Technology and Its Role In Criminal Justice

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Technology and crime:

Introduction:

Technology advancement can be associated with improved living standards and also ease to perform activities. however the advancement in technology has contributed to ease of crime detection and bringing offenders into justice. Advancement in technology has also contributed to the increased crime and difficult in detecting crime and solving crime.

Technology that aid in solving crimes include DNA(deoxyribonucleic acid) and GIS (geographical information system), this new technology have helped solve crimes that previously were not easy to solve or even unsolvable using traditional methods, therefore the advancement in technology has helped reduce the difficulty in solving crimes, this paper discusses the significance of technology in aiding in solving problems.

DNA technology:

DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, it is usually an acid that contains genes that help living organisms in development and functions, the DNA has four molecules which are referred to as bases, these bases have a sequence where information is stored, the information contained is retrieved using genetic codes and these codes are retrieved by copying the DNA into related nucleic acid in a process called transcription.

The molecule of DNA is one long chain but it is made up of only four different molecules referred to as bases and they include Cytosine, Adenine, Thymine and Guanine, these molecules make pairs and the DNA in a human cell has 23 pairs where one pair comes from the mother of the person in consideration and the other comes from the father, every persons DNA is unique except for identical twins.

Some uses of the DNA technology include agricultural engineering whereby we have genetically modified food, finger printing and the collection of historical information in history and also anthropology. In this case we will consider finger printing which is useful in crime detection and solving crime.

Finger printing:

The use of DNA was first developed by Alec Jeffrey in the year 1984 and in 1988 the DNA crime solving technology was used to solve the murder case committed by Colin Pitch.

Scientist will use body products or body parts to detect the perpetrators of crimes, this include blood and other body fluids, hair, semen, bones, skin or even saliva from a crime scene to detect the perpetrators of crime. This process of crime detection is referred to as DNA profiling and it is termed as a reliable way to identify criminals from a crime scene.

A criminal is supposed to provide samples of his or her DNA in order to aid in comparing the DNA sample from the crime scene and that of the convict, because DNA profiling is usually reliable and accurate when the match is made then the convict is termed as guilty.

The process of investigation:

Collection of DNA samples from a crime scene is the first step in DNA step, this is followed by creating a DNA profile regarding this samples and the last step is the collection of samples from suspects for DNA profiling and comparing them with those from the crime scene.

Advantages of DNA:

It is reliable and accurate because the results produced are considered to be accurate, the DNA evidence is produced in a court of law and this helps in solving cases, however the DNA technology is sometimes not helpful in the case where the crime scene has many samples that involve a lot of DNA sample from a number of people and this might be misleading and difficult to solve. Perpetrators of crime may also be informed about this technology and may take the advantage of this by placing DNA samples on crime scenes which may lead to conviction of innocent citizens. however despite this disadvantages the technology is still helpful in solving crimes.

It helps solve old cases were previously unsolved and there was a DNA sample that was collected, in the past when the technology did not exist some cases were left unsolved or the wrong people convicted but the introduction of this technology helped solve such cases where such DNA sample were collected and stored.

The DNA profiling can be used to identify the dead who may have died in a mass accident where they are not physically identifiable, in the case where an accident occurs and the dead are not physically identifiable example where there is a fire outbreak and people burn beyond recognition then the DNA technology is used to identify the bodies, the DNA from relatives of the dead is collected and matched with the dead. In this case the DNA test is similar to that of historical detection of descendants.

Used to solve crimes that would have been difficult to solve using other methods, other methods that were traditionally used to solve crimes were not as reliable as this technology. Traditional methods were not very accurate as this method used today and some times the traditional methods did not conclude many crime cases due to lack of evidence and the introduction of this technology brought a relief to crime detection and the justice system

Geographical mapping system (GIS):

GIS is another technological advancement that can be used to solve crimes, it can be referred to as system in which there is capturing and storage of information regarding geographical regions, this technology is used in scientific science investigation. The GIS technology can also be defined as the computerised mapping systems that allow the layering of information to give detailed information and description of geographical areas.

The use of GIS in crime detection involves the following steps:

Collection of data regarding incidences and arrests on geographical areas which in turn helped increase police patrols to reduce crimes. Vehicle recovery sites data was also collected and mapped in order to help solve and prevent crimes.

In the recent past there has been the use of GIS on mobile phones which has resulted from the introduction of GPS devices on mobile phones, this technology enables the collection of data regarding the exact location of a mobile phone owner or where the individual is calling from, example in the case where there is a kidnap and the perpetrators of crime call to demand something then this technology can be used to locate the individual exactly where he or she is calling from.

The use of GIS technology is also used to track vehicle navigations, the computer that is used to undertake this activity contains vectors which help represent road geometry on the screen, companies now have come up to offer this tracking technology and it helps the victims to track their cars when they are stolen. For example a car that is fitted with the tracking device will eventually be tracked down, the system tracks the car movements through the road network which makes it easy to recover cars or even arrest the perpetrators of these crimes.

Conclusion:

Technology has made crime detection and also the justice system to solve crimes. This is through the use of the DNA and GSI. In every crime scene today samples of DNA are collected then there is the DNA profiling and finally the issue of comparing this DNA sample with suspects, criminals are supposed to provide samples of their DNA which aid in comparing the DNA sample from the crime scene and that of the convict, because DNA profiling is usually reliable and accurate when the match is made then the convict is termed as guilty by the criminal justice system.

The GIS technology allows the layering of information to give detailed information and description of geographical areas, the use of GIS on mobile phones has enabled the collection of data regarding the exact location of a mobile phone owner or where the individual is calling from this has helped solve crimes. it is also used to track vehicle navigations, this tracking technology and it helps the victims to track their cars when they are stolen.

DNA is referred to as accurate and reliable due to the sense that every person in the world has a unique DNA pattern apart from the case where we have identical twins, once the DNA samples matches then the suspects are termed as guilty by a court of law. GIS technology also aids in solving crimes whereby it involves locating criminals through their mobile phones or even vehicles they use to travel when the tracking devices are fixed on these vehicles.

References:

Calladine and Travers (2003) Understanding DNA, McGraw Hill, New York

R McDonnell (1998) Principles of GIS, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Heywood and Carver (2006) Introduction to GIS, Prentice Hall press, New York

Mapping crime (2007) Mapping Crime and Geographic Information Systems, retrieved on 5th Octobe

DNA and crime (2007) crime to convict, retrieved on 5th October



Source by Charles Kelly
Charles Kelly

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