How Is Chemistry Used in Criminology?

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Chemistry is used in criminology to find out more information about who did crimes. Find out how chemistry is used in criminology with help from an experienced chemistry professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Chemistry & Biology Concepts
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Hi, I'm Robin Higgins. And this is how is chemistry used in criminology? Alright, so criminology is basically the science of figuring out who did crimes. And actually chemistry is used in tons of different ways. Almost every single thing that we do to try and catch someone involving evidence of some kind of chemical nature we can figure out with a different lab technique. Lets go over a few. So first DNA testing. Clearly a few decades ago there was no way to do DNA testing. But now if they have a sample of your DNA they can attach it to a crime that you committed if you left any at the crime. So lets say that you are you know having lunch and then when you walk back to your car you're getting a parking ticket. And so you murder the parking attendant. Well if you leave any DNA they can DNA test you in they'll convict you of guilty. So another way they can do it is drug testing. So lets say that you're being handcuffed and you're really giving the police a hard time. Because you're like why even go to jail for killing a parking enforcer person. I basically did society a favor. Well they can drug test you to see if you are on any of the drugs that might cause you to act like that. So drug testing really helps in criminology. Also if you are on probation and you fail a drug test that can put you back in jail. So another way they can do it is through fabric testing. So lets say you're actual thought was not me that was my doppelganger. And I would never murder a parking enforcement person Then we can test the fabric in your car that maybe you tried to hide their body in. And lets say that you got your car decked out with custom leather. They can actually do fabric testing to find out exactly what type of fabric and have a match to the parking enforcement person's body. So another way that's a little bit less chemistry, a little bit more math but still science is blood splatter patterns. So what if you are like there's no way that that could have been me that murdered that parking person because I was actually coming from the left side of the street. Well they can mark, they can see where blood has spattered. They can do very precise geometry actually with angles that show exactly where the bullet came from and where it left depending on that person. And then one final but very important way that chemistry helps criminology is decaying bodies. So what if we don't really find that parking enforcement person for like six months. And they do find him buried in your backyard. And you're like there's no way that was me because six months ago I was on a cruise all inclusive. And then they can test the body and be like oh well actually it was eight months ago. And so once you die your body goes into a very specific set of decay rules. And different animals are attracted to your decaying body at different times which will really affect the rate of decay. And so you can map it up onto a timeline. These are just some of the ways that criminology can be helped by chemistry. I'm Robin Higgins and this is chemistry and criminology.

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