Criminalistics

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Related to criminalist: Forensic science

criminalistics

[‚krim·ən·əl′is·tiks]
(science and technology)

Criminalistics

 

the science that develops a system of special procedures, methods, and means for collecting, studying, and evaluating legal evidence used in criminal proceedings for the purpose of preventing, exposing, or investigating crimes. These procedures and methods are also used in the judicial consideration of criminal and sometimes civil cases.

The most important divisions of Soviet criminalistics are criminalistic technique and criminalistic tactics and methods of investigating and preventing various types of crime. Criminalistic technique is a system of special procedures and scientific-technical means for collecting, recording, and studying evidence. This division of criminalistics includes forensic ballistics, traceology (the forensic study of traces), forensic graphology, odorology (using odors in the investigation of crime), and dactyloscopy. Criminalistic technique is making more extensive use of advances in the natural and technical sciences and employing mathematical and statistical methods, computer equipment, and the methods of gas chromatography and spectroscopy. This trend has resulted in the development of a new set of methods for investigating handwriting, compiling a “word portrait,” and obtaining copies of traces in traceology. Criminalistic technique also requires extensive use of special technical equipment in investigation and examination.

By generalizing experience in the investigation and prevention of crime, studying methods used by criminals, and employing scientific advances made in different fields (physics, chemistry, biology), criminalistics develops criminalistic tactics—a system of procedures permitting the most effective use of the possibilities of each investigative and judicial action and of operational searches, taking into account the specific circumstances of the case. The procedures of criminalistic tactics are used extensively in identification and in conducting investigative experiments, searches, and other investigative actions. Criminalistic technique and tactics are inseparably linked because the development of criminalistic technique gives rise to new tactical procedures for using the technique. The variety of procedures used in investigating specific types of crime (murder, theft of state or personal property, bribery) constitutes the set of methods for investigating particular types of crime. This “particular methodology” serves as a guide for determining the sequence and nature of investigative acts and operational searches during the investigation and judicial examination of crimes of a particular category; it is also used in selecting the procedures and means of criminalistic technique and tactics.

Criminalistics also deals with problems of preventing crime.

REFERENCE

Kriminalistika. Moscow, 1971.

A. I. VINBERG

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