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WIREs Forensic Sci

Crime reconstruction and the role of trace materials from crime scene to court

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Abstract Crime reconstruction takes place in a complex ecosystem and needs to be responsive to the context of each case. For accurate, reproducible and transparent crime reconstructions to take place, a holistic approach is needed that considers the different stakeholders, different types of trace material, integral human decision‐making and interconnected nature of the forensic science process. For robust reconstruction, there needs to be a consideration of both the distinctive types of trace material that can contribute to the reconstruction, and an understanding of the interplay of human decision‐making within reconstruction approaches. In addition, it is also necessary to consider source attribution of a trace material in addition to the activities that led to the generation, identification, transfer, and persistence of the trace. This requires explicit and tacit forms of knowledge, and an incorporation of the inherent uncertainty and risk in the reconstruction approach. The communication of conclusions reached in a crime reconstruction that address what the evidence means is also an important consideration given the different requirements of intelligence and evidence. Therefore, undertaking a crime reconstruction within a holistic framework that seeks to incorporate the complexity of the forensic science ecosystem is valuable for achieving a problem solving approach that offers reproducible, transparent reconstructions with a clear articulation of risk and uncertainty that can be of value to investigators and the courts. This article is categorized under: Forensic Science in Action/Crime Scene Investigation > Crime Scene Reconstruction Forensic Science in Action/Crime Scene Investigation > From Traces to Intelligence and Evidence
A conceptual model of forensic reconstruction and the role of trace materials (FoRTE). (Reprinted with permission from Morgan (). Copyright 2017 Elsevier)
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Key factors when considering the interaction of trace materials with the environment pre‐, syn‐, and postcrime event
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Forensic Science in Action/Crime Scene Investigation > From Traces to Intelligence and Evidence
Forensic Science in Action/Crime Scene Investigation > Crime Scene Reconstruction

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