Comparison of Tool Marks
The operative should be well aware of the ability of investigators to identify just about anything you bring to the target location as having been there and this is especially true for tools. The operative may have to make forced entry into a residence or other buildings and vehicles in the course of planting explosives, selective assassination or for the purpose of acquiring funds or weapons needed.
The tools used on such missions should be sterile, i.e. they should not have the operatives fingerprints on them or any residue evidence which link them back to the operative. Scrounge or liberate any tools needed and store them as described for sterile clothing. Yard sales and flea markets are excellent sources for cheap tools. A sterile tool is best left at the crime scene, making it a dead end for investigation.
Any tool which must be kept due to its value should be altered by working its contact surfaces with a file or abrasive before and after any mission. Altering the tool before a mission is necessary because the tool may have been used or tested at the operative's residence, allowing an investigator to link the tool back to this earlier use.
There is a well known saying among prosecutors that "the only thing worse than no evidence at all is eyewitness evidence". This reflects the fact that the average person who witnesses a crime has no training in observation skills. Most people don't really take note of what the suspect looks like, what kind of clothes the suspect wore, or what type of weapons or vehicles, if any, were used. This fact is a double-edged sword to the operative; on one hand any eyewitnesses will generally be of only marginal help to investigators but on the other hand, when investigators have the operative targeted as a suspect it is very easy for them to influence the testimony of eyewitnesses.
The operative must do everything possible to avoid being noticed by witnesses while conducting missions. Here are some things to remember:
- It is important to avoid making eye-contact with passersby while traveling to and from the target area. Eye-contact is both a sexual signal and a threatening gesture and will be sure cause witnesses to take note.
- Dress to fit into the surroundings at the target area.
- Earth tones and a drab appearance will go a long way to reducing the number of witnesses who take note of the operative.
- Don't exhibit signs of strength or alertness, keep the muscles of the chest and shoulders relaxed and slightly slouched. This will make witnesses dismiss you as nonthreatening without a second glance.
- Don't wear a disguise which will draw undue attention. A good example is a police uniform; this is possibly the worst imaginable disguise and should only be used when absolutely necessary. A police officer's appearance and activities are usually noticed by everyone and people are likely to approach a police officer with questions or comments. A construction worker, on the other hand, will often be given the same level of unchallenged access as a cop but, at the same time, will draw less attention.
- Don't speak or interact with anyone unless absolutely necessary
Surveillance cameras are a common resource for law enforcement. When investigating a crime, investigators will look at the tapes recorded by business security cameras in the area of the crime scene, near the suspect's residence and along any possible routes between the previous two locations.
The sheer number of cameras in use today gives the investigator a good chance of obtaining damning evidence that a suspect was in the vicinity of the crime scene or traveled along a route to it before or away from it after the crime was committed. Many high-profile cases have included this element of evidence recently.
In order to avoid being caught with this type of evidence the operative should take a round-a-bout route to the target area, avoiding downtown storefronts, banks, jewelry or electronics shops or anywhere else that is likely to have security cameras.
Vehicles owned by the operative, or which can be linked to the operative or any other comrade should not be used as transportation directly to and from the target area. If absolutely necessary drive to a spot which is several blocks from the target and walk from there. If a getaway car is required for the mission it must be a stolen vehicle, preferably one stolen very recently. Use public transportation or walk to the target if possible, rush hour is the best time for this as anonymity can easily be maintained in a crowd. A disguise of some sort should be worn but don't get too fancy with this, a ball-cap, dark sunglasses and some uncharacteristic clothing will make a more convincing cover than a fake wig, beard or anything else which is too extravagant.
Forensic Firearm Evidence
In the event of most shootings and nearly all firearm homicides an investigation involving Forensic Firearm Identification is conducted. An assassination of one of the System's elite will almost certainly result in all the available resources of law enforcement being brought to bear including a meticulous investigation of forensic firearms evidence. It is important for the operative to understand the nature of this type of investigation and just what can and cannot be determined through forensic investigations. A good understanding of the investigative process will help the resistance fighter to reduce the chances of leaving useful evidence at a crime scene or of being caught in possession of such evidence later.
