How science may just end up killing crime

1983. Forensic scientist Steve Cordiner's first homicide.

He arrives in a Lower Hutt house to find a woman dead, her head bashed in, blood everywhere.

Cordiner opens a plastic sewing box for a "notebook, my pens, my rulers, some chemicals to do some presumptive tests of blood, and that was about it".

He uses those to study "the patterns of blood stains on the wall, to give an opinion as to the minimum number of blows that must have occurred, from where the blood was and how it was distributed".

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The CSI Effect: Viewing TV Crime Shows Does Not Make Better Criminals

Does watching the work of fictional forensic investigators on TV influence viewers? There is a belief that this is the case and that the consequences of people watching shows such as the American crime drama television series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" are filtering through into real life, a phenomenon that has been called the CSI effect. In the worst case, it is feared, potential criminals will learn how to better conceal a crime from these shows. In addition, concerns have been expressed that members of U.S. juries may now have excessive expectations regarding the evidence and as a result are more likely to acquit the accused. A team of psychologists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz working under Professor Heiko Hecht have now sounded the all-clear--at least in one respect. In an experimental study, the German researchers have been able to find no evidence of a correlation between watching forensic science TV shows and the ability to get away with committing a crime. This is the first study to look at the question of whether criminals could profit from viewing dramas of this sort.

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Source: Forensic Mag