Monday, February 11, 2008

Solving crime with science

By HARIATI AZIZAN

The proposed DNA Identification Act will enable the police to establish a DNA databank that can help solve crime investigations. But how will it help fight crime?

"DNA can be extracted from any biological specimen. Just a strand of hair will do, but under the present law, we need consent" Hithaya Jeevan

DURING investigations on the rape and murder of a schoolgirl in 1999, Police hauled up a total of 22 suspects.

For each suspect, forensic scientists had to conduct individual tests to match the person’s DNA with the different DNA samples found at the crime scene manually. Then it took more than a week to analyse a DNA sample and a few more days to compare the analysed DNA data with the information in police files.

“The whole process was time consuming,” deputy director general (policy) of the Chemistry Department, N. Hithaya Jeevan, said, recalling his most unforgettable case.

“If we had had a DNA database then, it would have really helped speed up the investigation,” he added.

Think of what has become the standard scene on TV and in the movies: one test and a mere click is all that is needed to search for a match on the computer.

“With a national DNA databank, the profiles of criminals and suspects can be recorded. Special software can compare the DNA found at the crime scene, or the DNA stains, with the data in the computer system. If there is a link, police can bring the suspect in and investigate further,” Hithaya Jeevan continued.

Alas, after all the testing, none of the DNA of the 22 suspects matched any of the crime stains. With no other leads, the case remains unsolved.

And it is one among many still unsolved today.

According to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Maximus Ongkili, in January last year, our police's solving rate was 50%, compared to the Interpol’s solving rate of 22%.

Having a national DNA databank will improve the police’s solving rate further, noted Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow: “A DNA databank will help police use forensic science to solve crime. As DNA data is conclusive, it will also help strengthen the case in court.”

This is something his ministry is hoping to kick off with the proposed DNA Identification Bill.

According to Fu, the final draft has been submitted to the Attorney-General's office where it is being finalised. It is hoped to be tabled in Parliament at its next sitting.

Scientific clue

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the chemical blueprint for a person’s biological make-up and is different from person to person. Only twins might share the same DNA. Used for identification, it is 99% accurate.

According to the Locard Exchange Principle theory, it is almost impossible to commit a crime without leaving behind some DNA stains such as blood, saliva, vomit, bone and tissue. Hence, forensic scientists use these DNA stains to identify a perpetrator. The process is called genetic fingerprinting or DNA profiling.

Currently, the Chemistry Department has compiled a database of crime stains from unsolved cases. However, there is no law to enforce suspects or convicted criminals to give their DNA to the police, what more to allow the authorities to keep their DNA data.

“DNA can be extracted from any biological specimen given by the suspect or convict. Just a strand of hair will do, but under the present law, we need their consent,” Hithaya Jeevan explained.

According to experts, repeat offenders commit 30% to 40% of crimes and there are many who migrate from minor crimes to more major crimes, he continued.

“However, each time there is a crime, we get new DNA stains from the scene and don't have anything to compare them with.”

Fu agreed that the possibility of solving past unsolved crimes would be higher with a national DNA database, especially if the criminal was a repeat offender.

This has proven successful in countries with national DNA databanks, he added, such as the landmark case in the United Kingdom, where a burglar raped an 11-year-old and indecently assaulted a nine-year-old in 1988. Semen was found at the scene but police could not identify the assailant. However, the case was solved 13 years later when a 59-year-old man was arrested for shoplifting in another town. When his DNA profile was run through the UK's DNA databank, it was found to match the DNA stains from the scene of the earlier crime. The shoplifter admitted to the crime and was charged.

Citing the Nurin Jazlin Jazimin sexual assault and murder case, DNA analyst at the Forensic Laboratory, Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) ACP Mohd Abdul Aziz said it would also allow the police to link a new case to other cases for leads.

“It would help in police investigation to see if it was committed by a serial criminal.

“Otherwise, it would be left to police's hunches and manual investigation by digging up old or other files.

“For example, with a National DNA database we could have made a more concrete link between the Nurin case and the Kampung Baru molester,” he said.

DNA tracking is now compulsory for all violent crimes. However, even with a DNA match, further police investigation is needed before the suspect can be convicted, Hithaya Jeevan highlighted.

