Climate Change Affects Crime Scene Investigations

flyAccording to a recent article by NBC.com, climate change is throwing a monkey wrench into the jobs of crime scene investigators in the midwest. While this may, at the surface, seem hard to believe, the story actually speaks to the very heart of the problem with climate change; the widespread affects.

How Can Climate Change Affect Law Enforcement?

A crime scene investigator earns their salary by investigating crime scenes. When an investigator arrives at the scene, one of the many ways they use to determine the age of the body is to college the flies found around the body and send those insects off to insect experts who analyze the age of the flies. Knowing how fast flies reproduce, and which flies only lay eggs on dead bodies, they can analyze the minimum amount of time the body has been dead.

Climate change is now playing havoc on this time-tested strategy. Due to climate change, new flies are migrating into different areas. These flies behave differently than previously known flies,a nd because of that, this method of testing isn’t as accurate or reliable. Additionally, the presence of one specific type of fly, i.e. the new fly species migrating north, can have a profound effect on the species of flies that are there.

Not only do researchers and investigators have to figure out this new fly, but they have to figure out what effect the new fly is having on the current fly population. Due to this, the fly-based method of identifying the time a corpse has been dead is going to be exponentially more difficult until the ecosystem, and climate change, slow down.

The Bigger Picture…

This specific issue only highlights a broader issue; climate change has wide-reaching effects. If the climate affects the fly population which in turn affects the way we analyze crime scenes, not even a crime scene investigators from one of the top criminal justice schools in the country can effectively do their job. This presents similar problems in many industries across a whole spectrum of careers.

The time spent to train, hone, and practice your skill is going to be multiplied greatly by the ever-changing world we live in; not just in crime scene investigation but in many other areas of life. Crime scene investigators earn their salary by identifying crime scenes. If this ability is reduced, hindered, or goes away completely, they will either earn less or become obsolete.

Climate change affects everyone. It’s time we start realizing that and getting more proactive in doing something about it!

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