Greek CSI: How Not to Get Away with Murder



greek-csiOne of the strongest weapons in the fight against crime is DNA analysis. In difficult cases such as the one of Little Annie, which shocked Greek society a few months ago, the results of DNA analysis has helped authorities investigate cases and present accurate evidence.

The Greek news agency ANA-MPA spoke with officials from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, the Greek CSI unit, about their methods in crime solving. Specifically, the agency interview Major Dimitris Papanagiotou, head of the unit and the Biological-Biochemical and DNA Analysis Subdivision head, Dr. Pinelopi Miniati.

The unit consists of 400 people. They are police officers of all ranks, specialists and generalists. “Greece’s Criminal Investigation Department is among the top in Europe. It is recognized and certified under ISO, while the evidence it presents cannot be questioned. It has state of the art equipment and laboratories. The same as in other European countries and the United States,” noted Panagiotou.

At the moment, the unit experts are processing five million fingerprints, creating a database that will aid in the fight against crime. The database will be used to find people who have already committed a crime in the past directly and quickly.

In regards to the refugee issue that Greece faces at the moment the department operates as a supervisory authority,collecting fingerprint samples obtained via Eurodac, the base located in Strasbourg, as well as within Greece. This method helps the authorities keep record of who has entered the country illegally and who is seeking political asylum, thus keeping the situation under control.

“DNA analysis first started timidly in Greece in 1994,” noted Miniati. “We were only four people back then. In 2002, I suggested that we become a separate department. In 2012 we grew even more,” she added. “At the moment our labs are able to process 100 samples per day, depending on the complexity of the samples. Our new laboratory which will be fully operational in the coming months, will be able to process 200 samples a day.”

When asked whether she believes there is such a thing as the perfect crime the officer responded that every criminal act is faulty. However, she stressed that the officers who take on the case need to investigate the crime scene in order to collect all the evidence that will eventually lead to the criminal. “If you are an experienced officer, there is no perfect crime.”