The Use of Technology in the Crime Scene Investigation Abstract

TheUse of Technology in the Crime Scene Investigation

Abstract

Thehigh rate of technological advancement has made a significantinfluence in nearly all aspects of life, including the criminalinvestigative operations. MAV drone is among the latest crime sceneinvestigation equipment that adds value to the investigationoperations. MAV costs $ 250,000 compared to a surveillance helicopterthat costs between $ 2 and $ 2.5 million, making a better buyingoption. The strengths of AMV drone include its low price, operatingefficiency, and the capacity to work in bad weather conditions. Itsweaknesses include the loud noise, limited capacity to operate duringthe day, and the fact that it is labor intensive. MAV presents someopportunities that include the possibility of an increase in itsusage following the increase in the number of serious crimes.However, MAV is facing the threats of stiff competition andobsolescence. In spite of these threats and weaknesses, MAV is stillone of the most appropriate technologies that should be applied incrime scene investigation.

Keywords: Crime scene investigation, value addition, buying criteria.

TheUse of Technology in the Crime Scene Investigation

Imaginewhat the police would have done when searching the body of the DonaldMackay, an anti-drug campaigner who was killed in unknowncircumstances, in the absence of the drones. This crime scene was notclearly defined and could range from his home to a nearby hotel wherehe had spent time with his colleagues before his murder (Greene,2014). The drones helped the police in the imagery as well asrecording of excavation and search. Crime investigation is one of thekey functions of the law enforcers, which makes a significantcontribution towards the determination of critical facts about crimesthat have occurred. Hara (2001) defined crime investigation as afield of science that involves the identification of facts, locating,and proving the guilt of a suspected perpetrator of a given crime.This paper will address the use of T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle, alsoknown as MAV by Miami police Department to conduct crime sceneinvestigation. The paper will focus on the background of MAV drones,how the drones add value to crime investigation operations, thebuying criteria, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.AV is one of the most effective, accurate, and economicaltechnologies that the law enforcers should give a consideration.

Background

MAVis a modern type of robotic drone that allows the law enforcementagencies obtain a bird eye-view of the scene of serious crimes. Thistype of drone is designed and built by Honeywell International(Weiss, 2012). The primary objective of designing MAV was to help thecrime investigation officers get a real-time follow-up of theunfolding of events in the large-scale crimes, such as terroristattacks, hostage, and emergency situations. MAV was first tried bythe Miami Police Department in the year 2012, after obtaining alicense from the Federal Aviation Administration (Weiss, 2012). Inother words, MAV allows the police have a closer look at dangeroussituations unfolding at scenes of crime. MAV is 24 inches tall and 24inches in diameter. It is a video camera that if flyable, and itresembles the helicopter. It is powered by gasoline, which allows thepilots to fly it to a height of between 250-300 feet (Weiss, 2012).MAV gives a promise of effective, timely, and economical crimeinvestigation.

Additionof business value

Theprimary objective of any criminal investigation docket is to ensurethat crime suspects are identified, and sufficient data collected toproof their participation in a crime in a competent court of law. Theemployment of drones by the Miami Police Department has increased thevalue of its operations in four major ways. First, MAV is lightmicro-drone that can be deployed easily and faster compared to oldermodels that took a lot of time to deploy (Phil, 2014). This meansthat the Miami Police Department can now conduct crime investigationa short time after its occurrence. Secondly, MAV is an improvedversion of the initial models of drones, which implies that itsdesigners enhanced its accuracy. This allows the crime investigatorsto collect accurate data and do a clear monitoring of events as theyunfolding of events at scenes of crime. Third, the use of the MAV incrime investigation has helped the police department increase itsoperational hours since MAV can stay at the scene of the crime longerthan the police officers, who are subject to fatigue (Phil, 2014).Fourth, MAV is cheaper, easier to maintain, and uses less fuel, whichmeans that the police department will reduce the cost of conductingthe investigation. The ease of deployment, increased level ofaccuracy, long operational hours, and low operating costs will addvalue to the criminal investigation services.

