Forensics has been used by Law enforcement to assist in investigating crimes. It deals with various types of science and specialized areas in an attempt to answer questions and gather evidence in relation to a particular crime.
There are several specialized areas in this field. Examples range from DNA profiling, to ballistics to dentistry. Even videotaping of a crime scene can be considered a form of forensic examination.
A book titled: Xi Yuan Lu, which was written in 1248 is said to be one of the first ever of its kind. It provided techniques and ideas on how to solve crimes by using scientific methods.
It provided information on determining if a victim had been drowned and if a victim had been strangled. It even provided techniques on determining if a death was murder,accidental or a suicide.
The book provided an example of an investigator ordering everyone in the village to bring their sickle to be investigated as it was believed to be the tool used in a murder.
After a period of time, flies began to gather to one sickle- attracted to the dried blood which not visible to the naked eye. Eventually, the owner of the sickle confessed to the act.
Although the early days of forensics may seem rude and elementary by today's standards, the notion that science could help solve a crime was quite revolutionary.
However, with time, and an ever increasing knowledge base, some ideas and practices would become abandoned due to unreliability and improved techniques. One of these was the Bertillon Anthropometric system.
Bertillon invented the Anthropometric system. It involved taking measurements of people to determine and record their identity. Once their measurements were taken, they would be recorded on a card and kept for the future.
The following would be measured on an individual:
Height, arm length when outstretched, torso height, length of the forearm,length of the left little finger, length of the left foot, length and width of the right ear, length and width of the head,length of the left middle finger.
Ultimately, the Anthropometric system was abandoned when a positive identification was claimed to be made, but eventually proved to be incorrect.
This system eventually gave way to another method of identification- fingerprinting.
Fingerprints are unique to each individual. The are developed when babies are in the womb and still in development.
In terms of evolution, fingerprints assist in providing traction
and grip when holding onto items, much like treads on running shoes or tires, which provide traction.
In terms of forensic science, they provide a method of identification of individuals.
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Fingerprints can be used to determine if an individual has been in a certain area, or touched a certain item. Of course, this can only be confirmed if the suspect's fingerprints are obtained at some point so that a match can be determined from the print that is collected at the scene.
Police and law enforcement often times need to
analyze information from electronic sources
whether it be computers or some other type of equipment.
Ballistic Fingerprinting is conducted when law enforcement is trying to determine if there is a link between a bullet which has been fired and a specific gun.
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The idea is that when a bullet is fired, the gun leaves unique and precise markings on the bullet. The bullet can then be matched up with the gun that fired it.
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