Deciphering crime systems through forensic science: The emergence of interdisciplinary approaches

Claude Roux1, Marie Morelato1, Frank Crispino2, Olivier Delémont3 and Olivier Ribaux3

1Centre for Forensic Science, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney.Forensic Science Research Group and International Centre for Comparative Criminology, Department Of 2Chemistry, Biochemistry And Physics, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada.
3School Of Criminal Justice, Faculty of Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Administration, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland.


In their daily activities, forensic scientists (in the field or in the laboratory) recurrently detect, collect, analyse and interpret the relics of criminal activities. Through traces, they reconstruct and explain what occurred in the past and detect patterns of repetitive crime activities. They are privileged observers through their ongoing confrontation to crime, and the consequent experience and expertise in interpreting forensic case data they have gained over time. It is therefore argued that, in addition to its traditional investigative and court functions, forensic science can help decipher crime mechanisms that can subsequently inform on disorders, deviant behaviours or more broadly on crime, and ways to deal with it. It can guide strategic, operational and tactical decisions to disrupt and prevent crimes. It can also provide new frameworks for studying crime or security issues through the integration of a broad variety of forensic data with other crime-related data.

Seen through this lens, forensic science appears to be closer to criminology and other social sciences interested in crime and security than traditional laboratories built upon natural sciences. For this reason, it invites research to become more collective and interdisciplinary to address contemporary security and criminological problems. This presentation will discuss opportunities and challenges related to such interdisciplinary approaches through recent examples. Ultimately, it is argued that, through this expansion, forensic science becomes more efficient and more effective in its service delivery as well as better suited to modern intelligence-led policing.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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