Crime After Crime: Useful Things You Can Learn From Crime Shows

fingerprintPeople mainly watch their favorite television shows for entertainment, but for those whose favorites include crime fighting, forensics, or law enforcement-related shows, TV has a lot to teach. The plots are realistic, the storyline sound and well-researched, and it all just makes sense. You learn about the serial killer who sterilizes his tools with acid neutralizer but got sloppy in the end when he left his fingerprints behind, or you’ve practically memorized the Miranda Rights and you know you don’t have to say a thing if you find yourself in a police precinct in the future.

No matter how boring they may seem to those who prefer so-called reality TV, there are in fact many useful things we can learn from watching crime shows about dealing with real-life situations.

It’s easy to leave your prints and DNA anywhere.
Crime TV has taught us that when a probable suspect is called in for questioning, he or she will be offered a glass of water to drink. The probable suspect gratefully accepts and takes a sip, and that is the moment when we know his or her fate has been sealed. After the character leaves, the officer in charge of the case will get a glove or a piece of napkin and pick the glass up with it. The glass will be taken to the lab, the fingerprints lifted, and the DNA from the saliva extracted. The fingerprints will be a match to those found on the bloody knife collected at the crime scene, which proves that the suspect was there when the crime happened, and was even involved in the crime itself.

Crime scenes should be left undisturbed.
If you think you’ve discovered a crime scene, call the police immediately—don’t stick around and investigate things yourself. Crime scenes are full of evidence such as fingerprints, footprints, hair, fibers from clothing, and random deposits of DNA, so it’s best if you don’t add your own traces and contaminate the evidence. There are many instances in crime shows when pieces of evidence were ruled out because they were contaminated and mishandled; it happens in real life as well. Respect the crime scene—consider it as doing your bit in catching the killer.

Dental records are used in identifying bodies.
Dental records aren’t just for dentists to see which of our teeth require work; these can also be used in identifying our bodies, if ever we unfortunately fall victim to someone’s murderous intentions. Teeth are the hardest parts of the human body, so these are rarely destroyed when everything else we have has been burned or severed.

Each individual also has a unique dental imprint, so the samples or X-rays procured from a deceased person’s mandible can be matched to existing dental records. Dental records as crime scene data are responsible for identifying more than 93 percent of the remains of victims that had been left unrecognizable.

Aggression only causes more trouble.
In crime shows, characters who find themselves arrested for doing something they didn’t do often get physical and fight back, and things didn’t turn out well for them, no matter how innocent they were. They might be innocent of the crime, but they still get charged for assaulting a police officer. If you find yourself in such a situation, stay calm—aggression will get you nothing and you’ll only find yourself in custody. If things aren’t looking good for you, just do what they do on TV and say, “I want a lawyer.”