Some scientists have always thought that weather is often the forgotten factor in crime rates. Is there a relationship between temperature and aggression? Here are some findings, what do you think?
• Assaults are highest in the summer months and lowest in winter months
• Assaults are negatively correlated with wind speed and levels of humidity (most assaults seem to occur on dry days)
• Family disturbances are positively correlated with ozone activity
• Fewer violent crimes are reported on cold days, for example, the crime rate in New Your City was very low during the blizzard of 1996
Some of these may seem intuitive, meaning, people don't function or aren't as aggressive on bad weather days—that's a given. But I do know that law enforcement are especially vigilant on full moons as well, what can be drawn from this conclusion?
Weather and Temperature Clues
Police questioned a man as to where he had been all evening. The man claimed he was home watching TV. One of the officers noted his coat was hanging on a chair dripping from the rain outside. Weather did not help his case. Cases have been recorded where murderers have upped the thermostat before leaving a room to alter the time of death estimation because extreme cold and extreme heat will both alter the coroner’s results. This and other stories illustrate how valuable weather conditions, temperatures, wind speed, sun glare and other phenomenon can effect cases, alibis and time of death estimations.
Animals and Animal Hair
A burglar in southern China was heading into a house to break into a family’s safe inside. The owner, Sham Man-ling, came home and got into a kicking, screaming brawl with him. Mimi, Man-ling’s Persian cat, sprang from a shelf and clawed the robber, who ran away.
Mack, a parrot, was just as courageous. When a criminal tried to steal tools from D’Light, a store in Glendale, California, Mack, who lived at the store, jumped on him, pecked him furiously, and squawked. In self-defense, the burglar yanked out Mack’s feathers, hit the bird’s head and threw him unconscious to the ground. Still, Mack had detained the burglar long enough for police to respond to the store’s alarm.
In addition to courage, animal hair and feathers have been used as evidence. Dog hair clinging to the suspect’s clothes has been used to identify killers and feathers have shown up in the barrel of a gun. Police also routinely check nests in outdoor scenes because animals are fond of collecting loose artifacts.
Good News for Fingerprint Technology
Technological advances are common in the computing industry and forensic science has benefited from these new advances as well. There is a promising new development for AFIS (Automated fingerprint identification system). The automation of narrowing the field of candidates for a potential match is getting faster.
Before a latent print can be entered into AFIS, the forensic science fingeprint examiner must carefully mark distinguishing characteristics of the full or partial print.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the manual human process of the mark-up is being automated with something called: Automatic Feature Extraction and Matching (AFEM).
This past April, results of an evaluation where researchers used a data set of 835 latent prints and 100,000 fingerprints from real cases was tested. The AFEM software extracted distinguishing features of latents and compared them against the 100,000 fingerprints. For each print, software gave up a list of 50 candidates that the fingerprint specialist had compared by hand. Most identities were found in the top ten.
For more information about the companies that participated and the results of the test: