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Advancements in Forensic Science
July 14th, 2008
Forensic science is the broad application used within sciences and the law enforcement community to answer questions about criminal activity, and in some cases, civil issues. Forensic science is used mostly to evaluate and test evidence found at crime scenes and in legal matters. When used in criminal investigations it is commonly a method of finding the people or persons responsible for felony and aggravated assaults, rapes and murders. Practitioners of forensic sciences have endured extensive training in their expertise and are highly skilled in testing and analyzing evidence, when used in criminal settings. Forensic science can relate to fingerprints, DNA, urine, blood splatter, and ballistics.
Before forensic science became so complex, ancient cultures lacked procedures and practices to deal with criminal investigations, which caused many criminals to escape unpunished. Early on, crimes and investigations relied heavily on forced confessions and testimony from witnesses. The first accounts of evidence testing are known through a book and occurred in 1248, when a murder was solved by an investigator who instructed everyone in the village to bring their sickles, which he had previously determined was the murder weapon, and saw flies gathering on a specific fickle. The killer ultimately confessed and was brought to justice. Police started using fingerprints for evidence when a police officer found a bloody fingerprint on a door during a murder investigation, and cut the piece of the door where the fingerprint was so it could be analyzed.
Modern day forensics have become extremely complex and advances in forensic technology continue to evolve and offer better results. The techniques and technology used in today’s world differ greatly from the first uses of forensic science. Technological advancements in DNA testing procedures and tools in particular, have cleared over 135 people wrongly sitting on death row for crimes they did not commit. Common types of testing in forensic science today include comparing hair and blood samples, analyzing fingerprints, and bones, teeth, and body markings, which are tested with updated and trending technology and practices in the criminal justice world.