(PhD Student, Université de Lausanne & Crime Analyst, Swiss Police || Switzerland)
“There is no universal consensus as to what forensic science represents. It’s interpreted as a science that serves justice, but also as the study of trace evidence. I specialize in digital trace evidence, in a subfield called traceology and crime analysis — essentially data science in a legal action framework. My PhD thesis focuses on the spatio-temporal analysis of digital data in investigations. If you’ve identified victims and suspects and are able to access their mobile data through a carrier or directly from their devices, you can use it to reconstruct their trajectories and detect hubs of suspicious activity. I’m working on developing the tools to formalize this process. It’s more than just dropping pins on a map — there’s a lot of scientific evidence that comes into play.
In parallel with my PhD, I’m a mandatary crime analyst within the Swiss Police. I develop tools that provide scientific support to police investigations. We recently worked on a homicide case where we reconstructed the course of the victim during the incident and compared it to criminal activity to assess if it was plausible for our suspect to have committed the crime. This requires factoring in many elements, like the last phone call registered on the victim’s phone — if they picked it up, we have more insight on where and when they were last alive.
Being in this field requires good communication skills. On a daily basis, I communicate information to people from so many different backgrounds, from academics to police officers. This means I need to have a grasp of all the different levels of understanding law enforcers might have. Police are used to the practical ways they implement things, and prosecutors try to find faults in your evidence when it doesn’t belong to the party they’re defending in court. Still, science has some sort of authority that bridges the different parties involved. I love teaching — my main career goal is to become a professor, and I would like to advance forensic science as a field which aims to provide the scientific basis that grounds and regulates police work.”