Activists call for faster testing of rape kits

July 20, 2011 10:12:21 AM PDT
Community groups are coming together, demanding the Houston Police Department get to work testing thousands of sexual assault kits. HPD says they take sexual assault allegations very seriously. But activists claim that each day the kits go untested, a sexual predator remains loose. The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice acknowledges that HPD is working on the issue, but they believe that work should happen faster and with more resources put toward testing the backlog of rape kits.

The Houston Police Department says it has about 4,300 rape kits in the property room freezer. It says it has hired 10 contractors to examine the kits for biological material which could be submitted for testing.

Still, civil rights groups insist that justice has been delayed for long enough in these cases that have not been tested and more resources need to be put toward testing.

"This is what we need to do. We need to invest in more equipment, make it a state of the art crime lab and continue with the process until we catch up," said Sylvia Gonzales with Hispanic Women in Leadership.

HPD also tells us that if a case is a priority, investigators can request it be tested as soon as possible. However, they do admit there is a backlog and they can't say how long it would take to clear it up.

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