Forensic science has been around for centuries, but it was only in the late 19th century that it began to be used regularly by police forces. Fingerprints were first used as a means of identification in 1858, and since then they have become an essential tool in solving crimes.
Today, forensic science is used to investigate all sorts of crimes, from murder to fraud. It plays a vital role in helping the police to solve cases and bring criminals to justice.
If you want to learn more about the history of forensic science, then read on! We’ll take you through some of the key milestones in the development of this fascinating field.
1858: Fingerprints are first used for identification
The first recorded use of fingerprints as a means of identification was in 1858. A doctor in India named Henry Faulds noticed that every person’s fingerprints were unique and suggested that they could be used for identification purposes.
Faulds’ idea was initially met with scepticism, but it soon gained traction and Fingerprinting became a standard police procedure.
1879: Fingerprints are used to solve a murder case
In 1879, Fingerprints were used to solve a murder case for the first time. Two British businessmen were killed in Argentina, and the only clues left at the scene were some bloody fingerprints.
Argentine police contacted Scotland Yard for help, and they sent Inspector Edward Henry to investigate. Henry was able to match the fingerprints at the scene to those of a suspect, and the man was arrested and convicted of the murders.
1892: Fingerprints are used in the US
Fingerprinting soon spread to the United States, where it was first used in 1892. A New York police officer named Alphonse Bertillon developed a system of identification that included taking measurements of the head and body.
However, Bertillon’s system was quickly superseded by Fingerprinting, which was seen as being more accurate. Fingerprints became the standard method of identification in the US, and they remain so to this day.
1901: The first forensic laboratory is established
In 1901, the first forensic laboratory was established in France. The laboratory was set up by Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, a pioneer in the field of forensic science.
The laboratory was equipped with all the latest technology, and it soon became the leading centre for forensic research in Europe.
1903: Fingerprints are used to solve a murder case in the US
In 1903, Fingerprints were used to solve a murder case in the United States for the first time. A man named Will West was arrested for vagrancy in Colorado. When he was fingerprinted, it was found that his fingerprints matched those of a murderer who had been convicted and executed in Pennsylvania.
It later emerged that West and the murderer were identical twins, and that West had assumed his brother’s identity after he was executed. This case proved that Fingerprints could be used to accurately identify even identical twins.
1910: The first Fingerprint Bureau is established in the US
In 1910, the first Fingerprint Bureau was established in the United States. The bureau was set up by the New York City Police Department, and it quickly began to collect and catalogue fingerprints.
Today, there are Fingerprint Bureaus all over the world, and they play a vital role in solving crimes.
1930: Forensic science is used to solve a famous murder case
In 1930, forensic science was used to solve a famous murder case for the first time. The case in question was the ‘Trial of the Century’, which saw two young men, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, stand accused of murdering a 14-year-old boy.
The pair had planned the murder as a ‘thrilling’ challenge, but they were quickly caught and put on trial. At the trial, several forensic experts gave evidence that helped to convict the pair. These experts included Dr. Frances Glessner Lee, who used crime scene reconstruction to show how the murder had been committed.
This case showed the world what forensic science could do, and it made headlines around the globe.
1932: The first DNA evidence is used in a court case
In 1932, the first DNA evidence was used in a court case. A man named Archie Williams was convicted of rape and sent to prison. However, he always maintained his innocence and claimed that the real rapist was still at large.
Williams’ case was reopened in 1987, and DNA testing was used to prove his innocence. The DNA sample from the crime scene matched that of another man, who was then arrested and convicted of the crime.
This case proved that DNA could be used to solve crimes, and it paved the way for its use in other cases.
Today, forensic science is an essential tool in the fight against crime. It is used to solve crimes of all kinds, from murders to robberies. Fingerprints, DNA and other forms of evidence are collected and analysed by experts, who use their knowledge to help solve crimes.
Forensic science has come a long way since its beginnings in the 19th century, and it continues to evolve as new technology is developed. But one thing remains constant: Forensic science is an essential part of the criminal justice system, and it plays a vital role in keeping us safe.
Perhaps the Chinese have utilized forensics even longer than most other civilizations. For example, they were using fingerprints to determine the identity of documents and clay sculptures as far back as 700 AD. What made this unusual was that there was no form of classification system at that time. They were pretty much learning as they went along. They probably helped out today’s forensics more than we actually know.
In the West, the first recorded use of fingerprints in a criminal investigation was in 1858 when police in London were investigating a bloody murder. They found a bloody fingerprint on a windowpane and matched it to a man named William West. He was later convicted of the crime. Fingerprints soon became an important part of police work and are still used today.
In the 1800s, there was another major breakthrough in forensic science. In 1836, French police officer Alphonse Bertillon came up with the idea of using measurements of the human body to identify people. This system, known as anthropometry, quickly became popular with police forces around the world. However, it wasn’t perfect. In 1901, two criminals in America managed to fool the police by switching ID cards.
Despite these early setbacks, forensic science has come a long way since its beginnings in the 19th century. Today, it is an essential tool in the fight against crime. Fingerprints, DNA testing, and other modern techniques have helped solve countless crimes and put criminals behind bars. Forensic science may not be perfect, but it has come a long way in the last 200 years.