Forensic firearm identification, which is part of the broader science of forensics, is often wrongly referred to as ballistics. Firearms identification involves the identification of fired bullets, cartridge cases or other ammunition components as having been fired from a specific firearm. Firearms identification is actually a form of Tool Mark Identification where the firearm, because it is made of a material harder than the ammunition components, acts as a tool to leave impressions and striated markings on the various ammunition components that come into contact with the firearm.
Firearms evidence found at a crime scene or seized elsewhere will be submitted to a police lab's Firearms Section for investigation. This evidence will typically include a firearm, fired bullets, spent cartridge cases, spent shot shells, shot, shot shell wadding, live ammunition, clothing, or a number of other types of miscellaneous evidence.
Studies have shown that no two firearms, even those of the same make and model, will produce the same unique marks on fired bullets and cartridge cases. Manufacturing processes, use, and abuse leave surface characteristics within the firearm that cannot be exactly reproduced in other firearms.
Firearms do not normally change much over time. This allows for firearms recovered months or even years after a shooting to be identified as having fired a specific bullet or cartridge case. Tests have been conducted proving that even after firing several hundred rounds through a firearm the last bullet fired could still be identified to the first.
It should be noted that not all firearms leave consistent reproducible marks but around eighty percent of the firearms examined produce what is sometimes called a "mechanical fingerprint" on the bullets and cartridge cases that pass through them.
All cases that involve firearms identification start with preliminary examinations of the evidence for similar class characteristics. Class characteristics are intentional or design characteristics that would be common to a particular group or family of items.
The class characteristics of firearms that relate to the bullets fired from them include the caliber of the firearm and the rifling pattern contained in the barrel of the firearm.
Cartridges and Cartridge cases on the other hand are examined for class similarities in what are called breech marks, firing pin impressions, extractor marks, ejector marks and others.
Bullets collected for comparison to a specific firearm are examined first to see if they are of a caliber that could have been fired from the submitted firearm. They are then examined to determine if the pattern of rifling impressions on the bullet match the pattern of rifle contained in the barrel of the questioned firearm. If these class characteristics agree the next step is to try to make a positive match between the individual characteristics that may have transferred to the bullet from the barrel.
Located within the rifling impressions on a bullet can be microscopic striations or scratches. They sort of look like a bar code. Well they can be as individualistic as a bar code.
Breech marks come in various forms. Those seen above are called parallel breech marks because the marks are a series of parallel lines. Another form of breech marks are circular breech marks. Breech marks can also show no obvious pattern. They may have a stippled or mottled appearance.
Ejector marks are sometimes created when cartridges or cartridge cases are ejected from the action of a firearm. Ejector marks can be either striated or impressed but the impressed ejector marks not only can be used to identify a cartridge case as having passed through a firearm's action they can also be an indication that the cartridge case was fired in the firearm. Ejector marks can only be produced when the cartridge cases were fired in the firearm and not by simply hand chambering and ejecting a live cartridge.
Minimizing Firearm Evidence
Forensic firearm evidence is an overwhelmingly powerful tool. How can the operative minimize the evidence he leaves behind at the scene of an assassination or sabotage attack with a firearm. Here are some guidelines to follow in order to minimize the evidence which a firearm attack will leave behind.
- With rifles and handguns, use only all-lead hollow point bullets unless the job requires FMJ ammo to be used. With an FMJ or other type of jacketed bullet, the jacket tends to get peeled back or right off but it retains the rifling marks mostly intact. With an all-lead, hollow point bullet, on the other hand, rifling marks tend to be obliterated. This is true even when fired into a soft target. In some jurisdictions handgun caliber, hollow point bullets are banned. In this case the operative will have to fabricate his own. Pr-fragmented bullets, which are made from powdered lead, are also available. These bullets strike the target and are smashed into powder. This type of ammo does not have the penetration power of the standard types but will leave no trace of rifling impressions. Of course cartridge case evidence must also be considered.
