Study Examines Evidential Value of Very Small Particle Profiles

A project funded by the National Institute of Justice measured the evidential value of very small particle (VSP) profiles found on four types of physical evidence: handguns, cell phones, drug packaging, and ski masks.

A final technical report, titled "Evidential Value of Particle Combination Profiles on Common Items of Evidence," written by David Stoney, described the project:

"The VSP were analyzed in an operational crime laboratory setting, using a practical, efficient analytical protocol. Under the experimental conditions, drug packaging showed excellent result for classification of test specimens (97 percent). Handguns and cell phones showed good classification results (90 percent and 87 percent, respectively). Ski masks showed poor results, with correction classification at 53 percent. Most misclassifications showed the correct source ranked remotely, indicating that these specimens did not have sufficient character to result in a strong association. VSP profiles on any given item of evidence need not be complex and diagnostic. What is important is that on most they are unquestionably so. This finding encourages the follow-on research that will allow refinement and testing of the analytical and interpretational approach."

You can read the full report here.

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