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The Relationship Between Deprivation and Forensic Opportunities with Stolen Vehicles

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Collection and interpretation of forensic intelligence (primarily through DNA and fingerprint identifications) is an integral part of the investigation of criminal offenses ranging from burglary and vehicle crime to major crime. The forensic contribution depends not only on the successful recovery of material, but also the ability to identify potential offenders and apply this intelligence to solve the crime. This study examines burglary and vehicle crimes investigated by Northamptonshire Police (U.K.) by analyzing relationships between deprivation of a crime location and the recovery and identification of DNA and fingerprint material. The results show that, for stolen vehicles, although significantly more forensic material (both DNA and fingerprints) is recovered and identified in more deprived neighborhoods, this does not lead to a corresponding increase in solved cases. These findings are considered in relation to previous studies, which have advocated the prioritization of resources at crime scenes most likely to yield forensic material.

Keywords: DNA; crime scenes; criminalistics; deprivation; fingerprints; forensic science

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01117.x

Affiliations: 1: University of Leicester, School of Psychology, Forensic Section, 106 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7EA, U.K. 2: Scientific Support Unit, Northamptonshire Police, Wootton Hall, Northampton NN4 0JQ, U.K. Also at: Forensic Research Centre, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7EA, U.K.

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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