by Stephen O
What comes to mind when you think of databases? You would normally think about a collection of your personal information that you may or may not have given out freely. Combine that with the crime solving and what comes to mind now? Shows like NCSI and CSI and its many spinoff should be first in your thoughts. Crime solving units around the world use databases on offenders to keep track of finger prints, blood type, and DNA. However has it ever crossed your mind…that your foot print could also end up in some national database? If you are like the rest of us this has not yet crossed your mind. The United Kingdom stores the imprints of thousands of shoe types and imprints from “suspects” left at crime scenes. The database was created by The Forensic Science Service and locates matches between shoe prints and crimes, much like DNA databases work here in America. While using footprints to solve crimes is not exactly new, a database allows Scotland yard to solve those tough to solve cases faster.
It is always very interesting to see a practical use for databases. When someone hears the term database some of us get this abstract idea of what a database is, and that it can be used for more than collecting simple and mundane information. Databases play an active role in our society, and can be used for so many applications. I thought this article was really interesting because it talked about how the United Kingdom is using a database for something some of us would never think to use a database for. That mindset will help us understand databases further as we break the traditional mold of we think databases can do.
James, R. (2007, January 29). Footprint database to help fight crime. Retrieved September 25, 2011, from The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/jan/30/crime.penal
Jo, B. (2007, January 30). U.K. cops to roll out footprint database. Retrieved September 25, 2011, from Cnet: http://news.cnet.com/U.K.-cops-to-roll-out-footprint-database/2100-7348_3-6154600.html?tag=lia;rcol