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Bensalem Police Tout Use Of DNA Collection Database

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Fred Harran, the Public Safety Director in Bensalem, defended a program that voluntarily collects DNA from suspects and criminals for a database to solve criminal cases.

Harran, during an interview on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT with Dom Giordano, said the decision to start collecting DNA was an easy one to make.

"If someone is going to allow us to take their DNA and we can put it into a database and prevent crime, why would we not? I am going to use every tool that the government gives me in the toolbox to apprehend criminals and prevent crime."

He stated it is completely voluntary and everyone surrendering their DNA sample knows the reason for its collection.

"We are getting and asking people for DNA that we arrest or suspects in crime and no, people just walking down the street, we don't necessarily ask them for DNA. That's not what we're doing. We're normally [asking], in the commission of crimes, people that are suspects in crimes, to give us their DNA. It's all consensual. They swab their own cheek. They sign off on a form. The form tells them that it's going to be used for criminal investigations. There is no doubt in this individuals mind what the DNA is being used for."

Harran believes that the program has been yielding positive results since implementation.

"This year alone, we're seeing a 50 percent reduction in burglaries, but the years compared without the program to the program, we have a 42 percent reduction in burglary, and then this past year we have a 50 percent reduction. The county has a 25 percent reduction in burglary where neighboring counties have an increase in burglaries. Also, in Pennsylvania, it takes the state 18 months to process DNA in crime. That is not acceptable to me. My job is to prevent crime and to arrest criminals. If you are going to be possibly a victim tomorrow, wouldn't you like not to be a victim tomorrow. I think that's what America wants."

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