Modern technology has completely revolutionized how crimes are investigated and solved. Information that used to take weeks or months to discover can now be determined in a matter of hours or days. Locating a suspect can sometimes be done in seconds if he has a current address or phone number available on the Internet. Law enforcement officials have had to be educated on emerging computer technology so that they can reap the maximum benefit in its uses towards catching criminals and solving crimes.
One large advantage that law enforcement now enjoys thanks to modern computer technology is the ability to connect information databases from various law enforcement agencies. Where a suspect used to be able to jump state lines to avoid detection, computers make it much easier for officers to be aware of crimes outside their jurisdiction so that patterns can be detected, and criminals can be tracked with the assistance of other agencies.
Modern cameras not only allow law enforcement many more options in identifying suspects at a crime scene, but digital memory also allows for much larger amounts of data to be stored more efficiently over a long period of time. The footage that is pulled off of the surveillance system is usually of better quality than the analog tapes of yesteryear. Computers can now clean up the image to get a clear rendering of a suspect's face for either an ID or for court evidence.
When a suspect goes on the run from law enforcement, he will still frequently seek out old friends, relatives and colleagues so that he can receive help in his flight. Police officers can now locate the names and possible addresses of potential contacts over the Internet, where social pages like Facebook and other Internet sites offer a large assortment of personal information about many suspects that is beneficial to police investigations.
Bullet Identification Technology
While forensics experts are already very skilled at analyzing the characteristics of bullets and shell casings that were used at the scene of a crime, new technology allows a laser engraving to be conducted on both the projectile of a bullet and the inside of the shell casing that can later be scanned and traced back to the store and the specific ammo box that it originally came from. While this won't prove a suspect did the shooting in an investigation, it will allow for detectives to have a starting point. In the past, they may have been working without solid leads.
Computer technology now allows for DNA to be analyzed and compared so that suspects can either be matched to a scene of a crime or they can be eliminated. The DNA that is found in blood, saliva, skin cells, hair and fingernails is much more accurate than traditional fingerprints in both identifying and ruling out suspects when DNA evidence is found on a crime scene. Not only has DNA technology contributed to sending many criminals to jail, but it has also resulted in the release of suspects who were found to be innocent.
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