“After the suspect is taken in, you will first need to repeat the test – take the sample again and analyse the data. The DNA database is only a tool for investigation. It does not establish innocence or guilt.”

ACP Mohd concurred.

“DNA evidence can only prove who was there at the crime scene. Other corroborative evidence is needed to implicate the suspect of the crime,” he said.

A problem may arise, he highlighted, if no DNA stains are found at the crime scene.

For cases like car theft or snatch theft where the likelihood of evidence being left at the crime scene is low, DNA cannot be used to solve them.

“We look for shoeprints and things dropped but most of the time the evidence is driven away. Currently, car theft and snatch theft are the highest number of crimes committed and the lowest number to be solved,” he added.

Outwitting the police

Another growing problem he highlighted is how criminals are learning to outwit the police with technology. They are learning things from TV and films, he said, adding that it is becoming common for criminals to leave behind DNA of other people such as used cigarette butts or hair follicles to mislead the police.

They are also becoming more sophisticated in covering their tracks, he said, citing burning of victims such as in the high-profile Canny Ong case or the blowing up of the victim, such as the Altantuya murder case.

“What they don’t realise is that the forensic lab now has the technology and equipment to handle contaminated samples like this,” said Hithaya Jeevan.

For example, if the body is totally burnt, making it difficult to obtain skin, hair or blood samples, the marrow from the femur bone can be taken for analysis. If the teeth are still intact, they will be compared with the victim's dental records.

Analysis can be done even with microscopic samples, said ACP Mohd.

He added the police work hard to stay one step ahead of criminals.

“There is a lot of information circulating about DNA and new technology but we also do a lot of research at the lab to detect criminal trends and developments,” he said.

While having a national DNA database will not guarantee a lower crime rate, he said, it might deter repeat offenders, as well as first-time offenders, from committing a crime.

But Fu stressed that to effectively fight crime, everyone needs to get involved.

We all need to work together to raise public awareness and prevent crime. It is everyone’s responsibility, he reminded.

- The Star

17 comments:

mrasd said...

salam semua,

Cuba sekejap kita renung lagi sekali perkembangan terbaru berkaitan/berkenaan kes yg seakan menjadi-kadi sejak kebelakangan ni.
1/ Dalam METRO hari Sabtu(9Feb2008), rintihan seorang ibu atas suami dan anak-anaknya.. Kemungkinan ibu (keluarga) ini orang MELAYU dan beragama ISLAM. Tapi sisuami dan anak-anak kaki dadah, rogol, jenayah lain (berdasarkan laporan).. Cuba fikir macamana si ibu ini nak selamatkan diri atau masyarakat lain daripada suami dan anknya.. nak buat laporan kat siapa??? Sapa nak dengar/layan rintihan ibu ini???
2/ Laporan juga dlm METRO pasal bekas anggota Polis selamatkan kanak-kanak.. Syabas kepada yg terlibat tapi Kita tak payah nak soal si kanak-kanak banyak-banyak jika nak identify 'penjenayak' bermotor tu.. Mat x-Polis dan org dewasa lain pun tak dapt tangkap atau bagi maklumat berguna..

Jadi saya nak lampirkan kembali apa yg saya 'concerned' sgt ni berdasarkan clip-video lelaki (penjenayah)... Cba renung dan fikirkan:
1/ lelaki atau lelaki-lelaki atau campur perempuan (penjenayah) adalah besar kemungkinan dari BANGSA MELAYU
2/ Bila dah melayu tu kan, di Malaysia ni dikategorikan sebai BERAGAMA ISLAM
3/ Usia mereka ini (dari perwatakan dlm clip) mungkin antara 16 (masih sekolah????) hingga 40 tahun (atas pada tu mungkin boroi, berisi, etc).
4/ Dari fakta #3, kita boleh andaikan yg tahun kelahiran mat ni mungkin dari 1968 hingga 1992.
5/ Orang yg lahir lepas 1981 semua hidup dalam era BN dgn perdana menteri Tun Dr. M..
6/ Jadi adakah ini dari hasil polisi PENDIDIKAN KERAJAAN semasa yang mungkin tak berkesan..
7/ Kalau org islam tu besar kemungkinan mereka ini semasa usia muda (kanak-kanak) telah diajar sembahyang, mengaji, perkara hal agama.. mungkin tahu dan dulu selalu bersembahyang Jumaat di Masjid. Jadi soalannya dengan pengetahun agama yg dikira AVERAGE (kira secara purata perkara di atas diajar sebagai budaya adat resam melayu islam di Malaysia), MANA SILAP nye da...!!!!!!!!!!!

