2020 was an unprecedented year dominated by the global pandemic SARS-CoV-2, as well as worldwide economic distress, unemployment, housing and food insecurity, and social unrest. These significant disruptions affected all aspects of life, fundamentally changing human interactions through repeated periods of lockdowns and stay-at-home recommendations.
Forensic laboratory operations and planning were not immune to these seismic shifts, as many teams around the world experienced changes to workforces, budgets, and even crime rates in their local jurisdictions. Although continued uncertainty has made forecasting for laboratory needs and challenges particularly difficult, exploring the current and anticipated effects of societal and market changes may help us better respond to future trends in the industry.
To that end, we undertook a global analysis, engaging leaders in the forensic DNA laboratory ecosystem with two goals:
- To understand current crime statistics and trends, and how they may have affected workload, focus, and priorities.
- To explore the effects of SARS-CoV-2, economic disruptions, and other factors on budgeting, staffing, and future forecasting.
The 2021 Global Insights Survey of Forensics Labs report focuses on quantifying key challenges and priorities across staffing, planning, and budgets.