Introduction to Criminalistics

1st Edition

The Foundation of Forensic Science


  • Barry Fisher
  • William Tilstone
  • Catherine Woytowicz
  • Introduction to Criminalistics

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    Criminalistics is that sub-field of Forensic Science dealing with the collection, preservation, examination, and interpretation of physical evidence. Introduction to Criminalistics: The Foundation of Forensic Science covers the basics of Criminalistics in a textbook for a one or two semester course with the intention of preparing the student for a future in forensic science. The role of the Criminalist is to analyze, compare, identify, and interpret physical evidence in the crime lab. These crime labs, or forensic labs, have two primary functions: identifying evidence, and linking suspect, victim, and crime scene through physical evidence. This new primer introduces the learner to the structure and organization of the crime lab and to the role of the Criminalist. Topics covered include how to process a crime scene and preserve evidence, the basic principles of firearm examination, latent fingerprints, and rudimentary toxicology, or how to determine the presence or absence of drugs and poisons. Well organized and methodical, this colorful textbook, written by an eminent professional, has the potential to become the standard text for applying techniques of the physical and natural sciences to examining physical evidence.

    Key Features

    * Uses real cases – recent and historic – to illustrate concepts * Colorful pedagogy clearly defines chapter elements and sets this text apart from next best * Presents the basics of forensic sciences in a one-semester or one-year course * Offers excellent preparation for professional examinations * Delivers the latest in laboratory technique while acknowledging the limits of technology


    Students in Forensic Science programs, advanced college undergraduates enrolled in forensic science and graduate students entering forensic science degree programs.

    Table of Contents

    Section I: Introduction, Field and Laboratory Chapter 1 Forensic Science – Scope and Perspective from Scene to Laboratory Barry Fisher Section II: Pattern Evidence Chapter 2 Introduction to Pattern Evidence - Tool Marks and Impressions Catherine Woytowicz and Bill Tilstone Chapter 3 Firearms Catherine Woytowicz and Bill Tilstone Chapter 4 Fingerprints Catherine Woytowicz and Bill Tilstone Chapter 5 Documents Catherine Woytowicz and Bill Tilstone Chapter 6 Physical Evidence Catherine Woytowicz and Bill Tilstone Chapter 7 Hair and Fiber Catherine Woytowicz and Bill Tilstone Section III: Chemical and Instrumental Analytical Evidence Chapter 8 Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Catherine Woytowicz and Bill Tilstone Chapter 9 Arson and Explosives Catherine Woytowicz and Bill Tilstone Chapter 10 Forensic Toxicology Bill Tilstone Section IV: Biological Evidence Chapter 11 Forensic Biology Bill Tilstone Chapter 12 DNA Bill Tilstone Appendices A. Personal Effects and Identification B. Digital Evidence C. Crime Reconstruction


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    © 2009
    Academic Press
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    About the authors

    Barry Fisher

    Affiliations and Expertise

    Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Angeles, CA

    William Tilstone

    William J. Tilstone has more than 35 years of experience in forensic science in academia, case work in biology and toxicology, executive management, and consultancy work in training and quality systems. Foundation Professorship in Forensic Science at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Director of Forensic Science Centre, South Australia. First Executive Director of the National Forensic Science Technology Center, Largo, FL.

    Affiliations and Expertise

    William J. Tilstone, Executive Director (Retired), National Forensic Science Technology Center, Largo, FL Forensic Solutions International, Auchterarder, Scotland

    Catherine Woytowicz

    Catherine Woytowicz teaches in the Department of Chemistry, the Honors Program, and the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. She also teaches at Georgetown University in the School of Medicine.

    Affiliations and Expertise

    Part-time Faculty, The George Washington University, Department of Chemistry, Washington, DC