Crime Scene Science - The Past, Present and Future of Forensics

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on  February 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM Health Watch
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Murder investigations and crime reports, as they appear on television, have glamorized the field of forensic science. Truly, the bloodstains, matching bullet shots and fingerprints look interesting on the TV, but does this kind of evidence convict criminals in the real world? Read on to find out...
 Crime Scene Science - The Past, Present and Future of Forensics
Crime Scene Science - The Past, Present and Future of Forensics

From blood splatter to ballistics, everything in crime scene evidence is now being challenged in the court. Stolen evidences, foul-ups and evidences tampered with are common. Invalidated or improper forensics, incompetence and fraud have caused many labs to shut down.

Improper software for DNA testing and analysis have created a larger pool of 'citizens in suspect waiting' list, and naturally aim mostly at relatives, due to partial DNA matches.

a) The 80,000 DNA investigations in 2009 revealed that it is not a fool-proof way to validate a case.

b) In one out of every four cases of the 285,000 fingerprint analysis, experts looked again and changed their minds.

c) Impact angles, sprays and splatters, bloodstain patterns may have helped solve many cases, but experts tend to go beyond what evidence supports.

Forward thinking: Exponential growth is now taking place in the field of forensics, and the future promises more miraculous feats. Let's have a look...

Morphometrics: Geometric Morphometrics uses computer modeling software to identify craniofacial characteristics and may help identify the skeletal remains of children younger than 18 years of age.

Personal bacteria: Until now, DNA fingerprinting and analysis has been the best advancement of forensic science. Science will now move beyond working on just DNAs and enter a whole new aspect of providing more credible proofs. Simply put, bacteria swabbed from an individual's fingers have a unique genetic profile, making it easy to match and cross-check evidences. This 'personal bacteria' is scientifically sound, and puts forth potentially reliable evidence to use.

PhotoDNA: With photo DNA, computer forensic technicians can identify groups of images created by the same individual, even if the images were edited or re-sized. This new technology can be used effectively in the future to deal with child pornography.

Bee sleuths: Sniffer dogs have been trained and used for decades to detect particular smells and presence of bombs and drugs. Now, scientists in the UK have trained bees to recognize specific smells. These trained bees stick out their tongues when they catch a scent. Now that's something we would want to see...!!

Tattoo matching: Around 25% of individuals between 18 and 25 years of age have at least one tattoo, studies show. The prevalence of tattoos is even more among criminals and gang members, which may prove to be handy in tracking such people. Now, a new software has been developed, that may help identify even blurry images from a security camera.

CSI 2020: Developed at the Pennsylvania State University, the CSI 2020 is a portable device that may help detect chemicals emitted by decomposing bodies. This may help locate buried corpses and estimate the time of death almost immediately on-site, rather than waiting for the coroner's report.

Source: Medindia

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