- With shotguns the real concern is not the projectile (most shotguns do not have rifling and therefore impart no impressions on the shot or slug projectiles) but the spent shells. The firing pin impressions and other cartridge case marks can be used to match a shotgun to a crime if spent shells are left behind. The spent shells must be retrieved in order to prevent evidence from being obtained to link the weapon to the crime. This is usually not possible.
- Wear gloves in order to prevent fingerprints on the weapon if it must be discarded hastily and to prevent gunshot residue from being present on your hands if you are apprehended.
- Ammo to be used in an attack can be chambered in and then manually ejected from a firearm other than the one to be used. This will leave marks on the cartridge case which will confuse the examination and make positive matching of weapon to the ammunition components more difficult.
- A good trick is to use a weapon which does not eject spent shells (revolver or break-open type shotgun or rifle) or is equipped with a brass catcher and then intentionally leave spent shells of a similar type but fired from a different weapon behind. Spent shells used for this should be obtained wherever people go to shoot such as shooting ranges and garbage dumps. A .38 special or .357 magnum revolver can cause a great deal of confusion when employed this way because they can fire projectiles which are identical to those fired by a. 38 super, 9mm, .380 and a number of others. This means that with a .38 or .357 magnum if no shell casings are left behind the investigator can't be sure which type of weapon was used. If shell casings from a .38 super, for instance, are left at the scene of an attack where a .38 special was actually used the firearms investigator will have to conclude that a .38 super was used.
- After a firearm is used in an attack it will have to be destroyed, altered to remove identifiable characteristics or cached. If a weapon is to be destroyed, every part must be damaged enough to make examination impossible. The barrel, bolt head, firing pin, extractor and ejector must be damaged beyond the possibility of examination. In order to alter a weapon the barrel and firing pin, at minimum must be altered. The firing pin can be removed and replaced or ground slightly to change the shape of its impression without much trouble. The barrel is a different matter; the barrel will have to be replaced. Most handguns and rifles have barrels which can be removed. However replacement barrels can cost more than the weapon is worth, in this case the best option is to cache the weapon safely and make it a resource for the future. See the section on Weapons Caching for notes on this.
Police investigators are able to gain quite a bit of information from even an exploded bomb. Instrumental analyses of explosives and residues can determine whether substances are high explosive, low explosive, or explosive or incendiary mixtures; whether the composition of the substances is consistent with known explosive products; and the type of explosives. Explosive residue can be deposited on metal, plastic, wood, paper, or glass. Residue may be deposited after handling, storing, or initiating an explosive.
The operative must make every effort to minimize the amount and value of evidence which an investigator can obtain. Here are some guidelines for minimizing evidence in bombings:
- An exploded bomb will yield less evidence and will take much more time and effort to investigate than an unexploded one. Also, a bomb which fizzles makes you look unprofessional and less than committed, which reflects a similar appearance upon our whole movement. Make sure your bomb will function.
- Use the most commonly available components you can obtain.
- Don't purchase any parts which could be scrounged at junkyards or garbage dumps.
- Use homemade propellant unless you are sure that the commercial propellant you use can not be traced. Remember the police "Ident" lab will be able to identify almost any commercial explosive from just one grain of it, it is even possible to identify an explosive from its residue.
- Remove any labels, logos, serial numbers or distinguishing marks from bomb components such as batteries, clockworks, circuit boards or electronic delays as the investigator may be able to get batch or lot numbers from your components allowing them to discover when and where they were purchased.
- Be sure to wear gloves during the entire process of constructing and delivering the bomb to eliminate the possibility of leaving fingerprints behind.
- Don't leave any hair, saliva, blood, clothing, vehicle or furniture fibers upon or within the bomb.
The bomb investigator knows that this type of evidence often gets caught within the threads of a pipe-bomb and can often survive the explosion. This is another good reason to be sure that these parts are well cleaned and lubed. Saliva can be used to obtain a DNA sample, which is better than a signed confession to prosecutors. Don't lick the envelope or postage (or anything else for that matter) on a package or mail bomb.
