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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Florida is getting grant money to eliminate or reduce the number of untested sexual assault kits in parts of the state.
On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced $41 million in grant awards to various jurisdictions including Miami-Dade Police, Tallahassee Police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Miami-Dade will get more than $1.9 million to test about 3,000 kits. The state of Florida will get about $1.3 million meant to test more than two thousand kits and Tallahassee will get about $164 thousand to test more than 200 kits.
The grant is part of a partnership with the New York County District Attorney’s Office whose grant program contributed $38 million. In total $79 million has been contributed to eliminate the backlog that reaches 43 jurisdictions in 27 states.
“Rape kits are an essential tool in modern crime fighting — not only for the victim, but, for the entire community. Studies show we solve up to 50 percent of previously unsolved rapes when these kits are tested. When we solve these cases, we get rapists off the streets. For most survivors, seeing their rapists brought to justice, and knowing that they will not return, brings peace of mind and a sense of closure. The grants we’re announcing today to reduce the national rape kit backlog will bring that sense of closure and safety to victims while improving community safety,” said the vice president.
The news comes just a day after Attorney General Pam Bondi put added pressure on lawmakers to increase funding for crime labs to deal with the massive backlog of kits across the state.