Crime Scene Forensics: A Scientific Method Approach, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Crime Scene Forensics

A Scientific Method Approach, 1st Edition

By Robert C Shaler

CRC Press

644 pages | 232 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439859957
pub: 2011-12-28
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pub: 2011-12-28
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Bridging the gap between practical crime scene investigation and scientific theory, Crime Scene Forensics: A Scientific Method Approach maintains that crime scene investigations are intensely intellectual exercises that marry scientific and investigative processes. Success in this field requires experience, creative thinking, logic, and the correct application of the science and the scientific method.

Emphasizing the necessary thought processes for applying science to the investigation, this text covers:

  • The general scene investigation process, including definitions and philosophy as well as hands-on considerations
  • Archiving the crime scene through photography, sketching, and video
  • Managing the crime scene investigation—the glue that holds the investigation together
  • Searching the crime scene—the logical byproduct of archiving and management
  • Impression/pattern evidence, including fingerprints, bloodstains, footwear impressions, and tire track impressions
  • The biological crime scene and recognizing, collecting, and preserving biological evidence, including forensic entomology and evidence found at bioweapon scenes
  • The fundamental principles of evidence as expressed by the Principle of Divisible Matter and the Locard Exchange Principle: every touch leaves a trace
  • Trace evidence, including glass, paint, and soil
  • Shooting incident scenes, with discussion of bullet paths and gunshot residue

The final section examines fire scenes, quality assurance issues, and methods for collecting and preserving various evidence types not covered in other chapters.

The delicate balance among logic, science, and investigative activity must be understood in order to successfully work a crime scene. Enhanced by more than 200 color images, this volume provides investigators and students with the tools to grasp these critical concepts, paving an expeditious path to the truth.

Table of Contents

The Philosophy and Essentials of Crime Scene Forensics

Crime Scene Forensics: Philosophy, Practice, and Teaching

The Scientific Method, Bias, and Reasoning

Management Basics: The Investigative Glue

The Fundamental Principles of Evidence

Searching the Scene: Logic in Action

Forensic Archiving: Today’s Eye for the Future

The Principles of Forensic Photography

The Paper Trail: Case Files, Worksheets, Notes, and Sketches

Videography: The Forensic Documentary

Impression Evidence: Patterns of Identity

Fingerprints: The Intellectual Ingredients

Fingerprints II: On-Scene Considerations

Pattern Evidence I: Footwear Impressions

Pattern Evidence II: Vehicle-Involved Scenes

The Biological Crime Scene

The Biological Crime Scene: It’s Not Just About DN A

Introduction to Bloodstain Pattern Analysis: The Basics

Mass Fatality Events, Bioweapons, and Microbial Forensics

Forensic Entomology: Bugs and the Postmortem Interval

Microscenes and Trace Evidence

Microscenes: Hair and Fibers

Glass: A Multitasking Class of Evidence

Soil and Paint as Evidence

Bang! It’s a Shooting Incident Scene

Introducing Shooting Scene Investigations

Vehicles as Shooting Incident Crime Scenes

Miscellaneous Considerations and Specialized Scenes

Fire Scenes: A Scientific Method Investigation

Quality at the Crime Scene

Collection and Preservation of Evidence

Scientific and Technical Working Groups



About the Author

Robert C. Shaler’s research and professional interests focus on applying science and technology to crime scene investigation. His current research is related to identifying human and bacterial DNA in fingerprints and to quantifying the biological response to trauma and stress by analyzing postmortem blood and tissue. He has taught workshops to law enforcement on crime scene investigation, crime scene reconstruction, and bloodstain pattern analysis. He is the recipient of a U.S. patent for a novel method for developing fingerprints, a continuing project for which he recently received funding from the National Institute of Justice. He is the author of over 40 publications and chapters in four books.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science