- Never purchase any bomb components with a credit card or check as this leaves a paper trail back to you. When buying parts be sure not to draw attention to yourself, a purchase of 24, 1' threaded pipe sections and 48 end caps will definitely raise suspicions and ensure that store employees and other customers will take a good look at you. Remember never buy any parts which could be scrounged or made.
Forensic Computer Evidence
Forensic computer examinations can:
- Determine what type of data files are in a computer
- Compare data files to known documents and data files
- Determine the time and sequence that data files were created
- Extract data files from the computer
- Recover deleted files from the computer
- Search data files for keywords or phrases (such as explosive)
- Recover and decrypt passwords
- Analyze and compare source code
The amount of forensic computer evidence obtained by investigators can be greatly reduced by using the best possible encryption programs with unique and complex passwords. Don't write your passwords down and don't include any obvious phrases or numbers.
Ink and Handwriting Evidence
Examinations can compare the formulation of known and questioned ink including pen, typewriter ribbon and stamp pad ink. When ink formulations are the same, it is not possible to determine whether the ink originated from the same source to the exclusion of others. Writing instruments should be "sterile", in that they should not be used by the operative before or after use in an action.
Handwriting evidence allows the examiner to determine, with reasonable accuracy, if an evidence sample of handwriting was produced by a given suspect.
This type of evidence is of concern to the operative in cases of Fraud, Death Threats, Mail Bombs and when signed receipts and other documents are part of a mission. Writing with the opposite hand, purposely distorting the natural writing method, and using block letters are all tricks which the operative can use to reduce this type of evidence.
Toxicology examinations can disclose the presence of drugs or poisons in biological specimens (i.e. deceased targets). The examinations can determine the circumstances surrounding drug- or poison-related homicides, suicides, or accidents.
The most readily identified toxins include:
- Volatile compounds (ethanol, methanol, isopropanol)
- Heavy metals (arsenic)
- Nonvolatile organic compounds (drugs of abuse, pharmaceuticals)
- Miscellaneous (strychnine, cyanide)
The operative should not store any poisons where investigators can find them. Make up poisons only as they are needed. Toxins such as Ethylene Glycol or Methanol are commonly used chemicals and do not have significant potential as evidence against the operative.
Investigators will use a technique called profiling whenever there is a particularly difficult case or series of cases to solve. This process attempts to make an educated guess at the suspect's identity by analyzing crime scene evidence. Factors such as the suspect's age, race, level of education, employment, social status, and even where he or she lives can be deduced with reasonable accuracy.
In order to thwart the efforts of criminal profilers the operative must:
- Leave as little evidence as possible behind at crime scenes.
- Use simple language when making threats or claiming responsibility for actions.
- Never attack any target near your residence or any former residence, near your place of work, or along any routes which you travel often. Law enforcement profilers know that these types of attacks are often made upon targets which are in areas familiar to the perpetrator. The first attack an operative makes is particularly important because profilers know that a perpetrator almost always makes his first attack against a familiar target.
- Don't develop a pattern in your attacks which will allow law enforcement to predict when and where you will strike next. Vary the types of attacks, the time of day, day of the week and attack targets in as wide a geographical area as possible.
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Imperfections in the surface of the interior of the barrel leave striations on the projectiles. Striations have the potential to be consistently reproduced in a unique pattern on every bullet that passes down the barrel of a firearm.
When a bullet is submitted for comparison to a firearm, one of the first examinations conducted will be to determine the bullet's caliber.
Measuring the bullet's diameter, weighing the bullet, and examining the physical characteristics of the bullet help firearm examiners to arrive at a basic caliber for the submitted bullet. Firearm examiners also can compare the questioned bullet to known reference standards. Most police labs have an ammunition reference collection and manufacturers catalogs that can be used as reference material in determining a bullet's caliber.
Making these determinations is not as easy as it sounds.
