Probabilistic Considerations When Interpreting Database Search and Selection Effects

Authored by: M.J. Sjerps

Handbook of Forensic Statistics

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138295407
eBook ISBN: 9780367527709
Adobe ISBN:


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When a crime is committed, and traces are gathered at the scene or otherwise obtained, comparing these traces to a database is now a standard means of identifying a suspect or suspected item. Traditionally, forensic scientists used fingerprints and shoeprints in this way. More recently, DNA databases have become very prominent, and currently a variety of other trace types also are used for database searches national and internationally (Walsh, 2016). For example, biometric features like fingerprints, chemical features of glass, physical features of cartridges, and digital features such as pixel defect patterns in digital photos are used, but DNA databases feature most prominently in current police investigations and prosecution.

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