Special Report: Virtual Crime fighting - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Virtual Crime fighting

GBI Special Agent Brian Smith GBI Special Agent Brian Smith

Sherlock Holmes just had his magnifying glass. Modern crime scene investigators have tools that detectives could only dream of just a few years ago.

Now they have a camera that takes 360 degree pictures, so GBI agents can record a crime scene in every direction.

An advanced two camera optic system powered by a computer uses lasers to record and measure every object at the crime scene.

GBI Special Agent Brian Smith said the machine will, "Automatically memorialize the crime scene for future purposes."

Crime scene specialists set up the digital scanner and its cameras record and measure the entire crime scene 360 degrees, horizontally and vertically, from every angle. 

"One of the particular views is right here. So now we are above the ceiling looking down. That kind of gives the idea that we can go anywhere in the crime scene from anywhere in the crime scene, using the digital scanner," Smith said.

Such a total recall can be vital, when more facts are gathered days later. "There may be something so seemingly insignificant at a crime scene at the time that eventually winds up being the biggest part of the case down the road," Smith said.

This scanner lets investigators like Smith record entire crime scenes, and be able to take second looks and check the most minor evidence to the millimeter.  "What I did was I started scanning over the outside of the house and then progressively moved my way into and through the house. So that you could jump from station to station to basically walk from outside the house in through the house."

With these scans juries will be able to digitally visit crime scenes like never before, without ever having to leave the courthouse. Technology making sure that justice is served in crime investigation, and that technology seems to be getting better every day.

Smith said, "What I can do 10 or 15 years ago, processing a crime scene, has just increased exponentially since then, and it's continuing to increase every day."

The GBI's 360 digital scanner, providing a point cloud rendering of crime scenes that even Sherlock Holmes would find helpful. This digital scanner costs about $200,000 each, and the GBI has seven of them spread in offices across the state.


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