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NEWS: Forensics TV Shows Give Criminals Helping Hand.

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posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 06:11 PM
Television shows including the CSI - Crime Scene Investigation and other shows of the same genre, are helping criminals become "Forensically Aware" according to a new study published in the British New Scientist Magazine. Scientists are becoming wary of speaking to the media, realising that criminals are learning about the techniques police use to catch them. The article reports an increase of plastic glove use and false evidence planted by car thieves including leaving cigarette butts to create false DNA trails.
However, the magazine warned that outwitting the scientists was increasingly hard.

In a test of DNA contamination, Professor Rutty asked a volunteer to walk around a sterile room while speaking.

He was able to retrieve the man's DNA even though he had been in the room only a few seconds.

The magazine notes that trying to outwit DNA evidence is as old as the science itself.

In 1988, the world's first murder case involving DNA evidence initially failed because the British killer persuaded a friend to submit a sample on his behalf, an error only corrected when his stand-in bragged about the cover-up to friends.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This is logical. In the efforts to make the shows as realistic as possible forensic secrets are being revealed. Such is the case of luminol, a product I personally had never heard of before watching CSI or reading books by Patricia Cornwall.

Although the article says it is increasingly harder to escape forensics, there would be a percentage of criminals that have gotten away with crimes owing to things they have learnt on television.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 06:16 PM
i always knew this would be a problem

this is the same (or close) for shows about terrorists...

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 06:25 PM
And who said TV is bad.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 06:25 PM
After they chip us all, they don't need no more CSI or others alike.

Several Mainframes will do the job in real time.


posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 06:43 PM
I think the contention of this thread is a bit off. Sure, shows like CSI and authors like Patricia Cornwell have opened some folks' eyes to the world of forensic science, but just like no public lab looks even remotely like those on CSI, the techniques and procedures highlighted on the show do not represent the compendium of forensic techniques available to investigators.

If you pay attention to the show, you'll see all sorts of inaccuracies from the characters' efforts to re-create data sets for which reference material is readily available to their unmitigated ability to solve any crime in a matter of minutes.

I highly doubt that a measurable contingent of criminals are able to evade prosecution as a result of being CSI watchers.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 06:45 PM
I can't stand this show (CSI), for many reasons. One of the main ones is I think it's perfect example of how the government want scientists and the police portrayed, partly for the reasons Bout Time talks about here. Apart from that it promotes the idea that the police spend the same amount of money, manpower and time in real life for every murder case as they do in the show, which is totally nonsensical. It's the 'Cops' of the 21st century. Fear the state! No matter what you do we're onto you!!!

But hey, everyone is deadly serious and has a steely gaze to the point of autism and the theme song's by The Who! It's so cool!

[edit on 7-9-2005 by kegs]

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 06:54 PM
While DNA and forensic science are great tools many old case files have been solved without it.

I am also willing to bet they leave out a lot of what would happen in the real world on purpose, just so they can catch people.

[edit on 9/7/2005 by shots]

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 07:17 PM
Ever seen the show "The first 48". It's a reality-type show. The labs are brightly lit concrete boxes as are the interrogation rooms. The cops are fat, average looking joes. The crimes frequently go over the 48 hour limit which dramatically reduces the odds of catching the perp. Much more accurate...

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 07:57 PM
I don't think shows such as CSI really help the criminals. I do think, however, that they effect law enforcement in another negative way- and that is the victims of crime, or their friends and family, expect law enforcement to use all of this high tech equipment to solve their crimes that they see on TV. When in reality, the majority of it is hardly ever used (assuming it exists) in most cases.

That being said, I think the shows on channels such as A&E, Discovery and CourtTV would do more to help a criminal than a fictional show like CSI. These programs, like "Cold Case Files", "The Investigators", "The First 48" (as mentioned by a previous poster), etc, are actually real and deal with real cases. They show many techniques used to solve crimes and apprehend criminals. Besides the forensic aspects, I think they reveal too much when going into interrogation techniques. They discuss the methods they use and ways to read the suspects body language and whatnot. I'm a big fan of these types of shows, and I watch them virtually every night on tv. Now, I don't ever plan on committing a crime. But if I ever did choose to committ a crime, I've certainly picked up plenty of pointers from these programs over the years. I've learned of a lot of mistakes criminals make that I would try to avoid making myself.

But regardless, there still is and likely never will be "the perfect crime." As criminals make advancements, law enforcement is always several steps ahead of them. And even if you commit a crime, and police aren't able to gather any forensic evidence implicating you in it, you're still not in the clear. We've all see countless cases where people were convicted just because they had the motive, the means and the opportunity to committ the act. In the end, I think it all evens out. Criminals get smarter, and investigators do too.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 07:58 PM
The Internet, books, lawyers, doctors, etc, etc.

In fact a doctor can get a hold of drugs which could kill you and go untraced.

