picture of televison taken by Susan E. Adams
Crime scene investigation has gained incredible popularity in the hearts of people. It is difficult to turn on the television without seeing at least one show that involves crime scene investigations. Unfortunately, life hasn’t exactly caught up to the shows just yet.
Crime scene shows are very popular because they are very entertaining. However, the shows are very different than real life practice. On the show, the crime scene personnel can solve a crime in 60 minutes with the inclusion of commercials. Finger prints, DNA tests, and other forensic analysis takes seconds to do. An entire team of people juggle friendship, relationships and work and still find a way to catch the criminal. The facilities and equipment are top of the line and look like they have never been used before.
The shows are entertaining, but are far from how most crime labs operate. There are certain crime labs that have great equipment and very new facilities, but not all crime labs are in such great shape. It all starts with the funding. The crime labs usually aren’t that new. The crime scene investigators aren’t that well paid and are often overworked. Because of the amount of cases that need scientific analysis, this usually leads to significant delay in getting results back. Drug certifications, ballistic reports, finger print and DNA analysis can take several months before the reports are done.
The lack of funding and amount of work that needs to be done often leads to mistakes. Unlike the shows, real world investigators have to juggle many tasks at one time. Therefore, the next time you watch a crime scene show, enjoy yourself, but please be mindful that it is just television.
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For More information:
MA Crime labs
DNA resources in United States
Former Crime Lab Administrator with Troubling Story http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/13630969/detail.html
Boston Globe Story about DNA crime lab still behind in testing
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