jadi cuba renung dalam dalam.. Apala kerja diorang ni sampai tergamak buat perkara hina... Kita boleh kata dia ni gila ke, setan ke, binatang ke tapikan kalau dia ni MELAYU, ISLAM, BERPENDIDIKAN AGAMA... camna kita nak jawab kat anak kita, saudara kita ataupun kita sendiri

Tapi cari kena cari.. mangsa atau penjenayah ... doakan setiap hari

tehsin mukhtar said...

Jasni, hari tu depa dah start buat database binatang2 kat Malaysia, serious...wildlife..tapi hak manusianye belum...sebab mungkin manusia ramai yang dah jadi binatang..so boleh pakai database binatang tuh...they don't have time and funds for the rakyat..only for the monied and influential.

tehsin mukhtar said...

mrsad...

nama je Melayu, kat IC je Islam...tapi pendidikan setakat ritual membabi buta dan penerapan zero..sebab kita banyak menyembah adat, artis, Mawi, Aznil, material dari hukum Allah yang sebenar...Islam tinggal adat je di kalangan Melayu...and that's how they want it to stay..bila ade kesedaran dan usaha ke arah penyucian akidah dan kembali ke arah Quran dan Sunnah, maka pada masa itulah macam2 fitnah timbul ie wahhabi lah, extremist la etc2...to turn people away from the truth...add to that kesempitan hidup, kesibukan ibubapa mengejar harta, keluarga yang porak peranda akibat cetek ilmu agama mak bapak sendiri, sistem pendidikan ala parrot tanpa berfikir,influence budaya dari barat esp music, movies, tv shows and this is what we get...and I'm fearful for my kids too.

unicorn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
unicorn said...

' Orang yg lahir lepas 1981 semua hidup dalam era BN dgn perdana menteri Tun Dr. M..'

mmm...itu tak de related sgt rasanya. sebab zaman muda parents saya 60's & 70's, banyak hippies yg mulanya dadah bermaharajalela.

pokok pangkal,didikan dirumah penting dan keduanya, sekolah. walaupun budak2 banyak menghabiskan masa disekolah dr dirumah namun sy tetap mengatakan didkan ibubapa/keluarga yg berhemah lagi kuat pengaruh pdanak2.guru2 disekolah tak akan jaga anak kita macam kita jaga anak kita. Belaian ,kasih sayang dan komunikasi dr hati kehati bersama anak2 sgt ptg dimana guru2 tidak boleh berbuat demekian secara total.Mrk mendidik secara 'mengikut buku' atau 'as a whole'dan terpulang kpd murid untuk 'absorb'.lagipun mrk ini makan gaji.Ibubapa lah yg bertanggungjawab keseluruhannya.

orang melayu berugama islam kerana keturunan islam.Adat tu betul juga.nothing much to do abt it.Dekat jordan,iran,pakistan,afghanistan etc adat mereka ialah ugama mereka. dimana kdg2 tidak masuk akal,spt anak perempuan sendiri dibunuh ,dikerat2 kerana 'menjatuhkan' maruah keluarga dan islam hanya kerana ada orang lelaki bertanya jalan.

tahukah mereka yg perbuatan membunuh itu diantara 7 dosa besar yg tidak akan diampun Allah swt..?

mrasd said...

