network of offenders connected to each other can also be analysed, even if their identity is unknown to the police.},
  author       = {De Moor, Sabine and Vander Beken, Tom and Van Daele, Stijn},
  issn         = {1572-9869},
  journal      = {EUROPEAN JOURNAL ON CRIMINAL POLICY AND RESEARCH},
  keywords     = {Co-offending,Methodology,Network analysis,Serial offending,Strategic research},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {175--192},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  title        = {DNA databases as alternative data sources for criminological research},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10610-016-9327-9},
  volume       = {23},
  year         = {2017},
}

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