Really it's easy to get the knowledge to escape forensics, it was there long before T.V. shows began to detail it. However the criminals which tend to attempt to get around it are the ones which normally make the largest mistakes. [I.E. full body suit.]

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 09:18 PM
Personally, I feel this site has more to offer than a thread of this nature.

There are many ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX shows with alot of WOW factor regarding "supposed" forensic techniques.

As has been noted in prior posts, just how much of this is used in addressing everyday cases?!

Little or none, come to mind!?

Again, as has been noted in prior posts, there are several other channels that deal with REAL-LIFE cases, using REAL-LIFE investigative techniques.

Not to say the things seen on CSI, etc. aren't reality [as far as forensic capabilities go], but they are SOOOO sensationalized.

How, by simply watching, these types of shows "help/teach" supposed criminals is beyond me.

Based upon the shows I have watched, for the most part, a bit of common sense goes a longggggg way.

A crime is a crime, murder is murder, theft is theft, and so on, and so on.

IMO as long as we, as human beings, have a mouth, eyes, and ears there will be no "true" perfect crime, but here is where the ?question? comes into play . . . what is the perfect crime?!

Did it actually take place . . . or is it just that no one seems to be talking, seeing, hearing, anything about it??!.

The advancements in the past 10-15 years in forensic science are incredible, yet at the same time incredibly $$$. This is where the day-to-day, crime-by-crime application is just not feasible [from a budgetary standpoint].

IMO it's all fantastic on the boob tube [thought provoking/entertaining as it is], but my concern is moreso as to how this technology actually plays out where it's TRULY important . . . case by case . . . crime by crime. . . day to day?!

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 09:18 PM
Perhaps it is balance by the percentage of "wannabe" criminals that are persuaded not to commit a crime because they decide they will be caught, no matter how careful they are!

After all these shows would have one believe that no matter how clever the crime, there will be a give away clue, and the bad guy will be caught!

( I just want some of the software (or vaporware) those guys use!!)

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 09:38 PM
The real criminals are far too busy out plotting and commiting crimes to be watching the amatuers get caught.

If they did watch they would be say, "Now that was stupid!"

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 09:44 PM

Perhaps it is balance by the percentage of "wannabe" criminals that are persuaded not to commit a crime because they decide they will be caught, no matter how careful they are!

After all these shows would have one believe that no matter how clever the crime, there will be a give away clue, and the bad guy will be caught!

That has been my thought after having watched any of these shows.

The problem with this is supposing the "criminal" thinks the same way?!

Of course, there are always going to be those that "do" the unimaginable under dire [or so they say] circumstances.

The adulteress spouse, the instinctive [emotional] reactions, the "I don't remember what I did's", etc.

True Self-Defense is one thing [a human right], but aside from that . . . I don't hear very well.

She did, He did, They did, etc . . . uhhummm, just talk to the judge . . . K?


posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 10:01 PM
This one gets a big fat "Duh."

Primetime entertainment shows like the exemplified CSI are BS, sure. But the real-life shows such as Forensic Files, Cold Case Files, etc, basically outline "This is what you need to do to get away with killing your wife."

I thought that much was obvious when they first aired... did it really take a UK report to bring it into the light? I think not.

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 11:10 PM
I used CSI as it was the example used in the article and I do not watch television although I know that is one program we do get in Australia.

but the shows mentioned do to an extent teach a dumb criminal how to avoid being so stupid as to leave your own fingerprints or cigarette butts/tisues behind in a serious crime.

I also agree that this scientific approach is not used to solve real life petty crime, around here if your house gets broken into it's not dusted for prints.

A police friend said to me recently "we only catch the dumb ones" he said the jails are full of only the dumb ones, not the dangerous ones....

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 01:53 AM
All that blood-samply, finger-printy hocus pocus is just that, pure hooey.

Most crimes never have the resources devoted to them to engage in such endeavors as DNA analysis.

If nothing else, the shows provide some form of detterent, by simple virtue of the fact that in 99% of the episodes the bad guy gets caught and remanded to justice. I think I remember one Law & Order where the bad guy got away, that's it. I'm sure some potential criminals are dissuaded from their crimes by watching television.

If criminals are really gaining valuable insights from television, that's a shame, but I doubt the damage done is great. Theoretically jail teaches criminals more than anything.

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 04:29 AM
I personally think that shows like CSI are great as they may get some teenagers interested in the sciences. We need more shows like this glamorising various high-tech professions.

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 11:19 AM
Any half-decent lawyer can tell you how to get away with murder.

In fact, you can be caught for it, arrested and easily get away with it just by making sure the Police make a mistake. [Contamination of scene].

There are hundreds of ways to get around the law [I'm not going to explain them] but a show like this won't teach you anything major that you shouldn't already know.

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 11:30 AM
I think the "smart" ones who get away with murder are already doctors or lawyers or some such profession that has "inside" info on poisons or loopholes. They would not need or rely on a TV show to educate them, they would do their own research, so to speak......and realize that the TV writers streach the truth to 'get their man'.

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