The Role of Forensics in Solving Crimes

Forensic science plays a key role in helping law enforcement agencies solve crimes. Forensic science is the process by which evidence collected from a crime scene or potential suspect are analysed to draw conclusions in the case. Forensic science technicians usually work in close proximity with policemen, lawyers, and judges.

You have probably watched several crime shows and found the work of the forensics team extremely interesting. Some exceptional cases exist in which there is no suspect or witness and the only thing the law enforcement has to go on in the case is physical evidence left behind. Forensic science is also used in cases when the victim is found but cannot be identified because of extraneous conditions like complete or partial decomposition of the body. Analysis of such evidence is done by testing DNA, hair samples, as well as parts of the skeletal system such as the dental structures. By examining whatever remains there are of the victim’s body, forensic experts can be called in to determine what the cause of death was, what gender the victim was, and in some cases, even determine the age of the victim. All of this is very necessary to give the victim an ID so the case can be further explored and the perpetrator of the crime brought to justice.

In addition to dealing with such obscure crimes, forensic scientists can also be extremely helpful in the case of drug related and sex related crimes. By taking samples from the person’s body, laboratory technicians can determine whether the substance that the victim or suspect was on is illegal or not. Common examples of drugs that the forensics lab tests for are marijuana, cocaine, and other controlled substances. In the case that the suspect is found positive for these drugs, he/she can be tried in court for possession or consumption of an illegal substance. Further, if the toxicology of the victim indicates high amounts of alcohol or any drugs, a cause of death can be determined for this. Toxicology reports also indicate the presence of poisonous substances in the victim’s body and can help narrow down the method of killing as well as the pool of suspects.

In the case of sex related crimes, forensic tests can analyse DNA from the victim to identify who the sexual assaulter is. In the case that there is no witness to the crime, this DNA can further be used to test against the DNA of suspects in the case. By using forensic methods to analyse physical evidence, serial rapists, sexual offenders, and child molesters can be put behind bars for their crimes. Additionally, these DNA tests can also help to prove the innocence of someone who has been wrongly framed for a crime that he/she did not commit.

The other two areas in which forensics can be used to solve crimes are ballistics testing and cyber tracking. The former refers to the analysis done by experts to determine what kind of gun was used to shoot the victim, how many bullets were fired, as well as the range from which the victim was shot. When it comes to cyber tracking, forensic experts can trace cyber footprints to uncover perpetrators of cyber warfare, fraud, or embezzlement. This is done by tracing IP addresses as well as documents.