Albuquerque launches new program to tackle rape kits backlog

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department is launching a new program to address the state’s backlog of rape kits.

Right now, the city of Albuquerque has nearly 4,000 untested rape kits — making up a huge chunk of the more than 5,000 untested kits.

More funding will now allow the city to send out 333 of those kits for FBI testing and to hire three new investigators.

New Mexico is just one of many states struggling to get a handle on rape kit backlogs dating back to the 80’s.

Mayor Berry is calling his new initiative “Project 333.”

Three hundred and thirty-three is the number of rape kits that will be sent to the FBI crime lab in sets of 30 at a time.

The city will also bring on those three extra investigators who will evaluate every rape kit and prioritize them for testing establishing a new priority level system.

APD has its own crime lab that processes rape kits, but officials say the department also sends some kits to the state lab.

APD says one reason they have such a large backlog is that it keeps many kits that other departments would not have held onto — such as kits where the victim didn’t want them tested, or cases that were deemed “unprosecutable.”

Department officials say some of them still may be helpful in the future.

The results go into a National Database which can help solve other cases.

Officials say the $200,000 for this is coming from year end savings from APD’s budget.

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