SLCPD releases first of 625 post reviewed rape kits

SLCPD releases first of 625 post reviewed rape kits

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department released the first of the post reviewed rape kits to the public Tuesday.

In April, Salt Lake City police Chief Chris Burbank partnered with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Utah Department of Public Safety Commander Keith Squires to announce the Code R Kits Project.

Officials said the Code R Kits Project is an effort to review every sexual assault evidence kit in police custody that has not yet been reviewed by the state crime lab for DNA analysis. Burbank said the investigating detective determines whether the results from submitting a kit for processing would likely help the investigation. Each DNA test for a rape kit costs about $1,100.

Efforts to address the backlog of 625 unprocessed rape kits — the oldest dating back to 1987 — in the Salt Lake City area have been in the works for several months, police said. Tuesday, the first 20 kits were released to the public.

Utah is not the only state with backlogged rape kits. Memphis, Tennessee has more than 12,000 untested rape kits dating back to the 1980s, according to the Associated Press.

Of the 20 Salt Lake City cases that have been made public, 70 percent of the victims knew their attacker. National statistics show 73 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a non-stranger, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. RAIN also reports that more than 50 percent of all rape or sexual assault incidents occured within 1 mile of the victim's home or at their home.

On March 31, Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB157 into law, which requires investigators to inform victims whether their rape kits are processed. The results of the 625 rape kits will be posted to the Salt Lake City Police Department's website each month until every case has been reviewed, police said.

Police said if new evidence is obtained through the review, cases will be followed up accordingly.

Contributing: Morgan Jacobsen

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