• Journal Article

Stochastics – The real science behind forensic pattern identification


Collins, J. (2009). Stochastics – The real science behind forensic pattern identification. Crime Lab Report, Nov, 1-6.


It is the science in which all of forensic science will grow newer and deeper roots.

It is a mathematical foundation for common forensic testing methods that never before could be quantified in understandable terms.

It provides, without a doubt, a statistical and philosophical framework that can drive revolutionary research in all of the forensic sciences, including DNA.

It is called Stochastics – the science of randomness. Many forensic scientists have never heard of it. But it waits with open arms to welcome a profession that is in desperate need of a home.

For over a century, many of the classical forensic disciplines such as latent prints, toolmarks, and footwear impressions have struggled to overcome a debilitating identity crisis. Practitioners in these disciplines rightly insist that their work is rooted in good science. But when scrutinized by persistent inquisitors who expect conclusions of uniqueness to be accompanied by a quantitative assessment, many forensic scientists are left to simply present their “training and experience” as the ultimate foundation upon which their conclusions rest.