Crime Scene Investigation, Part 3
Of course, all this is done to enable investigators to find and convict a criminal. Evidence, however elusive, must be found to help with this. Witnesses and suspects are questioned closely to find vital clues used to solve the mystery. Hypnosis is occasionally used to do this, though its use is rather infrequent. It is also a known fact among investigators that most criminals have lower average IQ’s than most ordinary people, so this can help with investigation. Psychologists are also used to examine the crime scene and its evidence in an attempt to determine the criminal’s gender, age, his habits, how he lived, if he had any diseases, what medicines he took, and many other things. A special device called the spectrograph can use recorded voices of suspects-on phones and other things-to identify a criminal. There is also a computer fingerprint system that can process fingerprints found at a crime scene and search its files and come up with a match very quickly. Optical scanners found in some police stations are also used. The fingers of a suspect are rolled on glass scanner and their fingerprints are recorded by video cameras. These prints are stored on a computer after they are changed into a number code. This process doesn’t even take five minutes to accomplish! These scanners can be faulty because dirt on the fingers of fingerprinted suspects and witnesses is taken to be part of the fingerprint and thus store messed up fingerprints is computer memories. However, the old method of rolling fingers in black ink and then pressing them on cards took about twenty minutes, and the cards got smudged frequently. Witnesses are vital in the investigation and solving of a crime. Employees at restaurants and stores can give essential information that lead to a criminal’s arrest. Artists can also draw pictures of the criminal, his weapon, and other details as told to him by witnesses and victims of the crime. Also important are information and photos that can provide help in the arrest of a criminal. Pictures of suspects and criminals are published on TV and in newspapers in the hope that they will be recognized and someone can call in with information. The NCIC (National Crime Information Center) gives information to police stations across the US-things like criminals’ histories, fingerprints, warrants, and data on missing people, etc. Policemen can, however, use a special computer program called computer aging to create pictures of what criminals might look like after they have gone unseen for several years. This program helps investigators by taking a picture of him and advancing it several years, to his present age. Then this photo is used to help investigators and civilians find him. Many things can give clues as to the criminal’s identity. There are several thousand kinds of dirt in the US, and samples of dirt on suspects or ones found at the crime scene can be matched with kinds of dirt from around the US that have the same dirt, mud, or minerals. If plants are found at the scene of a crime or on a suspect, it can be determined where they grow and what season they grow in to figure out who the criminal is. The same thing can be done with wood. Animals can be a huge help in solving mysteries. Pet dogs can help protect people in the event of an attempted crime and save much money by preventing theft or destruction of property. Police dogs are specially trained to sniff out things like guns, drugs, and criminals, or find and rescue people who are in dangerous situations. Dogs have better senses of smell and move faster than humans-thus, species like the bloodhound can be used to track down criminals who have fled so that police officers can arrest them. Dogs who receive special training like this must be loyal, curious, smart, healthy, fit, easy to train, alert, large, powerful, fast, brave, responsive to commands, able to concentrate, controllable, protective, and have a good sense of smell. Dogs who make it into police service don’t ever stop training-they are constantly learning more about tracking down and aiding in the arrest of criminals, helping victims, and protecting their officer masters. Males are bigger and stronger, so they are generally used more than females, and stray dogs are more popular for police use dogs used to more peace and quiet because they are not so distracted by car noises and other things that would keep them from doing their job. It may surprise you to discover that pigs are also used by policemen to help them solve crimes. They can be trained faster than dogs, as they have an excellent sense of smell, and can sniff out drugs. They are also very strong, intelligent, and friendly. While cats aren’t trained to help track down criminals, they can attack criminals during crimes and drive them off, perhaps leaving marks on them or their clothes that would help make them easier to find. As is the case with cats, birds aren’t trained to help make arrests, but if they were witness to a crime and know the criminal-or have seen him before-this information can unwittingly be given to investigators-especially if the bird can talk! Even bugs can help investigators figure out some things about the victim because they feed on dead bodies and pick up traces of drugs; this helps the policemen to know if the victim was murdered or not. They come in certain orders and lay eggs on bodies and also eat the flesh of the victim. Some kinds of bugs are attracted to bodies underwater-victims who were drowned, etc.-and lay their eggs on the bodies before the corpse(s) is/are removed from the water, if they are ever found. Scientists experienced in this field of study can see what kinds of bugs are on the body, figure out how long the bugs have been there, and determine roughly how long the body has been dead. Scavengers, such as carrion eaters, and decomposers attracted to dead bodies can guide investigators to dead bodies.