salam,
Komen saya atas polisi dan Tun M bukan berjasrat nak perkecilkan Tun... tapi KES ini terlalu besar dan serius.. Unicorn ada selitkan yg pada zaman 60s & 70s, dadah dan masalah sosial lain dah pun ada.. Tu sebenarnya yg nak saya bangkitkan.. Cuba fikir daripada kes dadah tahun 60-an & 70an, sekarang dah semakin tenat.. Sampai bebudak sekolah rendah pun jadi mangsa.. Saya rasa (strong feeling) penjenayah ini bukan lahir zaman 60-an atau 70-an. Ini adalah hasil sistem negara (secara umum)..
Kita tahu polis bukan tak siasat cuma caranya mungkin kurang sesuai. Tapi kita tak lantik polis dan kalau kita nak marah polis pun, apa kita dapat. Anak kita masih tak jumpa.. Ini ibarat menyalak pokok.. Sebenarnya kita semua ada kuasa.. memilih kerajaan.. itu tanggungjawab kita.. Saya tak suruh pangkah sapa-sapa.. cuma imagine KALAU PERKARA INI JADI KAT ANAK KITA SENDIRI.. Nak harap jumpa.. mungkin tapi tengok perkembangan sekarang.. Nak harap kes selesai pun jauh sekali..
Sekali lagi, saya tak suruh pangkah sesiapa, cuma Kita kena MINTAK/DEMAND yg kes macam ni SELESAI..

pendita_alam said...

Salam semua..

Sedih bila baca laporan akhbar..dah berapa kes percubaan culik budak dalam tempoh 2 minggu ni..di PJ, Pandan Indan, Seremban, Kuala trengganu dan terakhir di Klang.

Kejadian membabitkan kebanyakan kanak-kanak berusia 5 tahun.

Cuba fikir..inilah clue yang kita nantikan. Percubaan2 yng tidak berjaya ini bakal membuka simpul yang membuntukan selama ini. Tapi kaau buat tak endah saja, tetap tiada penyelesaian.

Penjenayah bermotosikal, 2 orang. Ada yang menggunakan van dan motosikal. Bermakna penjenayah bukan berseorangan.

Malangnya, tiada siapa yang dapat beri maklumat jelas tentang jenis, nombor, warna kenderaan, susuk badan penjenayah dll.

Kat Klang prade tu mungkin ada CCTV. Mungkin boleh cuba lihat apa yang ada di sana.

Klang Prade tu kawasan ramai orang, takkan lah tiada siapa yang perasan kejadian tempohari. Tampillah beri maklumat, atau anda dikategorikan sebagai bersubahat dengan penjenayah.

Satu lagi..kesal dengan ibubapa mangsa "hampir culik" tu, mereka sendiri tak tahu bahawa anak mereka hampir jadi mangsa culik. Yang macam ni lah yang Mak Menteri Shahrizat patut leter, tak tau jaga anak. Bawa anak shopping, sampai anak jalan sorang-sorang pun tak tahu.

Dalam keadaan parlimen hampir bubar dalam masa terdekat ni (mungkin beberapa hari lagi), saya rasa kes adik sharlinie makin dilupakan....

Sebab masing-masing dah demam...orang demam mana nak fikir kes macam ni..sibuk fikir terpilih lagi atau tidak..

rone said...

Yup you're right mrasd...I'm really agreed with your opinions.

Bila CCTV of the bastard killer letak sport bag ditayang utk public, I was thinking similar of your what mention.
The bastard killer ni bukannya baru saja tup-tup jadi pembunuh, bukannya sedar-sedar jadi penculik lepas tu pembunuh kanak-kanak. It was slowly gain from time to time then what we face today.

Meaning to say...asuhan, cara hidup dan pengaruh sekeliling buat si bastard tu jadi begitu.

Look surrounding us, what we have...buktinya tak perlu pecah kepala memikirnya..just switch-on your TV-hiburan tak sudah-sudah...samada TV kerajaan, TV swasta or TV berbayar...radio pun sama.
From the kids to become a singer until grandmother want to become a superstar! Siapa yang control hiburan-hiburan ni...siapa yg galakkan benda-benda ni-siapa yg buat rules?

So what choice that we have...fikir sendiri-kita semua ada kepala otak. General Election pun tak lama lagi!

Cuma lagi satu perlu difikirkan...for me jenayah bunuh/rogol ni bukannya tiba-tiba je jadi begitu...it takes long time to make it happen. Perhatikan anak-anak kita, adik-beradik kita, remaja-remaja kita...bila nampak mereka cenderong pada kelakuan yang pelik-pelik seperti agresif pada kanak-kanak, kaki-buli, lain macam suka pada kanak-kanak...they needs our help, asuh mereka dgn ugama, bimbing mereka, hantar pada kaunselin- DON'T let them alone!

Zulkifli said...

