Uses for Trace Evidence in Forsensic Science

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There are various uses for trace evidence in forensic science. Trace evidence can include a variety of disciplines including hair, paint, fiber, rope, soil, glass, and building materials. According to Locard’s Exchange Principle, every contact leaves a trace. Whenever a criminal comes in contact with a victim, there is an exchange of materials between the two. When discovered, this exchange can provide key evidence in a case. Paul Kirk (1974) states in his book Crime Investigation, “ Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as silent evidence against him” (p.2). Without even knowing it a criminal can leave behind physical evidence that can be used to build a case against him. Without examining the trace materials left behind by these transfers, some crimes would never be found. Trace evidence has been an important aspect of the criminal justice system for a long period of time. The first recognition of this type of evidence arouse from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories starring Sherlock Holmes. Holmes used hair, soil, and various other trace elements to connect criminals to crimes. In 1910 when Edmond Locard began the first forensic laboratory, DNA fingerprinting had not yet been discovered. The first conviction of a criminal based on DNA evidence did not take place until 1987. This means that physical evidence played a part in catching criminals for about seventy-seven years before DNA was in the

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