Top 4 Reasons Why 3D Printing Can Help Solve Crimes

The world of 3D printing fills quite a few people with excitement. Although there is a lot of focus on using this technology from a consumer point of view, there are plenty of other use cases as well. As it turns out, 3D printing is making quite a lot of headway in the crime scene investigation world. Various crimes have been solved using 3D printers, which is quite interesting to take note of.

4. 3D Printed Scan of A Room

One of the first stories to involve 3D printing and crime solving originates from Japan. Police used a 3D printed scan of a room to reconstruct evidence. At that time, this technique was considered to be highly controversial, yet it allowed the police to ultimately apprehend the person responsible for the crime. Even though this murder case had gone unsolved for nearly two decades, the introduction of a 3D printer shed some new light on the case.

3. Reconstructing Faces

In October of 2016, a team of University of South Florida forensic anthropologists teamed up with various artists to solve 20 crimes. All of these cases related to unidentified and missing persons. With the use of 3D printers, the teams reconstructed the faces of the people involved. It is an intriguing idea to use 3D printing technology for this type of purpose, yet it goes to show how valuable this concept can be for law enforcement moving forward.

2. Recreating Evidence

Up until this point, crime scene investigations heavily relied on evidence collected from the investigation itself. Footprints, fingerprints and even broken materials can all contribute to solving these cases one way or another. It is evident 3D printing promises to be of great aid in this regard, as it can easily replicate footprints or tool mark impressions.

Police officials have to rely on different materials to create these solid pieces of evidence right now, yet a three-dimensional model offers a lot more potential. Additionally, in the case of footprints, researchers can create a shoe that would fit said print. Moreover, gunshot victims suffering from injuries where bullets can’t be removed can be “used” to create a tactile piece of evidence.

1. Recreating a Dead Person’s Fingerprint

One of the more controversial cases involving 3D printing during a crime scene investigation involved the printing of a murder victim’s phone. With this 3D printed cast, police were successful in unlocking the victim’s mobile phone and access all of the data on the device. It is not the first time this method is used to solve a crime, though, but this particular story got a lot of media attention for some reason.

Police techniques to unlock mobile devices involved in a crime investigation have been a bit controversial as of late. Since the person this particular phone belonged to was incapable of giving permission to unlock the device in the first place, this method seems rather immoral. Then again, it is believed the 3D printing of this victim’s finger eventually lead to the arrest of the person responsible for the murder, which is what is most important. Moreover, the victim’s body was too decayed to get a direct fingerprint, leaving very few options on the table.

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