Buyingcriteria

TheMAV buying criteria for the Miami Police Department was based onthree major factors. First, the price of MAV is less compared toother surveillance and investigation alternatives. According to(Weiss, 2012). MAV retails at $ 250,000, while helicopters designedfor a similar purpose are sold at a retail price of between $ 2 and2.5 million. In addition, the old versions of the drone cost about $300,000, which is high compared to the price of MAV (Taboola, 2014).Moreover, MAV consumes less fuel compared to the helicopter and theolder models of drones, which means that its maintenance cost isless. Secondly, is user-friendly, and this makes easy for experiencedpilots to learn how to use it. With this in mind, the policedepartment knew that it only needed a short duration of training itsexisting pilots on the use of MAV, thus saving on time and trainingexpenses. Third, MAV has the capacity to operate in nearly allweather conditions, which means that the police department will beable to conduct investigations for crimes that occur in bad weatherscenes. The three benefits, in addition to overall operationalefficiency, make MAV the best buying alternative.

SWOTanalysis

Strengths

Theuse of MAV drone will help the police department achieve its goal ofenhancing the crime investigation operations. The use of MAV hasthree major strengths, compared to other alternatives. First, MAVconsumes less fuel and requires a lower level of expertise tomaintain. Secondly, the MVA can be used effectively in crime sceneswith strong winds and other bad weather conditions (Weiss, 2012).Apparently, MAV applies the latest technology, which enables thepolice department to use the state-of-the-art approaches inconducting investigations.

Weaknesses

Theuse of MAV is limited to the daytime since the drone depends on thedaylight. This means that MAV drone cannot be used to carry outinvestigations for crimes that occur at night. In addition, MAV is anoisy machine, which reduces the possibility of its application incases where secret investigation is required (Weiss, 2012). Moreover,MAV is a labor intensive machine that requires the deployment of atleast three pilots at any given time (Weiss, 2012). This will occupymost a large number of the pilots working with the police department,who should have been assigned to other tasks.

Opportunities

Thenumber of serious crimes (such as hostage and terrorism) has been onthe increase, which implies that the use of the latest technology inconducting an investigation is inevitable. Moreover, the criminaljudicial system has come to appreciate the significance of theevidence collected using technology-based approaches. This impliesthat an investment in the purchase of MAV drones is a long-terminvestment that will increase investigation operations in theunforeseeable future.

Threats

Thefact that MAV applies that the modern technology means that the droneis subject to obsolesce as the competitors develop more advancedtechnologies. Some of the major drone manufacturers imposing stiffcompetition include Proxy Dynamics and Lockheed Martin (Berman,2013). In addition, the risk of the high rate of pilots’ turnoverthreatens the capacity of the police department to maximize the useof MAV.

Conclusion

AMVis one of the drones that applies the latest technology and gives apromise of adding the value of the crime scene investigationoperations. AMV was developed by Honeywell International and testedby the Miami Police Department in 2012. The ease with which MAV canbe deployed, high level of accuracy, and the low cost of the dronejustifies its capacity to add value to the crime scene investigationoperations. The decision to buy the MAV compared to otheralternatives is based on the fact that the MAV’s retail price islower than other options, such as surveillance helicopters. Thestrengths of MAV drone include its capacity to operate in bad weatherconditions, low prices, and overall operational efficiency. However,MAV usage is limited to daytime since it relies on the daylight.Although MAV applies the latest technology, the high rate oftechnological advancement indicates that it might become obsolete anytime. MAV was designed with the state-of-the-art technology, whichimplies that it is one of the best tools that the criminalinvestigation dockets can use to add value to their operations.

References

Berman,J. (2013, March 11). 12 companies cashing in on drones. HuffPost Business.Retrieved December 10, 2014, fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/companies-making-drones_n_2849569.html

Greene,A. (2014). AFP using drones to investigate major crime as questionsrise over privacy. ABC.Retrieved December 10, 2014, fromhttp://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-01/afp-using-drones-to-solve-crime/5292096

Hara,C. (2001). Fundamentalsof Criminal Investigation (Sixth Edition).London: Charles C Thomas.

Taboola,B. (2014). St. Louis police chief wants drones to monitor city. U.S.Security.Retrieved December 10, 2014, fromhttp://rt.com/usa/louis-police0chief-drones-349/

Phil,H. (2014). Pros and cons of drones. Philfor Humanity.Retrieved December 10, 2014, fromhttp://www.philforhumanity.com/Drones.html

Weiss,R. (2012, February 16). Cool cop tech: 5 new technologies helpingpolice fight crime. ComputerWorld Incorporation.Retrieved December 10, 2014, fromhttp://www.computerworld.com/article/2501178/government-it/cool-cop-tech–5-new-technologies-helping-police-fight-crime.html?page=3