Evanston police don’t submit most rape kits collected from sexual assault victims to the state crime lab for testing.


Evanston police don’t submit most rape kits collected from sexual assault victims to the state crime lab for testing.

By contrast, the Chicago Tribune reports this morning, Chicago police submit all rape kits for testing.

Of the 11 suburbs checked by the Tribune, Evanston had the third lowest percentage of kits tested. — just 37 percent of the of the 46 rape kits gathered here since 2007 were sent to the lab.

The Tribune story doesn’t quote Evanston police officials, but notes that some departments say they store, but do not test, the kits if the victim doesn’t want to press charges or is not considered credible, or when investigators don’t believe the case is strong, or the state’s attorney’s office refuses to prosecute, or the suspect acknowledges he had sex but says it was consensual.

Critics say all rape kits should be tested because the DNA evidence that results can help identify repeat offenders and possibly avoid future attacks even if an individual case can’t be proven in court.

The state police crime lab has a backlog of DNA testing requests that causes a nearly yearlong delay in testing some rape kits.

Update 12:09 p.m. 6/15/09: Police defend rape kit handling

Original story and comparison chart

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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