MRASD,unicorn,tehsin,

agree that siapa pun memerintah system kebendaan perlu di minimakan...

kena betulkan sistem keselamatan dan undang-undang...balik balik cakap pasal pembangunan..tengku razaleigh pulak cakap pasal nak hapuskan subsidi ...boleh tapi kena hapuskan cukai mukai tol semua bolehlah hapuskan subsidi...negara majupun tak hapuskan subsisi 100 peratus...KJ pulak cakap minyak kita paling murah kat ASIA TENGGARA...err kajian mana? Kedua termurah maybe kot..bila minyak nak turun ...minyak dunia dah turun harga 90 USD setong...tak akan time naik dia naik time turun buat kajian kot...?
minyak naik, barang naik, gaji macam tu gak.tekanan hidup meningkat,,,kena buat dua,tiga kerja untuk survival...cam na tak jenayah naik?

itulah payah kalau ikut sistem pemerintahan dalam Islam, kemudahan asas seperti air api, perubatan ,pendidikan jalanraya kena bagi percuma ...tapi kita terbalik pemimpin cakap nak hapuskan subsidi...sorry masuk politik sikit tapi tak wajarlah pemimpin cakap macam lupa hak rakyat ....

sekarang ni bila tekanan hidup dah tinggi jenayah akan tinggi sebab orang tak berkemampuan untuk cari kerja akan mencuri merompak etc....
kalau sistem yang ada menguntungkan setengah golongan dan rugikan golongan yang lebih besar...ianya adalah sistem yang GAGAL...

disko kita kalah kat europe, U.S tengok jerla gejala budak budak melayu sekarang kat bangsar time tahun baru...kat dataran merdeka...yang pempuan boleh usung jer oleh sapa sapa...lepas tu balak lari charge rogol ...rogol bawah umur...yang ikut sapa suruh...

Prof Khoo Kay Kim pun suruh ubah sistem pendidikan yang terlalu exam oriented...adakah leader dengar pandangan dia? dengar jerla tapi ada cuba laksanakan?


law enforcement...tak berkesan...sebab jenayah makin banyak...segala indon, bangla, vietnam, semua ada dibawa masuk....

buruh kita sendiri pergi merata ke Australia, US etc...sebab tawaran lebih baik...tinggal la kat kita watak watak crook yang diimport dari negara yang saya sebut tadi...



tak semesti ubah pemerintah...tapi pemerintah tidak kira siapa perlu ubah sedikit system yang ada...jangan cerita pembangunan sahaja tapi nilai masyarakat runtuh pun tak guna...

melayu la paling hampeh dari bangsa lain...kes pukul bini pun rekod melayu pegang...dadah etc...

bola sepak pemain melayu paling ramai main tengok la dengan team cikapot lepas perang cam vietnam pun kalah...dengan Bosnia terkial kial...dengan Mauritius pun semput ...mauritius part time nelayan jer main...stadium dia orang pun buruk...negara afrika stadium rongak pun dia orang punya player dah main kat English Premier League, kat france ...kenapa? sebab kita tak berdisplin ..Claude le Roy..pernah jadi jurulatih Malaysia tapi malaysia fail ..tapi bila dia jadi jurulatih Ghana, cameroon negara africa kenapa dia orang boleh gi world cup...? sebab kita gah dengan pembangunan kemudahan sukan ...tapi spiritual cintakan negara tak ada...tulah jadinya...aku tak cakap pasal bola sangat tapi pasal spiritual kita lemah...makin lama makin teruk...

title Datuk melimpah ruah...tapi bila bercakap nampak kebodohan...cam na dapat title Dato' datuk tak tau la...kita negara paling banyak title ...kita serba boleh...macam dulu ada sekali geng kongsi gelap pun dapat Dato..dah kena dakwa gelaran dato di lucutkan...apa la..sistem yang ada ada yang okeyh ada yang teruk yang teruk tu ler kena ubah...

tehsin mukhtar said...

