The Value and Preservation of Evidence
January 16, 2012
The value of footprint or footwear evidence is heavily important. The most valuable details are signs of wear, characteristic fittings or marks of fittings that have come off, injuries, marks of nails and pegs, especially when these are irregularly placed, and repair marks. If they are particularly characteristic or occur in sufficient numbers, such details may form decisive evidence. In the interest of thoroughness, footprints should be preserved even if they do not show any details. Although the size and shape of the shoe or pattern in the heel or sole is of lesser evidential value, a representative print should nonetheless be preserved for its value as an investigative lead. (Fisher, Barry A.J., Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, pgs 226-227).
A footwear print may be a foot impression or a footprint (dust print). Foot impressions occur when the foot treads in some moldable material such as earth, sand, clay, snow, etc. Footprints are formed on a hard base when the foot or the sole and heel of a shoe are contaminated with some foreign matter such as road dirt, dust, flour, blood, or moisture. Footprints may also be latent when naked or stocking-covered feet on a smooth surface have formed them. Footwear impression evidence and information from the gait pattern may indicate that the subject was walking or running, had sustained an injury or walked with a limp, was possibly intoxicated, had a tendency to walk toe-in or toe-out, or was carrying a heavy object. (Fisher, Barry A.J., Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, pgs 226-227).
Foot impressions are generally found outdoors; the first precautionary measure is therefore to protect the impression from alteration or destruction, preferably by covering it with a box or cordoning off the area. Impressions in thawing snow are especially troublesome, so a box covered with snow to prevent thawing should protect...
References: Fisher, Barry A.J., Arne Svensson, and Otto Wendell. Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, New York: Elsevior, 1981
“Evidence Handling Guide" LA. Dept. of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of State Police, Crime Laboratory”.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document