Fighting Crime

 

Sir, - As a life-long citizen of this country I am becoming very concerned with the increasing severity and frequency of violent crime in our towns and cities. Indeed even our rural communities, which in times gone by could enjoy the almost idyllic luxury of a crime-free or at least extremely low-crime environment, have in recent times had to contend with disturbing amounts of violence, injury and in many cases murder.

We are all aware of the increasing importance of forensics in solving crime, in particular the use of DNA as a method of finger-printing suspects, linking people to crime scenes using such tiny residues as hair follicles, skin deposits, saliva etc. In the light of these new technologies would it not be a good idea for a national DNA register to be established?

This would be in effect a database containing the DNA signature of every person in the state, who would be registered at birth. Thus the Garda could, through the use of forensic analysis, trace the identity of any person who has committed a serious crime, at the push of a button.

There are obvious consequences from the point of view of civil liberty. Legislation would have to be enacted to limit the use of such technology to serious crime, but from the point of view of solving crime and keeping dangerous persons off our streets the advantages of such a system would, in my opinion, outweigh any concerns we might have. After all, is there any greater affront to civil liberty than a population of people too frightened to leave there homes? - Yours, etc.,

Michael Hogan,

Terenure,

Dublin 6.