Over the past two years, UCF forensic scientist Candice Bridge has been developing a database breaking down the chemical makeup of condoms and lubricants.
In January, Bridge received a grant of $354,000 and began to utilize the money this month to further her research to make a national prototype of the database.
This database is used to gather more evidence for sexual assault cases.
“In the event that the detectives were able to collect lubricants from the crime scene or from the victim and they have no idea what it is, we can say, 'This may be a flavored lubricant' or 'This may be a natural edible lubricant' to help narrow down the population,” Bridge said.
A study by the National Institute of Health, a government-run medical research center, said that in sexual assault cases, over 15 percent of suspects use a condom. Therefore, Bridge said that the database can be used fairly often and in many different cases.
“I’ve heard rape victims come up to me and say, ‘You know my case was dropped because of lack of evidence and even though this database didn’t come in time to help me, I think it will be able to help other people in the future,’” Bridge said.
Bridge said The National Institute of Justice, a research, development and evaluation agency of the United States Department of Justice, quickly noticed Bridge’s database success and granted her the money to make a standard version of the database to be replicated worldwide.
One detective who is anticipating the arrival of the database is UCF Police Department sexual assault detective Rick Salcedo.
“If we're able to get as many pieces of the puzzle available to us then we would be able to solve crimes easier," Salcedo said. "That way if someone is wearing a condom we can solve another piece of the puzzle by using this database. This database is definitely something we could use today."
Bridge hopes that the new standard database will be available to all detectives and forensic scientists by the end of 2020.
“I hope to generate a team of practicing forensic scientists who do lubricant analysis that can evaluate our database and make it stronger and stronger,” Bridge said.
Bridge plans on taking the next few weeks to enhance the database in order to make a national prototype.