The Evolution of Forensic Science Through Technology
What is forensic science? What do forensic scientists do? Forensic science is the use of applying science to help in criminal and civil investigations. Forensic scientists process physical evidence to help found clues to bring an investigation to an end (What is Forensic Science). They can speed up the closing of an investigation by processing physical evidence to find DNA or processing fingerprints to find an identity. Forensic science has had a huge impact on police investigations and continues to shine new lights on investigations as it evolves with everyday technology.
Forensic science first made an appearance in the 700’s when the Chinese first used fingerprinting as a form of identification (Forensic). Since then forensic science has gotten stronger. Now investigations are dependent on forensic science to further help them develop leads and pinpoint the suspect/suspects that committed the crime. In 1784, the introduction of physical evidence was brought into criminal cases (Forensic). This helped lead to the dependency on forensic science. Physical evidence is an object, which is usually found at a crime scene, that can be submitted in court to prove how/what crime was committed (US Legal). This led to a clearer understanding of criminal investigations. Using physical evidence is one of the main ways that we now begin to crack the code of the crime that was committed. Physical evidence becomes more profound in 1816 with the closer examination of clothing found at a crime scene (Forensic). In the 18oo’s the first use of toxicology was brought to attention, and In 1836, the use of chemical testing became present (Forensic). James Marsh was a chemist who used this process to determine arsenic as the cause of death. The first use of photos in an investigation was used in 1854 (Forensic). Fingerprints were found to be unique to every individual which made the identification process easier (Glen). Different classifications or arrangements of the fingerprint’s loops, whorls, and arches are how they told each fingerprint apart. The study of fingerprints is called dactyloscopy which is also knows as dactylography (Glen). In 1887, the use of the coroner, which is also known as the medical examiner, was first introduced in both forensic and criminal investigations (Forensic). The introduction of coroners directly brought about the use of an autopsy. An autopsy is a procedure done by the coroner that helps determine the cause of death ( Stöppler). This was mainly done if the death was sudden, violent, or unnatural. In 1892 the advancements of fingerprinting lead to the pulling of fingerprints from crime scenes.
Physical evidence is objects found at a crime scene. Prints are a form of physical evidence. Print can be a footprint or a fingerprint, a tool, or any marks left on a crime scene (US Legal). Evidence also can consist of pieces of clothing and furniture. Physical evidence is given forensic scientist to help find clues further the investigation, such as DNA left behind by a suspect. Physical evidence that is analyzed by forensic scientists are presented to court because of its scientific accuracy (US Legal). Things that are concentered physical evidence is blood stains, hair, fiber and threads. Glass, paint, flammable liquids, firearms, tool marks, controlled substances, questioned documents, latent fingerprints are all other examples of things found at a crime scene that can be submitted as physical evidence and brought to a forensic scientist to exam (US Legal). A criminal investigator is the person who collects the physical evidence for the forensic scientist (Rivera). Blood stains are collected by gauze pad and or a clean cotton swab (Evidence). Blood swabs should be kept in a cool clement to keep the integrity of the sample intact (Evidence). By collecting blood samples, it could be useful in finding the DNA of the suspect or the victim. Collecting hair form a crime scene is beneficial by determining the race as well as the identity of the person it came from. Hair samples also show if the person was under the influence of medications or illegal substances (Evidence). Fibers and threads are typically found in the crime scene if a person leaves them behind if a struggle accrued between the victim and suspect (Evidence). It can be beneficial by comparing fibers and thread collected from the crime to determine the piece of clothing that was worn. They can examine it to find out the color and material of the fabric that was left at the crime scene (Evidence). Firearm evidence can be crucial in investigations. By conducting tests on different types of guns a forensic scientist can determine the make and model of the gun that was used in the crime scene. To do this they look at the grooves on the bullet left behind by the barrel of the gun (Evidence). Also, when a gun is shot a forensic scientist can test a subsects hand for gunshot residue that was left behind after the gun has been fired. All this information uses to take a long time to go thought and compare by hand, but with the use of technology it has made going through evidence easier and more productive in an efficient manner with the deduced time.