Using Forensic Science To Identify Criminals

2234 words - 9 pages

Using Forensic Science to Identify Criminals

Rape, murder, theft, and other crimes almost always leave a devastating mark on the victim. More often than not, it would be impossible to identify the perpetrator a crime without forensic science and the technology it uses. Forensic science allows investigators to unmask the secrets of the crime scene. Evidence gathered at the crime scene helps to identify the guilty party, murder weapon, and even the identity of the victim (Harkawy, 1991: 276). The new technologies enables the forensic experts to have better and faster access to accumulated information, to be more accurate in the identification of victims or delinquents, and minimizes the possibility of wrongful accusations. New technology has improved the methods and techniques that forensic scientists and law enforcement investigators use, in order to provide a safer environment for other people. Information technology is one of the most important aspects in forensic science. It is very important for the forensic experts to receive the undisturbed evidence, such as fingerprints left at the crime scene, as quickly as possible, for more accurate readings. Thus using space technology, such as satellite communication, enables the forensic experts to "gather and digitize evidence at the crime scene, enter it into an on-site computer, and beam the data to a crime lab for swift analysis" (Paula, 1998: 12). Therefore, due to the use of this technology, forensic experts in laboratories can examine the evidence in short time, and the possibility of damage or unlawful manipulation of the evidence before the trial is minimal (Paula, 1998: 12). More often than not, "criminals" wear gloves at the time of the crime, thus to obtain a fingerprint can be a difficult task. However, they may leave footprints behind, which "are often left in unusual places, such as a window ledge, in a flower bed or on a piece of furniture (May, 1993: 18). Computerized databases allow "unskilled" police officers to search the "national database of footwear" for important information, such as shoe manufactures, or evidence that links the footprint to marks from other crimes scenes. This "footwear database" enables the investigating officers to gather evidence against the accused much faster and it is also saves precious time ( May, 1993:18). One of the oldest forms of identification is the use of fingerprints and with the use of today's technology, many corporations can use this type of technology to help prevent various frauds. For example, in the mid 1990's Metro Toronto's Human Services Committee (MTHSC) proposed the use of a finger- scanning system in order to prevent welfare fraud. People applying for welfare would have to place their index finger on a scanner. If their prints did not match those of someone already receiving benefits, they would be eligible for a debit card, which would allow them to withdraw monthly payments from any bank machine. This type of technology is not...

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