State Audit Recommends More Sexual Assault Evidence Kits be Examined

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SACRAMENTO --

Labs across the state get hundreds of rape evidence kits every year.

“Typically we get in a little over 200 rape kits a year,” said Laboratory of Forensic Sciences Director Jill Spriggs.

Now state auditors say more has to be done with them.

“Historically we would test about a third of the rape kits collected in the county," said Crime Lab DNA Unit Supervisor Jeff Rodzen.

Auditors recommend that law enforcement and state lawmakers should submit the sexual assault evidence kits to lab a 100 percent of the time when a predator identity isn't known.

“The benefit of doing all rape kits is you’re able to identify rape kit series that may have gone unsolved had those cases never been worked,” Rodzen said.

Auditors specifically looked at the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and police departments in Oakland and San Diego from 2011-2013.

They found that the agencies collected a total of about 2000 evidence kits, but less than half were looked at.

The DA Lab of Forensic Services in Sacramento didn't receive any recommendation for improvement from the audit.

According to Spriggs, that's because the lab already changed the way they began handling kits earlier this year.

"We're moving forward and doing all the kits as of 2014,” Spriggs said.

She says they're seeing results –they've been able to link DNA evidence to people 30 percent more of the time.

“It’s very helpful. We've solved a lot of crimes since we've been doing all of the rape kits that have been coming through the door since January 2014. Our hits have actually gone up,” Spriggs said.