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Criminal Investigation Essay

1. What are methods of inquiry and how are they used in criminal investigation?

Methods of inquiry are a set of principles used to gather and process information in the pursuit of providing answers. These principles are divided into two distinct categories reconstructing the past and discovering or creating new knowledge (Osterberg J./Ward R., 2010). Criminal investigation uses elements of both of these disciplines to gather and evaluate evidence into clues or leads necessary for determining if a crime has been committed (Osterberg J./Ward R., 2010). These steps are also necessary after the crime has been established in finding the person or persons responsible for committing the crime.

2. What is the optimal mindset of an investigator and how are the concepts associated with the optimal mindset of an investigator manifest?

The optimal mindset for an investigator is flexible outlook combined with the ability to identify objects which seem out of place. The optimal mindset should be skeptical and always alert as to what does not fit in the present,” situation two maxims speak to the practical value of a skeptical outlook: such old proverbs as the Latin “Believe nothing and be on your guard against everything,” and the Persian “Doubt is the key to knowledge.” Pg 293 (Osterberg J./Ward R., 2010). The concepts pertaining to this mindset are manifested through practiced and experience. These attributes can be strengthened through reading newspapers, magazines and the internet for articles help to stimulate the intuitive responses characterized by an investigative mind-set (Osterberg J./Ward R., 2010).

3. What is the scientific method and how is it applied to criminal investigation by criminal investigators? The scientific method is a way of problem-solving systematically through observation and objective thinking. It is applied to criminal investigations by induction, deduction, classification, synthesis, analysis, hypothesis, a prior and a posteriori(Osterberg J./Ward R., 2010). These steps are the basis for conducting an investigation systematically by using these steps the past is reconstructed giving the investigator an idea of how, where, when, why the crime was committed and who committed it.

4. Discuss the three primary sources of information for criminal investigators and provide detailed practical examples of each source listed.

Three primary sources of information for criminal investigators would be A. People: Serve as a substantial source of information for criminal investigators, they provide information as witnesses or victims of a crime. Valuable details can be obtained through conducting interviews as to the description of the suspect, what was taken, which direction the suspect escaped. An example of this would be the people interviewed after the bomb went off at the Boston Marathon, shop owners, people on the streets were interviewed to see if they saw anything out of the ordinary.

B. Logs/Records and incidental data: These consist of telephone records, videotapes, audiotapes, car rental receipts. This particular source can overwhelming because of the sheer volume of records it usually requires a dedicated presence to comb through all off the information. But it can pay off as a source an example would be David Berkowitz known as the Son of Sam. He was apprehended because of a parking ticket on his vehicle.

C. Physical Evidence: Any object of a material nature is potential physical evidence. Forensic medicine and criminalistics examine of physical evidence and determine the purpose, such as crime scene reconstruction or suspect identification, cause of death. Physical evidence is used in everyday affairs, people employ it in daily decision making, but extent on this kind of evidence; indeed, it is the way many day-to-day decisions are made. Physical evidence is the most common source of information for an investigator. An example of physical evidence would be a bloody knife, or smoking gun, fingerprints or a piece of a skin under the fingernail of a rape victim.


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