TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – There were 700 cases of sexual assault reported in Toledo in 2010, and victims' rights advocates say only about 20 percent of rape victims report the crime. Of the rapes that are reported, the state of Ohio crime lab receives only about half of the sexual assault evidence kits completed by police.
Toledo police have nearly 2,300 rape kits which have not been analyzed in their property room dating back to 1994. Police say the kits are from cases detectives were unable to follow up on because victims left the hospital without leaving a name, or refused to talk to police.
"Just because there's a kit that's taken doesn't mean there's a crime that occurred," said Sergeant Tim Campbell with Toledo Police.
Now Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine wants to analyze those kits, and he has a plan to make it happen. A team of 4 new scientists will be analyzing kits starting in July, allowing the state to test an additional 3,000 kits every year.
"We will solve crimes from this. I guarantee you," said DeWine. "Maybe ten to fifteen years, we'll solve crimes because of the information gotten from these rape kits."
Under the new system, police will collect DNA even in cases which cannot be investigated.
"Everyone, unless there's a determination that the event didn't happen," said Campbell. "That determination is going to have to come from the victim."
DeWine acknowledges there could be one flaw in the system. "I suppose you can have a situation of someone who did not commit a crime and their DNA still gets in the database," said DeWine.
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