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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 September 2007, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK
Addicts leave DNA at crime scenes
Drug-using criminals are more likely to be caught through DNA traces or forensic science work than offenders who avoid substances, a study says.

University of Leicester academics made the conclusion after working on a study with Northamptonshire Police's scientific support unit.

Data from burglary and vehicle crime taken over a six-year period was used as the basis for the research.

Results have just been published in the American Journal of Forensic Science.

The study report said that drug-dependent offenders committed a wider range of offences than those not reliant on substances and these offences were significantly more likely to be detected via DNA or fingerprints.

Collaborative research

The research established for the first time that a drug-dependent offender's sex, ethnicity and employment status influenced the detection of the crime by forensic science but their age and the number of offences committed by an individual did not.

In conclusion, the physical and mental impact of drug use on an offender's crime scene behaviour led to an increased chance of detection through forensic science methods.

Dr John Bond, head of the scientific support unit, said: "We are strengthening our association with the University of Leicester in several disciplines where we can work together to better understand how forensic science can be used to detect more crime."

Dr Emma Palmer, reader in forensic psychology at the University of Leicester, said: "This is an excellent example of the collaborative research we are conducting with Northamptonshire Police, and shows the real benefits for crime detection that can be achieved through joint work between the police and academics."


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