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Smartphone and Tablet Applications for Crime Scene Investigation: State of the Art, Typology, and Assessment Criteria

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The use of applications on mobile devices is gradually becoming a new norm in everyday life, and crime scene investigation is unlikely to escape this reality. The article assesses the current state of research and practices by means of literature reviews, semistructured interviews, and a survey conducted among crime scene investigators from Canada and Switzerland. Attempts at finding a particular strategy to guide the development, usage, and evaluation of applications that can assist crime scene investigation prove to be rather challenging. Therefore, the article proposes a typology for these applications, as well as criteria for evaluating their relevance, reliability, and answer to operational requirements. The study of five applications illustrates the evaluation process. Far away from the revolution announced by some stakeholders, it is required to pursue scientific and pragmatic research to set the theoretical foundations that will allow a significant contribution of applications to crime scene investigation.
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Keywords: applets; apps; crime scene units; criminalistics; forensic science; mobile devices; mobile technology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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