Bevel & Gardner have been investigating the strengths, weaknesses and benefits of bloodstain pattern analysis for over two decades now. In 1990, they published a book – Bloodstain Pattern Analysis: Theory and Practice – A Laboratory Manual (Bevel & Gardner, 1990) – in which they illustrated how this method can assist investigators in finding out what happened by reconstructing the circumstances under which a certain event occurred.
The authors observed that while blood pattern analysis has been criticized on various occasions, nothing will ever change the fact that bloodstains have been used to solve crimes for a very long time, to the extent that experts used similar techniques even before modern forensics emerged (Bevel & Gardner, 2008, pp. 13-14). To be more precise, there exists a wealth of evidence that supports the historical acceptance and widespread use of bloodstain patterns; what makes bloodstain pattern analysis reliable is the fact that besides being over 150 years old, this discipline boasts a consistent history (Bevel & Gardner, 2008, pp. 13-14).
Unfortunately, bloodstain pattern analysis cannot always tell investigators who was involved a crime due to certain limitations. However, when one is familiar with other forensic disciplines and is willing to use bloodstain pattern analysis as a tool to define the “situation” of the crime, chances are they will be able to collect valuable information (Bevel & Gardner, 2008, pp. 13-14).
In 1990, Bevel & Gardiner (1990) made it clear that in order for this method to enable investigators to reach reliable conclusions about past events, it is crucial that bloodstain pattern analysis should be performed in a way that is “proper”. In other words, Bevel & Gardiner (1990; 2007) believe that criminalists should be objective and extremely careful when analyzing bloodstain patterns, as subjective opinions are highly likely to compromise the validity of their results.
Since the reliability of bloodstain pattern analysis is often challenged by the American judicial system, investigators should do their best to present this discipline as a quality, objective analytical tool that can truly assist practitioners in reconstructing events so as to solve crimes. Without objectivity, bloodstain pattern analysis would stop serving its original purpose.
- Bevel, T. & Gardner, R.M. (1990). Bloodstain Pattern Analysis: Theory and Practice – A Laboratory Manual. Oklahoma City, OK: TBI Inc.
- Bevel, T. & Gardner, R.M. (2008). Bloodstain Pattern Analysis with an Introduction to Crime Scene Reconstruction, Third Edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.