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Schaer Science: CSI

Have you ever watched your favorite crime show and wondered how the detectives can figure out so much so quickly? Well, there's a science behind solving a crime scene that takes a lot of patience and knowledge. In the first installment of what we're calling "Schaer Science," Jessica Schaer visits Crowder College's Upward Bound Program to learn what it takes to solve a crime.
NEOSHO, MO.--- When a crime takes place, science is one of the only things, besides witnesses, that can help figure out who was at the scene. Crowder College Criminal Justice Instructor Oren Barnes shows KSN's Jessica Schaer one of the best techniques to collect evidence. 

Investigators say fingerprinting is a proven method.

"Fingerprints are that one item that if they leave behind, we can say this print specifically belongs to this person," said Oren Barnes, Crowder College Criminal Justice Instructor.

Finding prints normally invisible to the human eye involves a special powder and brush. Another way to find fingerprints is using everyday house hold super glue, a special liquid called activator solution to heat it up, and some old fashioned chemistry. A chemical reaction by the liquid causes the super glue to heat up and turn into vapor inside a chamber. The glue then comes back down on the object in question, outlining any fingerprints. Scientists figured out this technique on accident.

Another thing investigators look for at a crime scene is shoe prints.

"Every new shoe is identical when it comes out of the factory pretty much. But after we wear it, we get what's called accidental characteristics, which is just wear patterns," said Barnes. 

Model stone plaster powder reacts with water to heat up and create a mold in only 20 minutes. 

"We'll put it in, we'll mix it with water, turn it into a kind of pancake batter consistency. It's gonna create it's own heat source and it's going to go basically from that liquid to a solid," he said. 

There are some difficulties that can slow the process down. 

"If this foot print was over this foot print, we're gonna have some contamination. You know, it's going to be messed up, and we may not be able to get anything from it," said Barnes.

So, next time you wonder how a crime gets solved, just remember you saw it all on Schaer Science. 

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