A Forensic Evidence Auto Recovery (FEAR) task force in Dallas is investigating the use of genetic evidence to catch thieves involved in car theft rings, says a DallasNews.com report.
The efforts by Dallas police and the Dallas County district attorney's office are funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The study will examine how cost-effective it is to use DNA to solve auto thefts. A higher percentage of crimes solved would mean it's more effective, the report says. DNA could be taken from a cigarette butt but also from the fuse box or other places a thief may have touched. Authorities will also take DNA samples from the car's owner or people who may have legally driven the car.
A previous study by the National Institute of Justice found that when DNA was collected from other types of property crimes, arrests and identifications doubled, as did prosecutions.
Also, according to the report, more suspects were identified using the FBI's DNA database than the fingerprint database.