The National DNA Data Bank of Canada Annual Report 2016-2017 - Summary

The 2016/2017 National DNA Data Bank (NDDB) Annual Report is a straightforward account of our operating processes and a record of our most recent accomplishments.

When the NDDB was established in 2000, DNA analysis was relatively new in the world of law enforcement. Since then, analyzing DNA has become more commonplace and helps focus investigations by the early identification and arrest of perpetrators, the elimination of suspects and the detection of serial offenders which contribute to protect the innocent.

In today's connected society, with more mobility than ever before, criminals can easily move throughout Canada. This means that having a national database is extremely important. It permits police from across the country to link crime scenes across jurisdictions.

The NDDB consists of two DNA Indexes: the Convicted Offender Index (COI) which stores DNA profiles of convicted offenders and the Crime Scene Index (CSI) which stores the DNA profiles from crime scenes all over Canada.

This year, the Annual Report features an article on the impact of a single operational day at the NDDB. The article clearly demonstrates how the law enforcement and the criminal justice system benefit from the resources provided by the NDDB.

Below are some of the statistics from the 2016/17 report and the feature article. If you would like to receive a PDF copy of the full 2016/17 NDDB Annual report, please send an e-mail to NDDB-BNDG@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

Quick facts

Convicted Offender Samples Received in 2016/17Footnote 1 22,388
Increase in Crime Scenes Index in 2016/17 12,937
Offender Hits (Convicted Offender to Crime Scene) in 2016/17 4,946
Forensic Hits (Crime Scene to Crime Scene) in 2016/17 562
Investigations Assisted by the NDDB in 2016/17 (Offender and Forensic Hits) 5,508
Investigations Assisted by the NDDB since June 30, 2000 (Offender and Forensic Hits) 49,524

High impact: One day in the NDDB

For the past seventeen years, the NDDB has been processing Convicted Offender DNA samples and comparing them to Crime Scene DNA profiles generated by forensic laboratories across Canada. In order to understand how much investigative assistance is provided, consider what the Data Bank can do in just a single day.

On January 7, 2016, a typical operating day for the NDDB, approximately 100 Crime Scene DNA profiles and 100 Convicted Offender DNA profiles were entered into the system. On the same day, NDDB staff identified 32 matches, 22 of which helped investigators resolve open cases. In seven of those cases, the DNA match identified a suspect who had not yet been developed by investigators. In half of these 22 cases, the DNA match gave the investigators sufficient grounds to obtain a DNA warrant, which made the warrant application easier and more likely to succeed. In six cases processed that day, the suspect entered a guilty plea within a year of the DNA match being made, which by legal standards, is a relatively short period of time. Clearly, information provided by the NDDB helps save time and resources for investigators and the criminal justice system.

In one third of the DNA matches processed on January 7, 2016, the Convicted Offender's DNA was found in the NDDB because he or she had already been convicted of committing a secondary designated offence, such as impaired driving or common assault. This demonstrates how important it is to obtain DNA collection orders whenever possible for secondary offence convictions. In other words, DNA collected for non-violent criminal convictions often helps solve more serious, violent crimes later on.

While the DNA profiles processed on January 7, 2016 provided assistance on many property crime investigations, just over half the files processed that day helped with the investigation of violent crimes such as murder, sexual assault and assault with a weapon. One of these files was a violent rape that occurred in the early morning hours on New Year's Day, 2016, in Newmarket, Ontario.

DNA evidence leads to a dangerous offender being arrested and charged quickly, possibly preventing subsequent assaults

On January 1, 2016, in Newmarket, Ontario, a young woman was attacked while walking home along a pathway at 3am. A man who had been following her knocked her to the ground and dragged her down an embankment where he sexually assaulted her causing internal injuries. The victim managed to escape when the attack was interrupted by a passerby. She ran to a nearby street, half naked and bleeding, and flagged down a vehicle for help. A sexual assault examination was performed in the hospital and samples were collected for DNA analysis. The DNA was vital to this investigation because her attacker's face had been partially obscured by clothing so the victim could not identify him. Due to the violent nature of the attack and the risk to public safety, the crime scene DNA analysis was prioritized. It was processed quickly by the Center of Forensic Sciences (CFS) and added to the NDDB's Crime Scene Index, then cross-referenced with the Convicted Offenders Index. It produced an immediate match. The assailant was identified as 37-year-old Kevin Wyatt. His DNA profile had been entered into the NDDB in 2005 when he was convicted of assault, a secondary designated offence. On January 8, 2016, just one week after he committed the Newmarket sexual assault, Wyatt was identified, arrested and charged. On January 9, 2017, he pled guilty to sexual assault.

This case involved a large number of tips from the public, none of which initially led investigators in the direction of the accused. In just over a week's time, thanks to the CFS and the NDDB, we had quickly identified and arrested the individual responsible for this violent rape. The rapid turnaround time of the NDDB hit may have safeguarded future individuals from becoming victims. The value of the NDDB to criminal investigators is unparalleled.

Detective Simon James
Major Crimes Bureau – Special Victims Unit
York Regional Police
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