Mexico City finalizes 1st DNA database for use against sex crimes
By Ines Amarelo
Mexico City, Apr 27 (EFE).- The Mexico City government on Tuesday presented the country’s first DNA bank that will house genetic information on sex crime perpetrators and is intended to give authorities another tool in the fight against the ongoing wave of violence against women.
Although the work to create the database is done, assorted certifications are still pending before it can begin operating and expectations are that it will be up and running sometime in August, authorities said.
During the event to announce the end of work on the project, assorted officials, including capital Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, visited the facility and noted that the DNA bank is one more in a series of tools and government actions designed to eradicate violence against women.
The DNA bank will be the first of its kind in Mexico, where each day more than 10 women are murdered, and it will be a “basic tool in the investigation of violence against women,” said Mexico City Attorney General Ernestina Godoy at the press conference.
The aim of the database, which has been under development since 2019, is to collect genetic profiles of people implicated in, brought to trial for and convicted of crimes such as femicide, rape or statutory rape, who in many cases re-offend.
But the facility will also contain the profiles of police officers and public officials who are linked with security issues, security guards and even the head of state.
An individual’s genetic profile is a set of short DNA fragments arranged by size and containing the characteristics of that person.
The profile is easily convertible into a simple numeric code that is very easy to store and compare with high accuracy to help determine, in these types of crimes, whether a given person was the perpetrator or not.
The project was launched in accord with the Dec. 24, 2019, law to create the DNA Bank for Forensic Use, and since then the inauguration of the building housing it has been delayed a number of times.
Certifying the facility to begin operations is the responsibility of the ICITAP criminal investigation training program, and the Mexican Accreditation Agency.
After the officials visited the facility, authorities presented a special report on violence against women in the Mexican capital showing that in March 2021, the number of femicides almost doubled over the same month last year, jumping from seven murders to 13.
In those killings last month, authorities issued six arrest warrants and four arrests were made.
In addition, reported rapes increased by just over 40 percent between March 2020 and last month, rising from 146 to 205.
According to Godoy and Sheinbaum, the increase in the number of these crimes is due in part to the government campaigns to encourage Mexico City women to report attacks and also to sex crime training being received by capital police.
In contrast, the numbers of other crimes has declined, including murders (down by about 60 percent), sexual abuse (-5.5 percent), sexual harassment (-30.1 percent), aggravated battery (-27.7 percent) and people trafficking (-77.8 percent).
But according to feminist associations and opposition lawmakers on Monday, March was the most violent month for women all across Mexico since the SESNSP public safety system began keeping records by gender in 2015.
The SESNSP said that 267 women were the alleged victims of first degree murder, a record number, along with another 95 presumed victims of femicide, as prosecutors characterize murders for gender reasons or as a result of macho violence.