Pendita, zul etc...we should start a petition...collective voice stronger..nanti emailkan contact number etc tehsinmukhtar@yahoo.com

unicorn said...

mrasd,zulkifli et al,

hari mengundi dah dekat..kat mydin dah dijual bendera UMNO..ada juga dengar p/raya akan diadakan sikit hari je lagi.

kat Tv,macam2 bantuan dibagi dan 'membangkit2kan' kemajuan yg diusahakan pemerintah( err...tak ikhlas ke?)

mrsad,undi itu rahsia,suami sy pun tak tahu..sbb dia suka calon lain.undi rahsia tu bagus..aman rumahtangga...

kesian sungguh dgn keluarga ninie,ibubapanya dikhabarkan tiap2 malam cari nini dilorong2 sekitar PJ.kakak2nya sukar menguntum senyuman lagi.sebak dada...

w/pun wang hadiah rm100k tapi kalau keluarga mlg ini tidak dibantu kewangannya ,sukar juga mrk bergerak(menjejaki nini) dan meneruskan kehidupan seharian krn mohd nasyar sudah sebulan tidak pergi kerja. andaikata,jentera2 pilihanraya(putera/i UMNO,pemuda/wanita UMNO,kementerian p/bgn wanita & m'kat dll)faham situasi ini, inilah masanya untuk menyumbang kpd keluarga ini sedikit bantuan kewangan.

on warga asing,inilah bahananya bila sempadan negara bolos secara manual & digital & virtual...

Zulkifli said...

Unicorn, walaupun pilihanraya dah start harap harap kes kes Phaedophile ni di beri perhatian.

MaryKate said...

unicorn, on yesterday's star i think, Ninie's father had been requested to report back to work by his employer.

I really sympathise with the family, can anyone imagine how they can continue with their daily life, thinking of Ninie all the time.

posters of ninie are fading, there is less and less news on her, and there is NO SOLID lead on her as well. we can only continue to pray and hope.

Zulkifli said...

marykate, we have another problem...the General Election...

there will be BN , PAS, PKR, DAP posters everywhere...

leaders head is on the G.E ...hope they will not forget this case...

the house to house search is good but a bit waste of time...they need to do road block transport search etc....

unicorn said...

bagus juga cdgn tehsin tu,hantar petition kat2 p/raya nih kat PM minta expedite kes2 culik kanak2 ..! biar PM & co push it harder .biasanya kat p/raya,mrk akan extra serious maklumlah nak dpt undi rakyat

JAJ, boleh buat satu format petition and paste kat blog ni? sapa2 nak support cuma taruk nama & hantar kat biro aduan pemuda uMNO b4 election.

MaryKate said...

zulkifli, yes....the election, only means that there is very little focus on Ninie's case. i am sure you all have read about OUR MAS pilot caught with child porn in adelaide. I wonder if it came from Malaysia? there's report saying that Malaysia and thailand were hub for child porn, and just maybe there's so many cases of child kidnap.

dear all, pls read tembam's blog on this, and the more you read and undertand, you'll find out that there are way more serious issues popping up. and yet, our laws are not protecting our children enough, and our laws are also very lax on porn matters here. I am still wondering what is going on with our society here. Have we been 'too advanced' in such issues, are our children really target of kidnappings for porn related reasons, are people losing themselves and their religion and not having any morals, why are kiddies porn easily available - from whom and to whom. Lets not forget after the MAS incident, another SIA pilot was caught with porn materials in his laptop and he is a MALAYSIAN. I think there's more than just a few missing children, it could be a syndicate behind all this, and i hope i am wrong.

Zulkifli said...

marykate you are right...the child porn and kidnapping is a very serious issue...my worry is who is involve in this kind of activities?

The law maker should do something about this...it's getting bigger and bigger as more and more educated and professional people attracted to this kind of gross activities...it is sickening as we all have kids and very worried because there is no solution to this yet...and why...


there are more than 17 child missing and lini is one of them...Nurin is our wake up call and yet I see they are not very serious in dealing with this...what happen to the autopsy case...?

I recently read a story about a phaedophile who store children inside is house...rape,battered those children...and many of them died and being buried near the area of his house,he this bastard kill those child for what...? ...and the shocking news was...VIP is also involved in this activities and being caught by the authorities...the video tape this sick activities...and my god some people enjoy watching it...

and I really hope this will not happen in Malaysia, but who knows...remember 17 + linie is still missing..what happen to them and linie...?

most of us here have children...I'm really worry as the victim is getting younger and younger...

Unicorn...idea tehsin tu bagus ..jom