In many ways, global awareness of the ongoing threat of terrorism has expanded the role of criminalistics from traditional examination of crime scene and physical evidence to include assisting Homeland Security in deterring terrorism. Scientists and criminal justice professionals alike must be conscious of one another’s efforts and understand the intricate policies and procedures that are evident within the area of forensic science.
Criminalistics: Forensic Science and Crime gives readers an in-depth overview of this hot-button topic and explores the various tasks and actions that take place in crime scenes and laboratories all across the world today. It places criminalistics within the framework of basic chemistry and biology and clearly explains processes to readers with little or no scientific background. Using a unified approach that blends science with criminal justice, this text helps readers understand the necessities and processes of forensic science in the ever-advancing world of crime investigation.
- Chapter opening case-studies prepare readers to understand the key concepts discussed in the chapter.
- Discussion of cutting-edge DNA typing and database matching systems show readers the latest technology in processing physical evidence from the crime scene.
- Comprehensive coverage of issues in terrorism and homeland security such as explosives, investigations in bombings, and weapons of mass destruction and the techniques being developed to detect these threats keep readers aware of the latest roles of the forensic professional.
- The following features demonstrate real-world and professional applicability:
Word to the Wise - Tip boxes found in every chapter highlight key ideas, techniques, and other important concepts.
You Are the Forensic Scientist – Realistic case studies and accompanying discussion questions challenge readers to think like a practicing forensic scientist.
See You in Court - Boxed notes throughout the text relate theoretical premises to real-world criminal cases and events.
Criminalist’s Notebook – Helpful checklists record important procedures, guidelines, precautions, and other critical tips of the trade.
Noteworthy Cases– High-profile forensic cases are described with discussion questions relating to relevant theories and techniques.
Let’s Get Real – Links pop-culture crime scene investigation with the “real deal” and demonstrates the behind-the-scenes reality of criminalistics.
Back at the Crime Lab – Recaps key scientific principles and procedures related to chapter contents.
Links – Call-out boxes connect the current topic to related subjects in other chapters.
Chapter Wrap Up - Each chapter concludes with critical thinking review questions and problems, a glossary of key terms, and suggestions for further reading on chapter subjects.
Table of Contents
Section I: Introduction to Criminalistics
Chapter 1: Investigating the Crime Scene
Chapter 2: Identifying and Processing Physical Evidence
Section II: Trace Evidence
Chapter 3: Physical Properties: Forensic Characterization of Soil
Chapter 4: The Microscope and Forensic Identification of Hair and Fibers
Chapter 5: Forensic Analysis of Glass
Section III: Pattern Evidence
Chapter 6: Fingerprints
Chapter 7: Questioned Documents
Chapter 8: Firearms
Section IV: Chemical Evidence
Chapter 9: Inorganic Analysis: Forensic Determination of Metals and Gunshot Residue
Chapter 10: Arson
Chapter 11: Drugs of Abuse
Section V: Biological Evidence
Chapter 12: Forensic Toxicology
Chapter 13: Biological Fluids: Blood, Semen, Saliva, and an Introduction to DNA
Chapter 14: Forensic DNA Typing
Section VI: Terrorism
Chapter 15: Explosives
Chapter 16: Detecting Weapons of Mass Destruction
About the Author(s)
James E. Girard, PhD - American University
Dr. James Girard is Professor and Chairman of the Chemistry Department at American University. He teaches analytical, environmental and forensic chemistry, as well as chemistry for non-science majors.
Since he has been at the American University, he has received more than 25 grants totaling more than 3 million dollars and has published over 60 research articles. Professor Girard is a specialist in analytical chemistry. His research focuses on the methods and techniques used to separate and identify complex mixtures. He has also developed methods for the analysis of environmental pollutants in soil and water, the amount of neurotransmitter present in human serum, the concentration of disinfectants in hospital disinfectants, the composition of polymers and the separation and identification of genetic material from DNA. At American University he has supervised over 25 Masters Theses and 30 PhD dissertations.
Professor Girard is the recipient of awards for excellence in teaching and scholarship. He was the 1995 recipient of the Leo Schubert Award for Outstanding Teaching of Science at the College Level from the Washington Academy of Sciences. In addition, Professor Girard has served as an expert witness in court cases involving environmental, patent infringement and personal injury.