Sometimes firearm examiners can be very specific but there are times when its impossible to narrow things down to one particular caliber or cartridge. Confusion is often caused by the fact that firearms are normally designed to fire a specific type of cartridge, however, some firearms chambered to fire one cartridge can also fire another. One of the most common examples is that a revolver chambered for .357 Magnum cartridges can also fire a .38 Special cartridge. However, a firearm chambered for .38 Special cartridges cannot fire .357 Magnum cartridges.
If the caliber of the bullet submitted for examination matches the caliber of the submitted firearm or if it just isn't possible to be sure of the bullet's caliber, the firearm examiner will look for additional class characteristics in the form of rifling to further narrow their search.
Most modern pistols, revolvers, rifles, and some shotgun barrels have what is called rifling in their barrels.
Rifling consists of grooves cut or formed in a spiral nature, lengthwise down the barrel of a firearm.
Rifling is placed in the barrels of firearms to impart a spin on the bullets that pass through it. Because bullets are oblong objects, they must spin in their flight, like a thrown football, to be accurate.
Rifling is often described in reference to the number of lands & grooves it contains. The lands are the raised areas between two grooves. A rifling pattern will always have the same number of lands as grooves.
Firearms can be manufactured with any number of lands and grooves in their barrels. They can also spiral either left or right. A few of the more common rifling patterns are 4/right, 5/right, 6/right, 6/left, 8/right, and 16/right.
A bullet is slightly larger in diameter than the bore diameter of the barrel in which it is designed to be fired. The bore diameter is the distance from one land to the opposite land in a barrel. As a result, a rifled barrel will impress a negative impression of itself on the sides of the bullet.
Firearm examiners can run into problems determining any of the rifling characteristics on the bullet if the bullet is damaged.
A firearms examiner may still be able to determine the number of lands and groves, the direction of twist and possibly even the rate of twist from even a badly damaged bullet. All that is required is one intact land and grove.
Cartridge Case Identification
Like bullets, cartridge cases can be identified as having been fired by a specific firearm. As soon as cartridges are loaded into a firearm the potential for the transfer of unique tool marks exists. However, the cartridge does not have to be fired for these marks to be transferred. Simply loading a cartridge into a firearm can cause unique identifiable marks that can be later identified.
Cartridge cases are most often made of brass but can also be made of other materials such as steel, aluminum alloys or plastics. Cartridge cases come in a variety of finishes but all are made of a material that is softer than the materials found in a firearm. Any surface of the cartridge case that meets the inner workings of the firearm may be marked.
Tool marks produced on the cartridge cases will be in two basic forms. As the microscopic striations found on bullets, cartridge cases can pick up striated action marks. These "scratches" are produced when the cartridge case moves laterally against the tool (inner surface of the firearm) producing a scrape or striated mark. The other form of marks that can be left on a cartridge case are impressed action marks. Impressed marks are created on cartridge cases when it impacts the tool (again, the firearm) with adequate velocity or pressure to leave an impressed or indented mark.
Cartridge cases are compared to fired standards from a firearm using a comparison microscope as described in the bullet identification section. Standards are first examined to determine what marks, if any, the firearm is consistently reproducing. Evidence cartridge cases are then directly compared to the standards to see if they too are also similarly marked.
Striated Action Markings
Striated action marks are common to cartridge cases that have passed through the action of an auto loading or repeating firearm. Striated action marks can be produced on cartridge cases by contact with a number of different areas within the firearm. Some of the more common striated action marks include chamber marks; shear marks, firing pin drag marks, extractor marks, and ejector marks.
One of the most common striated action marks are called chamber marks. Roughness in the chamber of a firearm can scratch the outer walls of a cartridge case when loaded and removed from the chamber. Most chamber marks occur after the cartridge is fired. Cartridge cases expand when fired pressing out against the walls of the chamber. When they are pulled out of the chamber, the sides of the cartridge case can be scratched.
Another common striated action mark are shear marks produced by Glock pistols on cartridge case primers. Glock pistols have a rectangular firing pin hole in their breech face. When a cartridge case is forced backwards from recoil the primer imbeds itself in the firing pin hole. As the slide of the pistol starts to recoil, the barrel will drop slightly as the action opens. The dropping barrel forces the cartridge case to move down slightly and when this happens the lower edge of the embedded primer is sheared downward and out of the firing pin hole.
