Shows like CSI and NCIS might be great to watch, but according to New Scientist magazine, they’re making the jobs of real-life investigators’ a whole lot harder. Guy Ruddy, from the Forensic Pathology Unit at the University of Leicester in the U.K., says criminals are becoming more aware of methods investigators use to track them down. So, they’re getting cautious - using plastic gloves during break-ins, and even dumping cigarette butts from public ashtrays into stolen cars before they abandon them. This way, police have 20 potential suspects in the car. Of course, none of this makes a forensic scientist’s job any easier. However, it’s not all bleak.
Experts say no matter what precautions a criminal takes – they’ll probably get caught. It’s extremely difficult NOT to contaminate a crime scene, even by wearing protective clothing. In one experiment, Ruddy had a volunteer walk around a sterile room – without touching anything, and repeating a phrase. The man was only in the room for a few minutes, but Ruddy was still able to retrieve his DNA – even though he wore the same kind of face mask that crime scene investigators wear themselves. He doubts that even a forensic scientist could get away with murder, because of the advanced techniques available. A savvy criminal might set investigators on a false trail initially, but that’s they best they can hope for. He says if someone wants commit the perfect murder, there’s one thing he should ask himself – “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Because it’s virtually impossible to do.