TV's ever popular CSI features crime scene investigators who turn up in Hummers and immaculate suits and manage to unbelievably solve a case in less than 60 minutes. Including ad breaks.
Many viewers are aware of the unrealistic nature of crime shows such as CSI, and the often tedious and uncertain nature of the job in real life.
However, new research has found a tool that rivals even the pristine CCTV footage detectives always manage to get their hands on.
Distinguishing fingerprints at a crime scene
Scientists have now discovered a way to date fingerprints. Determining how old different sets are at a crime scene helps investigators understand which ones are pertinent to the felony.
The American Chemical Society's journal, Analytical Chemistry, published the research on August 18 2015.
Scientists were able to determine the age of a fingerprint by studying the molecules and discovering that palmitic acid moves away from the ridges in our fingerprints at an expected rate.
They used this to estimate the age, with their initial findings applicable to prints up to four days old, with hopes of pushing this to ten days in the future.
With the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that there were 9,886 victims of burglary recorded by police in 2014, this information could prove useful to law enforcement forces in the future.
Ruling out suspects as early as possible gives detectives the ability to better determine who committed the felony. Fingerprints have aided many investigations, but scientists have yet to discover a way to accurately date them until now.
Unfortunately, this science is not currently within Australia, and robbery can be detrimental to a business. Preventing its occurrence is key concern for many business owners.
Nevertheless, there is existing technology that can assist in the identification of thieves.
Video alarm systems
Modern technology such as video-alarms are increasingly becoming more sophisticated. The latest models not only capture the footage at the time but send it to a remote monitoring centre.
This allows trained professionals to determine whether it is a crime in progress or simply a false alarm, and take appropriate action.