Firing Pin Drag Marks
In a similar process, striated marks called firing pin drag marks can be produced. When the firing pin springs forward to strike the primer of a cartridge, it may remain slightly forward and embedded in the primer. Certain barrels (like in the Glock) drop down slightly as recoil is forcing the action open.
The cartridge case drops with the barrel causing the nose of the protruding firing pin to drag across the primer as it leaves the firing pin impression.
Another action mark, usually found in a striated form, are those created by the extractor of most auto-loading or repeating firearms.The extractor is a small part sometimes resembling a hook that is used to remove a cartridge or cartridge case from the chamber of a firearm. As the slide of the pistol moves to the rear, the extractor pulls the cartridge case along with it until it is ejected from the pistol.
The extractor may or may not leave an identifiable mark on the cartridge case. This is true if the cartridge is fired or simply hand chambered and extracted without firing.
As described above, the extractor pulls the cartridge case out of the firearm's chamber. As the cartridge case is pulled to the rear it will be struck somewhere on an opposing edge by a part as seen below called the ejector. The ejector is designed to expel the cartridge case from the action of the firearm. The resulting impact of the cartridge case with the ejector will cause another action mark that can be used as a means of identification. Ejector marks can be striated in nature but most of the time they are impressed action marks.
Impressed Action Markings
Impressed action marks, with a few exceptions, are produced when a cartridge case is fired in a firearm. The two most common impressed action marks are firing pin impressions and breech marks. As mentioned earlier ejector marks can also be in the form of an impressed action mark.
Firing Pin Impressions
Firing pin impressions are indentations created when the firing pin of a firearm strikes the primer of centerfire cartridge case or the rim of a rimfire cartridge case. If the nose of the firing pin has manufacturing imperfections or damage, these potentially unique characteristics can be impressed into the metal of the primer or rim of the cartridge case.
Firing pin impressions also can be found on live cartridges. In some cases, the firing pin may miss the primer of a cartridge or fail to strike the primer of a cartridge with sufficient force for it to discharge. The cartridge may also misfire due to a contaminated or deteriorated primer compound. For whatever reason, the result will be the presence of a firing pin impression on the cartridge case of a live cartridge. This could be significant if the cartridge is say, left at the scene or found at a suspect's house.
By far the most common impressed action marks on cartridge cases are breech marks. Most fired cartridge cases are identified as having been fired by a specific firearm through the identification of breech marks.
Very high pressures are generated within a firearm when a cartridge is discharged. These pressures force the bullet from the cartridge case and down the barrel at very high velocities. When a firearm is discharged, the shooter will feel the firearm jump rearward. This rearward movement of the firearm is called recoil. Recoil is for the most part caused by the cartridge case moving rearward as an opposite reaction to the pressures generated to force the bullet down the barrel.
When the head or base of the cartridge case moves rearward, it strikes what is called the breech face of the firearm.
The breech face rests against the head of the cartridge case and holds the cartridge case in the chamber of the firearm.When the head of a cartridge case slams against the breech face, the negative impression of any imperfections in the breech face are stamped into either the primer of the cartridge case or the cartridge case itself.
Body fluids are of great importance to the investigator. Because of the unique character of each individual's DNA, the crime lab can rule a suspect out based on DNA samples or make statements such as " there is a 1 in 9,000,529,200 chance that someone other than the suspect deposited the sample found at the crime scene". This type of evidence is obviously very powerful.
DNA samples can be obtained from liquid or dried blood, saliva, urine and perspiration. Samples can also be obtained from human milk and semen but these are not the types of samples the operative is likely to leave behind.
How can the Resistance Fighter avoid leaving this type of evidence for investigators to find?
- Never urinate, eat, drink or smoke at or near the mission target. Saliva samples can be obtained from unfinished portions of food, beverage containers and cigarette butts. The operative may be forced to violate this guideline when lying in ambush or in a sniper's nest for extended periods. In this case the operative must use care not to leave samples behind for investigators to obtain.
