We all watch crime TV shows - they’re riveting, mysterious, and thrilling. Who doesn’t like to see a horrendous crime solved by a team of forensic experts using clues from a crime scene? If you’re like me, however, you often wonder if real-life forensics can be compared to the CSI we see on TV and in movies. Turns out, they’re actually quite different. Let’s look at a few differences:
CSI vs CSA
“Crime Scene Investigations,” or CSI is the term for the forensics team on television. In real life, it is “Crime Scene Analyst,” or CSA.
Length of Time
In the movies and TV, it takes a matter of days or even hours to solve a murder or crime. This is simply not true. In fact, most cases take a long time to solve. Sometimes, it can take years or even decades. This doesn’t mean that the job isn’t as important as TV counterparts - crime scene analysts are an essential part of the crime solving process.
Often in TV shows, the CSI team is also involved in the interrogation of suspects. Real CS analysts are not allowed to conduct interviews - this is left to the police.
Gadgets and High-Tech Gear
In movies and on our favorite TV shows, the CSI unit has access to extremely high technology equipment. This isn’t always the case for CS analysts. In reality, local crime labs don’t have the budget for such expensive equipment.
The CSI Effect
Because so many people watch crime shows, it has created an interesting problem in the courtroom. This is called the “CSI Effect.” This occurs when people in the jury think the prosecution and defense will present DNA or fingerprint evidence on everything. They often expect this kind of information, even when it has no bearing on the case. Not every case involves fingerprint or DNA evidence - unlike TV show crimes.