Article: article from journal or magazin.
A forensic science perspective on the role of images in crime investigation and reconstruction
Science & Justice
This article presents a global vision of images in forensic science. The proliferation of perspectives on the use of images throughout criminal investigations and the increasing demand for research on this topic seem to demand a forensic science-based analysis. In this study, the definitions of and concepts related to material traces are revisited and applied to images, and a structured approach is used to persuade the scientific community to extend and improve the use of images as traces in criminal investigations. Current research efforts focus on technical issues and evidence assessment. This article provides a sound foundation for rationalising and explaining the processes involved in the production of clues from trace images. For example, the mechanisms through which these visual traces become clues of presence or action are described. An extensive literature review of forensic image analysis emphasises the existing guidelines and knowledge available for answering investigative questions (who, what, where, when and how). However, complementary developments are still necessary to demystify many aspects of image analysis in forensic science, including how to review and select images or use them to reconstruct an event or assist intelligence efforts. The hypothetico-deductive reasoning pathway used to discover unknown elements of an event or crime can also help scientists understand the underlying processes involved in their decision making. An analysis of a single image in an investigative or probative context is used to demonstrate the highly informative potential of images as traces and/or clues. Research efforts should be directed toward formalising the extraction and combination of clues from images. An appropriate methodology is key to expanding the use of images in forensic science.
Analysis, Traces, Clues, Photography, Documentation, Examination
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