The arrest of Golden State murderer Joseph James DeAngelo, also known by his real name, has sparked a public discussion on crime prevention centered on genealogical crime control databases.
DeAngelo was 72 years old when he was arrested in 2011 and found guilty of more than 50 rapes and 12 murders. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Many problems surrounding DNA searches and the use of DNA evidence were brought to light by the Golden State Killer case, despite the fact that it had a specific propensity. If it is possible that investigators will be able to lead them to the perpetrator when relatives of suspects are identified through DNA databases that are maintained either by the government or by private organizations and individuals, the important question is whether or not detectives should pursue this avenue.
Despite the fact that DNA database research offers a wide range of potential applications in criminal investigation, as is true in most instances, new technology and innovative applications do not appear anywhere. A thorough study of the potential impact of DNA databases on crime prevention is required rather than a flurry of ethical concerns arising from new technology, such as new medical applications.
DNA databases that allow for extensive population analysis
An efficient criminal investigation requires a file containing the genetic fingerprint of the greatest possible population period in order to be carried out as efficiently as feasible. The procedure is as follows: at the scene of the crime, traces and/or biological evidence left by the offender are collected and examined in order to determine who committed the crime. When the DNA of these samples is compared to the DNA of samples stored in forensic laboratories, it is possible to get highly acceptable results in criminal investigations.
In addition to the previously stated benefits, the gathering of a demographic database has two significant drawbacks, both of which must be acknowledged by the state that chooses the system: One of the primary drawbacks of this “universal” database system, as previously stated, is the tremendous financial burden it imposes on organizations. It is critical to determine if the expense of fighting crime in a certain geographic area is reasonable.
Because of recent technological advances, it is important to emphasize that the costs of evaluating each individual in an online database have decreased significantly. Investment in equipment and personnel, on the other hand, would be required in order to begin the implementation procedure.
Concerning ethical considerations
A variety of ethical problems arise from individual involvement in businesses that provide profit data, while some of these concerns are related to the impact on consent and study participation that incentive schemes employed by such businesses may have, others are related to the possibility of privacy issues emerging as a result of the use of new technologies such as Blockchain.
Privacy and racial discrimination
Family searches are opposed by almost every kind of person, from academics to government officials, who expresses worry about the broad variety of ways that family searches violate privacy rights.
Because of the widespread concern about privacy, protections are often incorporated to slow down the process, even when family searches are becoming more popular, and to allow for an assessment of the benefits and risks of a particular search, even when family searches are becoming more common. While conducting family searches, for example, was made more permissible throughout 2017, thanks to a capacity that is now available but only in certain circumstances and after a comprehensive review. DNA investigations should be made more broadly available, according to district attorneys and the father of a victim who has previously advocated for the expansion of DNA investigations.