Contribution of Forensic Science in Crime Reduction
Contribution of Forensic Science in Crime Reduction
Forensic science is a crime investigation using scientific procedures. It is also the scientific knowledge application in legal procedures (American Academy of Forensic Sciences, n.d). In the wake of the 19th century, the field of forensic science saw the emergence of techniques to curtail crime. In the 21st century, the field of forensic science has evolved due to the use of technology in crime investigation. Presently, are its different areas encompass the traditional science – biology, chemistry, and physical sciences, to establish the term forensics (Dadour, 2011). Chemistry involves various tests including chromatography, pH, spectroscopic analysis, and other chemical tests. Biology involves such tests as DNA, fingerprinting, entomology, behavior, and hair testing among others. Physical sciences involves ballistics, blood spatter analysis, movements of a car in an accident, structural analysis, and sundry. Forensic science has played a significant role in reducing crimes. Upon committing a crime by a single or a group of individuals, various experts undertake different responsibilities. As such, forensic experts include but are not limited to field officers, lab officers, crime scene investigators, latent print examiner, a forensic pathologist, forensic anthropologist, and trace evidence examiner. Consequently, various crime reduction techniques such as fingerprinting, DNA, toxicology and are now being used (Brown and Davenport, 2012). This paper examines the various contribution of forensic science in reducing crime. As a benchmark, the paper describes briefly the skills involved in forensic science contributing to crime reduction.
Forensic Science Skills
Three core skills are involved in forensic science. They include observational skills, evidence collection and analysis skills, and scepticism (Dadour, 2011). Observational skills are essential to enable investigators identify and compare the evidence in a crime scene. Forensic experts must discover elements the untrained eye misses. Meanwhile, evidence collection and analysis skills are critical to the roles of forensic experts. The collected evidence must be documented well, ensuring there is no evidence contamination. As such, methodology and accuracy are fundamental in this skill. Healthy scepticism, on the other hand, is critical in crime investigations. Anyone is a suspect until a concrete evidence proves otherwise. Imperatively, it is indispensable to understand that eyewitness accounts are not always precisely accurate. Apparently, it studies identified that people have trouble referring to memories in the case of eyewitness accounts and that their perceptions are founded on individual lives and values (Brown and Davenport, 2012). An eyewitness, for instance, may position that a woman left a crime scene. This account positions to eliminate men from the crime scene. Even so, a man may have long brown hair as well. In that light, eyewitness perceptions and statements accuracy require healthy scepticism to be valuable for investigations. Presently, forensic science is used to resolve civil disputes, enforce criminal law and government regulation, and protect public health (American Academy of Forensic Sciences, n.d)
Every person’s fingerprints are distinctive. Originally, fingerprinting not only established, but also ensure the availability of criminal records of offenders. Later, it evolved as a way of identifying criminal act perpetrators. Law enforcers maintain the exercise of fingerprint collection in the event that an individual commits a crime they can be identified easily. For instance, there are millions of prints in the FBI database and fingerprints found at crime scenes are matched with such collections (Thomas, 2015). Besides, law enforcers use fingerprints to avoid forging signatures, prove job applicants, and provide personalized access to certain areas or facilities.
As crime became complicated, a wide range of scientific techniques became necessary for identify suspects and connect them to a crime scene. As such, DNA fingerprinting emerged establishing the highest probability degree to exclude a suspect or establish guilt. It involves such biological evidence as blood, hair, and sperm. Other substances including fibers, glass, paper, and paint can produce substantial information through chemical or microscopic analysis. If the technology is used strategically, DNA fingerprinting can increase rates of case clearance, improve rates of prosecution and, thereby, reduce crime. Today more materials collected from a crime scene are useful if DNA fingerprinting and is applied to give a lot of information as compared to five years ago.
In cases such as homicides, drug or poison can cause or contribute to death or intoxication (Logan, 2011). Poisoning can be accidental or intentional. A toxicologist establishes the elements of a crime in which poison is used. In such cases, a toxicologist analyzes materials and determines the quality as well as the quantity of poison used. Officers investigating a crime use the report a toxicologist to determine the criminals involved. The court also obtains evidence and can, thereby, judge a particular case correctly. A biologist is involved in analyzing the different poisonous plant material used. Some crime scene clues include odors, staging, vomiting, paraphernalia, and sundry. Medical clues include nausea, hair loss, shortness in breath, temporal links, and others. It is imperative to state that the drug testing procedures utilizes high form o technology involved in alcohol and other volatiles tests, immunoassay, chromatography, and metals.
Forensic Serology is the study of bodily fluids such as semen, blood, saliva, and perspiration (Brown and Davenport, 2012). The bodily fluids at crime scenes are studied and later associated with a particular person. These fluids include secreted and excreted fluids, and scientists need to obtain samples of fluids. In a laboratory set up, the scientific test includes a number of tests. To begin with, the first test determines if the presented fluid is bodily and it type. After confirmation, the sample origin is tested. In all tests, quantity and packaging of evidence are properly recorded alongside simple descriptions, diagrams, and notes indicating the origin of the used specimen. Most importantly, details of test results and findings are usually used as evidence in a court proceeding.
Forensic science has reduced crime by advancing and developing new forms of crime scene investigations. This field involves a number of forensic experts who are skilled to undertake their role in identifying perpetrators and linking them to crime scenes. With the help of advanced technology, different forensic investigations are currently in use leading to the development of effective mechanisms of dealing with crime. Fingerprinting is a modern forensic science technique used to reduce crime leveraging uniqueness of every person’s fingerprints. Meanwhile, DNA evidence is a very efficient way of enforce the law and reduce crime. Toxicologists, on the other hand, plays an important role in crime detection where poisonous substances have been used to commit a crime. Apart from Fingerprinting, DNA, and toxicology, Forensic Serology.
American Academy of Forensic Sciences. (n.d). What is Forensic Science? Retrieved April 30, 2015 from <http://aafs.org/students/student-career/what-forensic-science.>
Brown, R., M., & Davenport, J. S. (2012). Forensic science: Advanced investigations. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Dadour, I. (2011). Explainer: Forensic Science. The Conversation. Retrieved April 30, 2015 from http://theconversation.com/explainer-forensic-science-2817.
Logan, B., K. (2011). Forensic Toxicology: Detection of Homicidal Poisoning. The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education. Retrieved April 30, 2015 from http://forensicscienceeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Forensic-Toxicology.pdf.
Thomas, D. A. (2015). The Role of Forensic Science. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved April 30, 2015 from <http://www.britannica.com/Ebchecked/topic/142953/crime/53437/The-role-of-forensic-science.>