INA- Students enrolled in the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) course at Rend Lake College are challenged to operate on the age-old theory that there is no such thing as a perfect crime.
While there usually is no smoking gun, criminals typically leave something at the scene of a crime – whether it be DNA, fingerprints, footprints, shoeprints, blood, semen, saliva, hair, clothing fibers, bullets, cartridge cases, tool marks, or other evidence, according to RLC Criminal Justice Professor Ed Heischmidt. CSIs look for mistakes made by the criminal and work to solve the crime.
It is the job of the CSI and the crime lab to combine their efforts to find that incriminating piece of evidence, which they can then use in conjunction with other pieces of evidence to determine “whodunit” and to bring the alleged perpetrator or perpetrators into a court of law, Heischmidt added.
The CSI diligently searches for and collects physical evidence. He or she must document the evidentiary items by means of photographs, diagrams, notes and reports. The collected information and evidence is then carefully analyzed through crime scene reconstruction to develop a theory. “Often, a rational theory of a crime is developed with some assistance from the careless criminal,” Heischmidt said. “One of the major traits of many criminals is vanity – their belief in their own cleverness. This personality flaw, along with carelessness and bad luck, can often be the key factors in their leaving vital clues.”
Crime Scene Investigation (CRJS 2225) is offered at RLC during the Fall 2008 semester. Those interested in learning more can contact Heischmidt at 618- 437-5321, Ext. 1278.