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National Institute of Justice

This article describes research into the forensic value of very small particles in solving crimes.

Researchers examined cell phones, handguns, drug packaging and ski masks from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office to determine if such particles can make physical evidence more valuable in court cases. The point of this study was to test particles taken from actual pieces of evidence, apply established analytical and interpretive methods, and determine the evidential value of such particles.

The researchers used a combination of swabs and scanning electron microscope techniques to sample 30 handguns, 31 cell phones, 36 drug packaging specimens and 32 ski masks. Overall, 82 percent of the VSP specimens recovered showed “sufficient variety and complexity in their VSP profiles to allow meaningful classification.”

To read the article, click here.

About The Author

The Justice Technology Information Center is a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System, a program of the National Institute of Justice. JTIC serves as an information resource for technology and equipment related to law enforcement, corrections and courts, and hosts the NIJ Compliance Testing Program, a voluntary equipment standards and testing program for ballistic- and stab-resistant body armor and other officer safety equipment, which conducts equipment testing, reviews and analyzes testing data and disseminates results.

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