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Forensic Engineering Applications in Crime Scene Reconstruction

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael A. Knox

Knox & Associates, LLC, Jacksonville, FL

Paper No. IMECE2010-38659, pp. 413-419; 7 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 11: New Developments in Simulation Methods and Software for Engineering Applications; Safety Engineering, Risk Analysis and Reliability Methods; Transportation Systems
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4448-9
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Forensic engineers have traditionally engaged in the analysis of such events as traffic accidents, fires, industrial accidents, structural failures and product liability claims. The application of engineering science and design principles to these types of cases has been well established and has proven valuable to the legal and professional communities. Despite this extensive background in forensic issues, engineers have been reluctant to apply their training and education to the reconstruction of criminal events. Anecdotal experience shows that the common response by engineers to the field of crime scene reconstruction is: “We don’t do that”. Indeed, Internet research reveals very few cases in which forensic engineers have delved into the reconstruction of shooting incidents, and virtually no cases in which engineers have engaged in that analysis of homicidal beatings, bloodstain patterns or other such criminal events. This paper will explore the role of the forensic engineer in the field of crime scene reconstruction both as practitioner and researcher and will show that there is a growing role for engineers to play in the reconstruction of criminal events. Example cases will be explored, and the application of engineering science to those cases will be demonstrated. This paper will also look at ways for forensic engineers to bridge the experience gap that has perhaps been at the center of their reluctance to become involved in crime scene reconstruction.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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