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How Forensic Experts Collect Evidence

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Forensics experts collect evidence differently in respects to their own specialized fields. There are many fields of forensics: ballistics, blood spatter analysis, DNA analysis, forensic anthropology, forensic accounting, forensic aerial photography, forensic archeology, forensic astronomy, forensic botany, forensic chemistry, computational forensics, forensic dactyloscopy, digital forensics, forensic document examination, forensic engineering, forensic entomology, forensic geology, forensic limnology, forensic linguistics, forensic meteorology, forensic odontology, forensic pathology, forensic psychology, forensic serology, forensic toxicology, trace evidence, and forensic podiatry. Depending on what field a specialist is in, s/he would collect evidence through different means. Despite the differences on fields, they all have to come together and combine their knowledge and collected evidence together to help strengthen the case against the alleged perpetrators of the crime at hand.

In the case of ballistics, these experts gather evidence in the form of shell casings, bullet casings, entry wounds/holes, exit wounds/holes, firearms, and so forth. These people enter the scene to collect evidence if there were shots fired. Their job is to find any evidence that links the firearm used, the time it was used, and the location it was used. The information is cross referenced with the list of suspects that might own a model firearm similar to the one used during the crime.

In the case of forensic archeology, those specialists use their skills to find remains, old items that can be used as evidence, and so forth. In regards to international incidents such as human rights violations, forensic archeologists are invaluable to finding mass graves, missing bodies, and so forth. This proves to be crucial when going up against war criminals that are being put on trial. In a sense, one can think of Lara Croft from “Tomb Raider” as a forensics specialist.

In the case of forensic anthropology, those specialists use their knowledge of anthropology. To be more specific, they examine bones and other fossils. They is crucial to opening old cases that could have run cold. By examining the remains, these specialists are able to gather evidence in regards to how the victim died and by what method. In fiction, one notable example would be the TV series on FOX called “Bones” in which the main character specializes in forensic anthropology.

In the case of blood spatter analysis, these specialists have to work with other forensics specialists such as: ballistics, DNA analysis, and so forth. These specialists collect evidence by examining the blood stains at the scene such as direction of those shedding blood, positions during the shedding of blood, the method used for bloodshed, and so forth. In fiction, one notable example would be the TV series on Showtime called “Dexter.”

In the case of forensic astronomy, those specialists are crucial when it comes to evidence in the form of video and photo taking place outside. Astronomers have to look at the sky in the background to see what date the photo or video was taken. However, the role of forensic astronomers may have changed within the last few years due to being in the digital age. The new types of cameras and camera phones have time-stamped videos and photos.

In the case of forensic chemistry, these specialists identify drugs, toxins, poisons, and other substances.

DNA analysts specialize in zeroing on DNA left at the crime scene. They have to work closely with other forensics specialists. In fiction, one notable example of DNA analysis at work would be “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” in which the main characters solve many cases that involve sex and so forth. Those specialists examine all sorts of DNA evidence. This type of forensics has been crucial to making convictions and overturning convictions.

Forensic toxicologists gather evidence in the form of analyzing results by gathering samples. Like DNA analysts, forensic toxicologists gather various biological samples to aid in a legal investigation in which there is poison, drugs, and so forth. In fiction, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit goes in-depth with forensic toxicology as it aligns with DNA analysis.

Forensic entomologists deal with insects found on or near human remains. This is crucial to get a good idea on where the person died and if the corpse was moved or not. In fiction, this type of forensics is shown in the canceled NBC drama called “Crossing Jordan.” The character known as “Bug,” on the series, works at the medical examiner's officer as a forensic entomologist. Through Bug, in the series, the location of where the death of the victim could be told by the type of bugs found. Due to his knowledge of insects, Bug is able to cross reference where the body was found and where the bugs reside.

Trace evidence specialists collect the evidence at the crime scene such as shards of glass, wood splinters, dirt, fibers, hair samples, and everything else. They collect and gather the analyze the evidence found at the crime scene. In fiction, there was the movie “Gone In 60 Seconds.” The main detective, portrayed by Delroy Lindo, received a message from those specialists saying that the shards of dark glass found came from your typical black light.

Overall, forensics specialists collect evidence in many different ways. There are many different fields of forensics. Because of the different fields, the specialists have to use their expertise to gather evidence. Then, all of the evidence is pooled together to help build a case against the perpetrators.   

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