The Effects of DNA Databases on the Deterrence and Detection of Offenders
83 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2016 Last revised: 4 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 2019
This paper studies the effects of adding criminal offenders to a DNA database. Using a large expansion of Denmark’s DNA database, we find that DNA registration reduces recidivism within the following year by as much as 43% and it also increases the probability that offenders are identified. We thereby estimate the elasticity of crime with respect to the detection probability to be -2.7, implying that a 1% higher detection probability reduces crime by more than 2%. We also find that DNA registration makes offenders more likely to find employment, enroll in education, and live in a more stable family environment.
Keywords: DNA, deterrence, crime, recidivism, technology
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