A common person thinks of paint as a decorative material that decorates any substance such as doors, automobiles, walls, etc. However, for a forensic scientist, paint analysis acts as a vital piece of evidence used to investigate a crime. Just like fibres, hairs, and glass, paint is also deliberated as trace evidence. In the upcoming sections of this article, we will study the Forensic significance of paint analysis.
Paint as trace evidence is generally transferred from the accused to the crime scene or victim’s body. Such evidence is relevant in hit-and-run cases, burglaries, assaults, etc. The primary purpose of the paint chips analysis is to link the crime scene with the possible suspects. The analysis of paint chips can also inform us of the paint type. The forensic investigators look for it to give information about the paint composition, such as pigments, binders, vehicles, resin, additive, modifiers, etc.
Along with the study of the forensic significance of paint analysis, we will also look at the collection of paint as evidence from the crime scene so that its analysis does not give an identification result.
Collection of Paint Evidence
Before you proceed with collecting and preserving paint evidence, it is essential to secure the scene of a crime. Firstly, photograph the paint evidence in its original position as found in a crime scene without disturbing them. Else the evidence will get contaminated. After completing the process of photography, you can proceed with the process of collection. Scrape or peel the paint from the surface of an object where it is found. Use tweezers to collect it.
Before it goes under examination, preserve the paint evidence carefully to prevent any alterations during its transportation from the crime scene to the forensic laboratory. Keep the samples of different areas in different containers. Paint evidence found on clothes should be collected in paper rather than scraping it off.
When the sample reaches the lab, the forensic scientist starts the process of examination to find out the necessary details such as paint edges, layers, etc.
Forensic Significance of Paint Samples
Paint is a liquefiable mixture of organic and inorganic constituents such as pigments, resins, solvents, additives, fillers and converts into a solid film after used on a substrate and forms a solid and good finish protective layer. There are different types of paint available. Paints are usually used to protect the surface from pests, ultraviolet rays from the sun, rain, etc. It helps to keep the objects safe and clean. Paints increase the surface visual appeal, make it waterproof, and increase durability.
The examination of paint samples obtained from a crime scene creates a link between place, person, and objects. The examination includes the comparison between the test and control samples of paints as well. It will be helpful in the following cases:
- Hit & Run cases: We can find the paint evidence on the victim’s clothes and the suspect’s car.
- Burglary: Paint can be seen on the door and the suspect car from the crowbar.
- Assault: Weapon used on the suspect/victim or any other object found on the crime scene.
The forensic significance of paint analysis includes the examination of paint evidence that gives the necessary information required by the forensic investigator to lead the investigation in the right direction, narrowing the list of suspects by positive identification of the comparison between the test and control sample.