The innovators of forensic science consistently strive to be ahead of the curve. Advancements in this field are swift, and frequent. And that’s because – modern technology (in all facets) is moving at the speed of light.
So, in order for law enforcement to perform at high-levels, investigative techniques must outmatch the modern, tech savvy, criminal. Here are five modern techniques, which are on the cutting-edge of forensic science.
Fingerprint Time Tracing
For years, fingerprint analysis has been a staple of forensic investigations. One of the issues has always been eliminating benign fingerprints from the investigation. Basically, if a crime occurs in a high traffic area, there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of fingerprints in and around the crime scene.
So, a way to deal with this issue, is to be able to determine the exact time that each fingerprint was left at the scene. That process exists. Investigators can now quickly eliminate innocent people from the investigation. And focus their attention on the people who left fingerprints at the time of the crime.
An interesting branch of science known as phenotyping allows forensic investigators to predict many aspects of a person’s genetic makeup. Particularly, their hair and eye color. With this method, law enforcement can determine a great deal about a potential suspect without that perp’s DNA profile even existing in any known database.
Once the police determine a suspects hair color and eye color, they thereby eliminate a significant portion of the suspect pool. Supposedly, this procedure is still in its early stages with respect to criminal investigations. But, based on the information that the forensic analysis could reveal, this technique will surely be helpful in narrowing down suspects and streamlining the investigation.
Analysis of Hair Bacteria
Whatever can aid law enforcement in uncovering the truth is a welcome addition to any criminal investigation. Sexual crimes are particularly demoralizing and heinous. And, for a plethora of reasons, these crimes are also some of the most difficult to investigate.
Now, investigators will have some much needed assistance. Forensic biologists have been analyzing the hair bacteria of perps. Hair contains microbes. So, when people engage in sexual behavior, their hair microbe populations intermingle.
Thus, if there are allegations of sexual misconduct. A quick analysis of each parties’ hair microbes will assist investigators in their quest for the truth. Although a match is not an absolute determination of guilt, it is one step closer towards finalizing the investigation.
Databases containing poor quality images coupled with suspects disguising their identities has made tattoo identification a pain point in criminal investigations. Because of the unreliability of tattoo identification, many offenders have alluded justice.
Recently, a new computer program has emerged with the goal of helping, not hindering, investigations that rely on tattoo identification to find the perp. This software application is highly efficient in matching tattoos with a suspect through a system which identifies and focuses on “essential common points.” Basically, the program is able to use poor quality surveillance or photo images by finding the key points of the tattoo, in a similar manner that fingerprint analysis is conducted.
This technique can also assist in distinguishing between gang members, who often wear the same tattoos. The program picks up the minute details of a tattoo, thereby enabling law enforcement to determine one specific perp from a pool of suspects that all sport the same tattoo.
There exist many reasons as to why relatives of murder victims do not want their loved ones to undergo an autopsy. Generally, the procedure is an invaluable tool in providing criminal investigators with vital information. Although the court could most likely force an autopsy, this situation will also result in animosity between investigators and the relatives of the victim.
But now, there is a way to perform a virtual, as opposed to a physical, autopsy. The procedure is extremely expensive, and thus, not widely used. But, as with any tech, the costs will most likely be reduced as the technology becomes more mainstream.
Essentially, this non-invasive technique generates a 3D model of the body after computer applications mine the appropriate data from the victim. Once all of the information has been acquired, the 3D model is created. A few benefits of this technique include the ability to acquire immediate second and third expert opinions. Also, all of the physical forensic evidence on the body is left untouched.
These techniques are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to forensic science innovations. Are there any recently developed procedures that you think belong on this list? Or, how about some non-existent, futuristic methods you’d like to see advanced?
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