How to make progress on the rape kit backlog

To the editor: The Times hits the nail on the head: The backlog of untested rape kits nationwide is a national disgrace. ("Victims deserve better than nationwide rape kit backlog," editorial, March 10)

After the 2008 investigation by Human Rights Watch revealed that the L.A. area had a backlog that exceeded 10,000 kits, I obtained millions in federal funding to start testing. Those dollars and improved funding for the efforts of the city and county of L.A. have paid huge dividends in taking predators off the streets and bringing closure to victims.

There's no one solution, but more must be done.


First, I believe the FBI's rules regarding uploading to the national DNA database can be amended to reduce duplication of effort and make it more affordable to process large numbers of backlogged kits without sacrificing accuracy. Second, we need a change in culture in police departments and crime labs around the country, so that when a rape kit is collected, it is processed and uploaded into the DNA database as soon as possible.


We owe nothing less to the victims of rape and to those we can save from further trauma by finding and convicting the perpetrators.


Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank)

Source: LA Times