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Science and Crime: Marks and Impressions

This guide examines how science contributed to the conviction (and release) of criminals from the justice system

Forensic Magazine

Click the image above to view current developments and research in forensic science in this online magazine.



Obtaining Impression marks

Marks and Impressions

What is Impression Evidence?

Describes the types of impression evidence and provides examples of the different kinds.

Information from Forensic Science Central

Tools are often used by criminals to force entry to premises and can leave behind evidence for the forensic scientist to find. Scottish Police Forensic Services

How impression evidence works
Footprints, Tire Tread and Tool Marks. From

From Purdue University Forensic Science Department.
Toolmarks are an impression left by an object, scrape marks, shearing marks, etc.

Tool Mark Impressions

2010 Article from Forensic Magazine


This lesson from the National Museum of Crime & Punishment provides photos and analysis of shoe impressions and bitemarks used in crime scene analysis.  A discussion of castings is also included.

Firearms, Toolmarks and Other Impressions

PowerPoint Presentation

Impression and Pattern Evidence
From the National Institute of Justice

Latent Prints: Footwear and Tires 
Just as in fingerprints, the minute details in each and every tire and article of footwear can be used to identify an unknown crime scene impression to a known article of footwear or a tire.

Footwear Forensics: New Techniques to Analzye Footwear Treads

A new computer algorithm can analyze the footwear marks left at a crime scene according to clusters of footwear types, makes and tread patterns even if the imprint recorded by crime scene investigators is distorted or only a partial print.