Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

What Is Forensic Science and Why Is It Used to Solve Crimes?

Forensics uses several branches of science to help collect and examine evidence. Often, the evidence will be part of a criminal investigation, but not always. For example, insurance companies also use forensic experts. Forensics also authenticate works of art.

DNA evidence like blood splatters and other bodily fluids found at a crime scene is one of the more dramatic examples of the use of forensic science, but most other examples are more mundane. One type of forensic science concerns itself with the handwriting analysis San Diego police departments or lawyers might use to solve cases of felony or fraud. Some experts believe that handwriting analysis and handwriting identification are two separate areas and that the former is a bit of a parlor trick. Handwriting identification, on the other hand, attempts to show who did or didn't write a certain document. Experts look at the slant of the letter, if the letters are separated or joined, the way the writer uses upper and lower case and the shapes of the individual letters. A seasoned expert can even tell when a person has written something with his or her non-dominant hand to try to hide his or her identity.

Determining who did and didn't put their hand to a certain document can help legal professionals solve cases of forgery, identity theft, threatening letters, ransom letters, stolen checks or other crimes.

Working with fingerprints is as much of an art form as a science. Forensics experts have always valued fingerprints because they can be found in places where DNA can't. Fingerprints can be left on a wealth of materials, including the inside of gloves. Depending on the material and the weather, fingerprints can be ephemeral, or they can last for centuries. They've been found on scrolls of papyrus from ancient Egypt.

There are eight different types of fingerprints but every fingerprint is unique. They have whorls, ridges, loops, deltas, arches, dots and bifurcations that all come together in a pattern that make it possible to identify an individual person. Some well-trained forensics experts only need to memorize a few points in a fingerprint to be able to pick it out in a batch of fingerprint cards.

Before a person hires a forensics expert, he or she will need to make sure that the expert is board certified by a professional forensics association and that they're qualified to offer testimony in court. Such experts can be found in forensic science companies like Spectrum Forensic International, LLC.

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