- Never lick stamps or envelopes to be used to threaten enemies, to claim responsibility for acts of war or when making letter or package bomb attacks.
- The operative should do everything possible to avoid cuts and abrasions during the course of a mission. Chose routes of ingress and egress which are free of obstructions. Wear tough clothes, footwear and, of course, gloves.
- Whenever the operative is forced to come into physical contact with the enemy there is potential for body fluid samples to be deposited. The best way to prevent this is to become proficient in armed and unarmed combat so that enemies can be dealt with quickly and the risk of injury to the operative reduced.
There is also potential for the body fluids of the target of an attack or some contaminants from the crime scene to be deposited on the operative during the course of a mission. This potential is particularly strong in missions of Selective Assassination. When using weapons such as knives and firearms fired at close range, the operative is sure to become contaminated with samples of the target's blood. There is also potential for gunshot residue, trace elements from explosives, hair + fiber, and soil evidence to be deposited upon the operative's person and clothing.
The operative must begin each mission with a set of sterile cloths and destroy them afterwards. The clothing and footwear worn by the operative during a mission should be obtained from second-hand clothing stores or from services which provide used clothing to the poor. The clothing should be kept sealed in the bag from the store and not washed or worn before the mission. This is a simple and cheap way for the operative to be supplied with sterile clothing, which will be free of hair, fiber and trace elements evidence from the operative's vehicle, residence or person. These clothes can be removed and destroyed after the completion of the mission.
This type of evidence is also frequently referred to as hair and fiber evidence. Trace evidence can be loosely defined as materials which are small enough to be overlooked upon initial inspection, and which, because of their size, are easily exchanged through contact. Examples of trace evidence include, hair, fiber, gunshot residue, threads, soil, debris, dust and chemicals, adhesives, polymers, paints, wood, insulation from safes and metals.
The detection of trace evidence linking a suspect to the crime scene, coupled with good evidence standards, makes for a powerful investigative tool. The resistance fighter must be aware of the potential links which law enforcement can make from trace evidence deposited at the crime scene or transferred from the crime scene to the operative's body, clothes, footwear, vehicle, residence etc.
How to Beat Police Investigations
It is essential for the operative to understand how criminal investigations are conducted and just what can and cannot be determined from crime scene evidence. This knowledge will allow the operative to reduce the risk that law enforcement will be able to identify, build a case against, and successfully prosecute him or her.
Fingerprints are possibly the most common type of physical evidence, and certainly one of the most valuable to investigators. Each person's fingerprints are unique to them and do not change significantly over time. Therefore, they offer the investigator the ability to identify the person who left them at the crime scene. There are three types of fingerprints which are collected as evidence;
- Direct or Inked Fingerprints which are collected from a suspect and use for comparison with crime-scene prints.
- Latent Fingerprints which are impressions caused by the perspiration through the sweat pores of the ridges of the skin being transferred to some surface.
- Residual Fingerprints which are produced when the ridges of the skin have been contaminated with substances such as oil, grease, dirt, blood etc.
Fingerprints deposited on hard, nonabsorbent, smooth surfaces, such as metal, glass, and finished wood, are the easiest for investigators to find and record. Fingerprints deposited on porous, absorbent surfaces are the most difficult for investigators to find and process but the technology exists to obtain fingerprints off of nearly any surface, provided they are processed soon after being deposited.
Standards differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction regarding the number and quality of prints which must be obtained from the crime-scene and matched to a suspect in order for them to be submitted as evidence in court. Police, however, could possibly identify an operative from just one partial fingerprint. This evidence would be useless in court, but would make the operative vulnerable to further, aggressive investigation.
The only way to avoid this is to simply not leave any fingerprints behind. Wearing surgical gloves during every stage of a given mission is the simplest way to achieve this. Every item the operative brings along on a mission must have none of the operative's (or any Comrade's) fingerprints on it. Special care must be taken to be sure that items, such as weapons, tools, and explosives, which have been handled before a mission, are free of incriminating fingerprints.