True Crime: True Crime is a nonfiction literary, podcast, and film genre in which the author examines an actual crime and details the actions of real people. The crimes most commonly include murder; about 40% focus on tales of serial killers.
Forensic Science: Also known as criminalistics, is the application of science to criminal and civil laws, mainly- on the criminal side- during criminal investigations, as governed by the legal standards of admissible evidence and criminal procedure.
How I got into True Crime
When I was young – like six or seven – I started watching America’s Most Wanted with my two older sisters. The idea that I could help catch a criminal by just watching a TV show. Despite the nightmares, I was hooked. The major case that stuck with me was the Elizabeth Smart case. I would watch the news, hoping and praying that she was okay. Not too long before hearing about this case, someone had broken into my house while my family and I were at church. No one was hurt – except for the burglar since our dog bit him – but it was still frightening. Hearing that a man could break into a second story window on top of our break in made me very fearful… and curious. Amidst the fear, I always wondered how the police could catch criminals and find kidnapped people. This had always piqued my interest. As I got older, I watched shows like How to Catch a Predator and anything on ID. If I wanted to watch fictional crimes, I’d watch Law and Order and my all-time favorite Criminal Minds.
How I got into Forensic Science
While watching shows on ID, I was introduced to the world of forensic science. I lived for the part where they explain that the little piece of fabric found in the beginning was the thing that connected the perp to the crime. I once watched a show where they connected a sheriff to a string of murders with a bright yellow string found at the crime scene – pun very much intended. It turns out that that specific color of string was only used for the cloth stars sewn into the uniforms of that town’s sheriffs. Any little thing could break a case, even a small piece of string. This interested me so much that I ended up taking Forensic Science in high school.
After my sophomore year, I had to switch schools. I ended up going to the school that my mother works with. Knowing that I enjoyed watching shows about true crime and forensics, she suggested that I request to take forensic science. I was surprised that there was even a forensic science class. That was the only type of science that piqued my interest. So, I ended up taking Forensic Science my junior year. Best. science class. EVER! Occasionally, my teacher would make mock crime scenes, split us up into teams, and we’d take turns taking notes and seeing which team got the most or all of the clues laid out. Needless to say, I enjoyed that class.
Forensic Facts that I’ve learned from my Forensic Science class
- There can be multiple crime scenes in one case. In a murder case the primary crime scene would be where the victim was murdered, and the secondary crime scene would be where the body was found.
- Trace evidence is anything that we transfer to each other or surfaces. Examples include strands of hair, fibers from your clothing, dirt from your shoe, gunshot residue, etc.
- Anyone handling a case MUST clear the crime scene before CSI comes in, and everyone MUST wear gloves when handling evidence. Otherwise, the evidence would be considered contaminated and could derail the whole case. A big example of this would be the JonBenet Ramsey case, where the family and friends were able to come in and out of the house during the investigation.