Combating and Preventing Crime with Forensics

What images come to mind when you think of forensic products? A fuming chamber? Some finger print powder? Something else altogether and, perhaps, bloody? There’s extracting vital data buried deep in a hard drive and then there’s trying to figure out how a dead body came to appear at the bottom of a given tree.

Crime most definitely has its grislier sides. Thankfully, there are a great many products out there to combat it, in general, and to bring its perpetrators to justice. It is this key latter area in which forensic products make their mark. Forensic analysis makes it possible to construct solid cases to indict a guilty suspect or to clear an innocent one.

In the carrying out of these important tasks, it’s not uncommon to see many scientific applications converge in a single case. When matters are of life or death, all knowledge fields capable of contributing to a correct determination are welcome. It could only be expected, given the limitless creativity and derangement behind most criminal acts, that forensic products would suitably appear in likewise prolific variety. Crimescene equipment used for forensic purposes can include such tools as forensic lights of the white, UV, blue, and cyan varieties. It can also include a polygraph test machine, though, most unfortunately, the expert graph reader/interpreter will not come along with it. Besides the equipment, training in their use and applications is critical.

It’s important to remember that the tasks of the forensic investigator and criminalist are varied. It is never enough to just find a palm or foot print — such evidence must undergo proper documentation so that it can be proven later on that it once existed. Moreover, all criminal evidence must also be gathered and securely transported, in an as uncompromising a manner as possible, to a nearby crime lab for further analysis. Finally, the creation of crime-preventing tools, like child fingerprint cards, also benefits from the fruits of forensic studies. This multidisciplinary field is rightly lauded for its innumerable contributions to societal justice. It’s also no wonder that it’s become such a rich source of inspiration for TV writers and producers.

Sam Walters is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her writing appears in print and online.

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