Why Is There an Evidence Backlog?


You may be asking yourself: Why are there backlogs of evidence in a crime
lab? Why is it they never seem to get smaller? Let’s take a look. When a crime is committed, evidence is often
left behind. When evidence is found it is sent to the lab
for analysis. This is Sarah, Sarah is a Lab Scientist and
it is her job to complete analysis on all evidence brought in from a crime scene. She has just completed an analysis for a case. But there is a lot more evidence that has
been brought in. However, Sarah has an idea to address the
growing backlog of evidence. She remembers a Solicitation she saw from
NIJ that would provide additional funding for staff and resources, so she applies for
funding. After an extensive review process, Sarah’s
application is selected to receive funding by the NIJ Director and staff. The lab then receives funding from NIJ to
implement Sarah’s plan to increase their capacity. Sarah and her new team of lab scientists work
hard to try and reduce the evidence backlog. They provide evidence analysis more quickly,
allowing the police to solve cases faster. Although they are able to make the backlog
begin to decrease, the decrease is short lived. As it becomes known that the lab has the capacity
to analyze more evidence than they could previously, more evidence begins to come in. It is all that the lab scientists can do to
keep up with the demand for analysis. If the capacity of labs does not continue
to increase to keep up with demand, evidence will continue to pile up. And it will take longer for scientists to
get to new evidence. Meanwhile criminals relax at home, potentially
planning their next crime, while the evidence that could convict them is waiting for analysis
in a box at the lab.