If you follow the yellow brick road of evidence left by prints, impressions, and markings, it can lead you to the answer you’ve been looking for all along. These three are the most common types of evidence found at crimes scenes, and both crime scene investigators (CSI) and forensic laboratory technicians must know how to properly document, collect, and analyze them.
While there is no doubt that modern advances in technology have led to numerous crimes being solved that would have been dismissed as a cold case decades ago, there hasn’t always been the technological advances in the field. The early days of forensic science must have been quite frustrating for detectives with a lack of options, outside of their own skills of inquiry and a trusty magnifying glass. Modern marvels such as DNA analysis or image enhancement technologies, have made forensic science easier in one respect. However, the methods of criminals have changed with advancement of technology as well. Forensic scientists not only solve for murders and other violent crimes, but for chemical attacks, cyber crimes, and any other acts of violence that come with the modern territory.
How exactly has forensic science changed over time? Here is a run down of some of the advances made in forensic technology along with other important milestones in forensics history that date all the way back from the 1200’s to today, with a variety of forensic applications. By the time you complete your forensics degree, there will be even more technology at your disposal.
Using forensic science to solve cases (especially cold cases) is nothing new. We’ve all heard about investigators gathering DNA samples at crime scenes or dusting for fingerprints on suspected weapons. What happens when something unusual turns up in a case? Here are three of our favorite cases that baffled even the forensic science experts. We hope that reading them will help you learn from their mistakes and help solve the next big mysterious cold case!
For those of us who have watched shows like CSI or Law and Order, detectives and investigators always dramatically enter and exit a crime scene where a grisly offense has been committed. Yellow “POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS” tape extends in all directions and it’s very clear that the crime scene is very serious business.
In real life, a crime scene is a dramatic and important part of investigations and analysis of crimes. Here, evidence for murder, rape, burglaries, and other law-breaking incidents are gathered and it’s important that the scene stay intact and that the integrity of that evidence be kept intact so that any police, detectives, lawyers, and others involved in justice, can do their jobs.
So just how do those at the scene of the crime work to preserve a crime scene?
Crime scene investigation (CSI) is a lot more complicated than what you might see on television. In many mystery shows, the investigators show up, take a few photographs, and then return to the lab to conduct experiments. Although these shows make for great entertainment, they don’t depict the planning, time, and effort that go into real crime scenes. Every crime is an event that must be managed and reconstructed through isolating the area, documentation, and organization. To accomplish this task, crime scene investigators must follow certain procedures.
Keep in mind that the duties of each precinct vary depending on available staff and the scope of the crime. Any illegal activity can involve various departments or organizations such as the local police, forensics experts, or national organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). With that in mind, the following procedures are standard across the board and are a basic introduction to what you will learn when you study forensic science in a degree program.