Tag Archives: forensic science

Look Sharp – Reality of Forensic Image Enhancement

cctv-enhance-example The proliferation of CCTV systems and exponential growth in the use of mobile recording devices such as smartphones and tablets, has meant that police and other law enforcement agencies now look increasingly to audiovisual evidence when conducting their investigations. Indeed, one of the most common requests we receive as forensic audiovisual specialists is to enhance CCTV and video footage to reveal more detail in the image. Technology has advanced at a very fast pace to the point where modern digital CCTV systems can record high quality video for long periods of time. This has facilitated the enhancement of imagery evidence and in many cases has helped to prove the identification of suspects, vehicles and other items of interest. Unfortunately the popularity of films and television programmes like 24, CSI and Spooks, which showcase technology in the investigative process, has led to unrealistic expectations about how much ‘magic’ we can really perform.

This may not be the world of Jack Bauer and friends, but we can still bring our own brand of wizardry to your audiovisual evidence.

The starting point is to understand that the potential for enhancement depends crucially on the quality of the recorded image. Image quality produced by CCTV systems is influenced by several factors, including camera capability, recording resolution of the CCTV system, and to what extent the images are compressed when being stored on the digital video recorder.

Read the full article at Police Oracle (free registration required).  

New Australian Federal Police Forensics Centre At Majura Hit By Delays

Federal police employees will have to wait until next year to move into a multimillion-dollar forensics lab in Canberra after construction delays pushed back the completion date. Continue reading New Australian Federal Police Forensics Centre At Majura Hit By Delays

Opinion: Calling for Standards and Code of Ethics to Govern Digital Forensics

Those involved with determining the relevance of digital evidence are sometimes ill-equipped to make such assessments.

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am neither a digital forensics practitioner nor do I play one on television.

I am, however, a professor in, and former chair of, an academic department at a research university that houses a graduate program in computer (digital) forensics I helped design. In 2011, I co-founded a computer forensics research center at my university. Finally, for more than 10 years, I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses on professional ethics for criminal justice and digital forensics students.

These experiences helped me to identify a glaring issue in the field of digital forensics: a lack of professional and ethical standards governing practitioners. And as digital forensics gains prominence in the legal landscape, the lack of agreed-upon standards is a big problem.

What is digital forensics?

Digital or computer forensics involves the identification, recovery, analysis and presentation in court of relevant information taken from electronic devices such as computers and cellphones. There are numerous ediscovery companies out there whose services are on hand to those in need of delving into digitally stored information for the purposes of litigation.

That information becomes digital evidence presented in court and designed to tie together people and events in time and space to establish causality for crimes or civil wrongs.

For example, imagine the police arrested a suspect on charges she murdered her husband by poisoning him. The police will seize and examine the suspect’s computer to uncover incriminating evidence such as the suspect’s history of visiting web pages that deal with poisons. Once retrieved, the prosecutor will likely introduce that evidence to gain a conviction.

Digital evidence is not trivial. If it leads to a conviction on criminal charges, the defendant may face prison time. In a civil case, it can lead to a defendant having to pay monetary damages. And the police officers, technicians and private contractors who testify in court about digital evidence can be the difference between justice served and justice denied.

Read more at Time.

New South Wales Teens Take a Forensic Look At the Gory Science of Murder

The scene was littered with bloody shards of glass, a hammer wielded by a frenzied butcher and a pen that inked the last words of Annie Green*, a shopkeeper’s daughter murdered in a fit of jealousy.

Her brother Ben met the same fictionalised fate, dying at the hand of a man up to his neck in debt.

Thirteen-year-old forensic investigator Jessica Kitchin will allege that Douglas Priest (not a real person) was enraged after being fired by Ben and Annie’s father for stealing from their shop.

Mr Priest’s rampage was just one of many interrogated by groups of teenagers sprawled throughout the century-old hallways of The Armidale School last week.

From sun up to sun down, the students huddled around microscopes analysing dust particles, sifting through petri dishes of bacteria and checking criminal identities against police databases.

“Forensics is a Trojan horse for getting school-aged kids interested in science,” said Stephen Cordner from the Forensic Pathology department at Monash University. “Something this country is desperately in need of.”

Read the full story in SMH.

Source: www.smh.com.au

A forensics lab is proving an effective Trojan horse for getting kids into science.

Tasmanian Ballistics Expert Wins Award

A Tasmania Police forensics sergeant considered to be one of the top ballistics experts in the country has been recognised for his work in helping to convict a New Zealand bikie gang member of murder.

Sergeant Gerard Dutton, 51, who has worked in the ballistics field for 28 years, says he is still learning the science of ballistics forensics.

The quietly spoken veteran, who has worked on some of the most high-profile murder cases in Australia, including the Ivan Milat backpacker murders and the Port Arthur massacre, said it was the bikie murder case that really stretched him. The ballistics evidence was “extremely technical and complex”.

Sgt Dutton was awarded the National Institute of Forensic Science’s Henry Delaforce award at the University of Tasmania for his paper, “A Case Study Of The Interpretation Of Extraordinary Tool Marks On A Fatal Bullet”.

Read more in The Mercury.

Source: www.themercury.com.au

Forensic Science: Tracing Criminals Through Germs

Tracing criminals through microbes might be the next big thing. The germs you  pick up at a crime scene may one day land you in jail. Microbiologist Jack Gilbert and his team at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago have shown that bacteria clinging to the sole of your shoe could be a microscopic smoking gun that tells crime scene investigators where you’ve been. They report their work in Microbiome in May.

Read the full article in Cosmos Magazine.

Source: cosmosmagazine.com

Ed: sneeze and you’re caught!

Victoria Police: DNA Links A Family Together

Cold Case Missing Person Squad detectives and scientists from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) have used DNA to solve a missing person investigation and unite two families searching for information about their daughter and mother. 

Fifteen-year-old Tamara Milograd vanished without explanation on September 18 1971, her family searched exhaustively for her for 44 years, never giving up hope that she was alive somewhere. Read more at Victoria Police News.

Source: www.vicpolicenews.com.au

Forensic Investigators Going Through Internet History Of Sydney Terror Suspects

Police are trawling through the internet history of two terrorist suspects accused of plotting to carry out a public beheading in Sydney.

A commonwealth prosecutor told Central Local Court this morning that investigators needed more time to conduct a digital forensic analysis of numerous electrical equipment including phones, SIM cards, USBs and the internet browser history on a laptop which requires translation into English. “Enquiries are being made overseas in relation to social media activity,” the prosecutor said.

Source: www.dailytelegraph.com.au