Forensic Detection of Traces

Forensic Detection of Traces


(Russian trasologiia), the branch of criminalistics that studies traces and develops special techniques and scientific and technical means for discovering, preserving, gathering, and examining traces in order to identify a person or an object.

The traces investigated may be attributable to persons, instruments or means of committing a crime, tools or production mechanisms, or means of transportation. Analysis makes it possible to identify a person from the traces remaining of or left by his hands, teeth, or feet; a vehicle from traces left by the wheels or other parts; or an instrument used to commit a crime from the damage done by the instrument. An investigation may also establish a relationship between some object and a part of the object, for example, parts of an automobile headlight found at the scene of an accident and the headlight itself on the motor vehicle involved.

Comparative trace analysis studies the shape and dimensions of a trace and its individual parts. Such analysis may use modern techniques in microscopy and photography, as well as instruments that measure irregularities on surfaces. The forensic detection of traces is of value mainly in criminal cases, but it may also play a role in some civil cases. The conclusions reached on the basis of such investigations are formulated as expert opinion and are considered as evidence in court.


Kriminalistika. Moscow, 1971.