FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG URGES PASSAGE OF COMPREHENSIVE DNA LEGISLATION FOR ALL CONVICTED CRIMINALS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, May 7, 2006
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"There is no doubt about the power of DNA as a tool for solving crime. If you've ever watched the hit TV show C.S.I., you know that with just the saliva on a cigarette butt or the sweat from a baseball cap, investigators can determine with ironclad accuracy the genetic identity of the person they're looking for. DNA evidence has helped the NYPD move forward on some of its toughest cases, including the horrific murder of Imette Saint Guillen and the 'Spiderman Rapist,' who was recently terrorizing the Upper East Side.
"It's imperative that law enforcement agencies take full advantage of this advanced science so that we can catch even more of our worst criminals and stop them before they strike again. That's why 43 states require that every felon provide a DNA sample upon conviction - but New York is not one of them. In fact, our State has one of the weakest DNA databank laws in the country; the majority of people convicted of felonies and misdemeanors are not required to provide a DNA sample - which means that if they commit other crimes and leave DNA evidence behind, detectives may not be able to identify them.
"It's high time for that to change. There is legislation currently pending in Albany that would mandate the collection of DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor. It would make New York the first state in the nation with such a comprehensive DNA collection system. It also would go hand-in-hand with our opening this November of a $250 million DNA laboratory - the country's most advanced laboratory, capable of analyzing evidence from the most miniscule samples.
"Why, you might ask, is it so crucial to collect DNA from someone who has committed a misdemeanor, like petty theft? The reason is that most murderers and rapists have long rap sheets that include every kind of crime in the book - major and minor. The earlier we get their DNA into our databank, the better chance we'll have of identifying them before they can commit more serious crimes.
"This point was hammered home to me earlier this week when I met a courageous woman named Isa Cekic. In September 2002, Isa was raped in the Queens laundromat where she worked. It was a brutal attack, but worst of all, it could have been prevented. Her attacker had been convicted of an earlier misdemeanor - and had also committed a rape in January of 2002. If the law we're proposing had been in place back then, his DNA sample would have been on file after his misdemeanor, and he would have been caught after that first rape. Instead, he continued to roam free, and months later attacked Isa.
"Giving the members of our police department the tools they need to do their job is so important. So is giving them the tools to do it safely. That's why, as part of the budget I presented last week, we are now committing $12 million over the next two years to buy 18,000 state-of-the-art police vests. These new vests will provide significantly more body coverage and can also withstand shots from some of the most powerful firearms. They were redesigned after the tragic death of Detective Dillon Stewart in November, and will go a long way towards giving our dedicated and courageous officers the protection they need.
"Along with our ongoing effort to expand DNA analysis in New York, these new vests remind us once again that the tools and technology to make the nation's safest big city even safer are out there. It's just up to us put them to good use.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address