Article: article from journal or magazin.
A methodology to event reconstruction from trace images
Science & Justice
The widespread use of digital imaging devices for surveillance (CCTV) and entertainment (e.g., mobile phones, compact cameras) has increased the number of images recorded and opportunities to consider the images as traces or documentation of criminal activity. The forensic science literature focuses almost exclusively on technical issues and evidence assessment . Earlier steps in the investigation phase have been neglected and must be considered. This article is the first comprehensive description of a methodology to event reconstruction using images. This formal methodology was conceptualised from practical experiences and applied to different contexts and case studies to test and refine it. Based on this practical analysis, we propose a systematic approach that includes a preliminary analysis followed by four main steps. These steps form a sequence for which the results from each step rely on the previous step. However, the methodology is not linear, but it is a cyclic, iterative progression for obtaining knowledge about an event. The preliminary analysis is a pre-evaluation phase, wherein potential relevance of images is assessed. In the first step, images are detected and collected as pertinent trace material; the second step involves organising and assessing their quality and informative potential. The third step includes reconstruction using clues about space, time and actions. Finally, in the fourth step, the images are evaluated and selected as evidence. These steps are described and illustrated using practical examples. The paper outlines how images elicit information about persons, objects, space, time and actions throughout the investigation process to reconstruct an event step by step. We emphasise the hypothetico-deductive reasoning framework, which demonstrates the contribution of images to generating, refining or eliminating propositions or hypotheses. This methodology provides a sound basis for extending image use as evidence and, more generally, as clues in investigation and crime reconstruction processes.
Forensic, Investigation, Analysis, Collation, Classification, Video recordings
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