Criminal Forensics

People depend highly on the information that television provides to the people, and over the years, the police drama genre has been one of the regular staple in television shows. Here, a common individual can see the development of police work, and watching shows like CSI (Crime Scene Investigators), the audience will notice how much police work has evolved through the years, from the simple stake out scenes and door crashing raids serving as highlight in police shows, now the focus is on more methodical and accurate approach, particularly the use and participation of forensics in solving different crimes like murder.

And because of shows like CSI, the words “forensic”, “forensic investigation” and “criminal forensics” have all become household terms, many already having an idea what it is all about and how it works, which really is by definition quite simplistic. “Forensic Science describes the science of associating people, places and things involved in criminal activities; these specific disciplines assist in the investigating and adjudicating criminal and civil cases” (Houck, 2007, p.

1). Criminal forensics is an important aspect of modern day police work, particularly to solve different crimes, including, and not solely focused on, murder – “not all forensic science is aimed at solving murder cases. Forensic scientists help solve all manner of crimes, including arson, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, forgery and fraud (Friedlander, 2001, p. 13). ” How does forensics work to solve a murder?

By explanation it is simple, but by real, actual work it is very, very difficult. Since forensics is the collection of different scientific methodologies used to ascertain the situation surrounding a particular crime so that those who are responsible for such act is put to justice, it is difficult to provide an encompassing explanation without risking being to vague in some parts. But generally, all of the different aspects of forensic work – e. g.

ballistics, fingerprinting and identification of marks and traces, etc – are taken into consideration to form a linear line of thought and establish or re-create what happened prior to the committing of the crime to establish relevant individuals who may contribute to the solving of the crime. As McCartney (2006) wrote, “There is no denying the power of fingerprints and forensic DNA evidence to exculpate innocent suspects and incriminate the guilty, potentially assisting with the swift and certain detection of criminal offenses (McCartney, 2006, p.

1). ” The information that the forensic team gathers in the crime scene and in related areas and from related items are parts of a puzzle that the police tries to solve. They ask questions – what is the relevance of the fingerprint found and why was it found in that particular place? How are the people, whose names come up after DNA matching, related to each other and related to the crime?

Where is the possible origin of the bullet that killed the man, the intentions for the killing and the name of the shooter who knowingly or unknowingly killed the person, and the gun from which the slug or shell found in or near the crime scene came from? Investigators ask question to find out answers that can lead them to recreating the scenario or eventuality that precedes the act of committing the crime, including motives, cause, incidences and other pertinent information relevant to the information.

Of course, the most important thing is that every available information fit together – and it is here that the assessment capability of the police or investigators comes into play. Fingerprints, tire marks, DNA results, paper trails like receipts, meshed with the testimony of witnesses and other individuals, make up the loose pieces that the investigator tries to put together to form a definitive picture of the crime, assisting the proceedings of the due process of law and contributing to the arrest and sentencing of the criminal.

The show CSI and similar programs actually explains in simple and layman’s term the role of forensics in solving crimes – fingerprints are taken as well as other things that can be found in the crime scene which is traceable to any person who can be implicated in the crime or knows something important about the crime.

Assessment, background checking and other judicial protocols are observed to ensure that no one is victimized by biased manipulation of the information found in the crime scene, something that is not extra ordinary since there are many incidences wherein people lead forensic experts into concluding something by ‘planting’ evidences like fingerprints, body fluids and other evidences in the crime scene.

As McCartney (2006) explained, “However, these forensic identification techniques may also have undesirable side effects. As risk aversion priorities predominate in late-modern society, precautions are increasingly taken that do not attempt to balance risks, but seek to avoid risks (McCartney, 2006, p1). ” Modern criminal forensics relies on many different technologies, gadgets, equipment and apparatus.

These things help in the collection and collation of the necessary information for a particular criminal case. There are machines that identify the person who owns a particular fingerprint, immediately displaying as well personal information like date of birth, location, educational background, criminal records and other useful information that can help crack the crime puzzle. There are equipment that can identify a body even if there are a few pieces of the body left.

Computers can access database system for different information like sales traffic or history of a person or a thing, while some computer programs can even make 3D replica recreating the scene as how initial information points out, like position of the shooter and the persons that were shot, the travel and path of the bullet and the reaction of everything and everyone around, seen happening simultaneously through animated recreation of a real scene.

But perhaps the most important tool in the use of criminal forensic is not found in the gadgets and tools, but rather inside the human being which is the most fallible and easily corrupted machine of all. Individuals have their own biases, and the psychological, mental and emotional set up and state of an investigator or forensic scientist maybe compromised or affected by recent experience that his ability for sound judgment in assessing the information from forensic investigation is questionable. This is something that police should focus on.

‘Forensic scientists should not allow themselves a view on guilt or innocence (Buckleton, Triggs, 2004, p. 118). ” Conclusion – Modern day forensics have gone a long way in crime-solving, and today, it is still looking for more and more ways in information gathering to help forensics experts solve crimes. Today, forensic experts are torn regarding the pristine state of information that is extracted from modern day gadgets which maybe a good source of a good deal of evidence, including the IPhone (Almeida, 2007).

But while forensic methodology and the technology that accompanies it continue to improve, some people believe that these things are not enough guarantee that investigators can solve more and more crimes more efficiently. Instead, these forensic features should compliment the basics of a police investigator. “The advent of DNA and other advanced forensic techniques has breathed new life into many of these old cases. However, these advances will never replace the homicide detective. ‘Shoe leather’, knowledge of the human character and the basic criminal investigation will continue to solve cases.

These traditional methods, combined with advances in forensics, may ultimately bring some justice to those who have thought they got away with murder (Walton, 2006). ” Forensic science and criminal forensic so far proved to be a very useful addition in the manner by which crimes are being handled and solved. Around the world, different law enforcement agencies are improving their knowledge and technology so that competitive forensic investigation may take place so that criminal acts are concluded with justice ultimately being served in the end.

“Given the public’s interest in using science to solve crimes, it looks as if forensic science has an active, even hectic, future (Houck, 2007, p. 1). ” What is important is that the development is not limited to technology, but also to other fields like psychology and behavior so that the human factor affecting the use of criminal forensics develops in the same pace as that of its technological counterparts. References Almeida, Cathy B. (August 23, 2007). IPhone Tantalizes, Frustrates Forensics Experts. www. wired. com. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://www. wired. com/gadgets/wireless/news/2007/08/iphone_forensics

Buckleton, John S. , Walsh, Simon J. and Triggs, Chris. (November 2004). Forensic DNA Evidence Interpretation. CRC Press. Friedlander, Mark P. (November 2001). When Objects Talk: Solving a Crime with Science. Lerner Publishing Group. Houck, Max M. (May 2007). Forensic Science: Modern Methods of Solving Crime. Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated. McCartney, Carole. (July 2006). Forensic Identification and Criminal Justice: Forensic Science, Justice and Risk. Willan Publishing. Walton, Richard H. (March 2006). Cold Case Homicides: Practical Investigative Techniques. CRC Press.