Crime stories are often absolutely fascinating, and they’re typically even better on the silver screen. Solving crimes is all about getting straight down to the bare facts of the situation, and it’s much the same philosophy that’s applied when it comes to infographics. Let’s take a look at some of the top criminology movie ideas that don’t get it quite right, as well as of those that do.
Just about every crime scene depicted in the movies involves some kind of fingerprint analysis. However, only 25% of cases involve the retrieval of fingerprints. What’s more, even computer programs can’t match prints in a completely accurate way, so you ought to take these scenes with a pinch of salt.
DNA testing is a big part of the conviction process in the movies as well as in real life. In countries where the death penalty is disputed, the incredibly high accuracy of such testing is used as an argument for the exoneration of prisoners on death row. In fact, in the USA alone, more than 200 wrongly convicted people were released from prison thanks to DNA evidence.
Movies always fast-track the investigation process, and you’ll often see analysis that takes days or weeks taking mere moments. Obviously, this is done to save time and to continue with the story, but some films make the whole process look instantaneous when it is anything but.
One of the most popular criminology movie tropes is that of the disturbed serial killer and the criminology professor. However, as few as 1% of homicides are related to the activity of a repeat offender like a serial killer. Even so, movies like Zodiac are commonly based on real events and then embellished for cinematic effect.
Criminology movies typically end with a full resolution of the case in question, or sometimes they finish off with an ambiguous cliffhanger to leave open the possibility of a sequel. In actual fact, real-life cases are more likely to go unsolved, with as many as 40% of cases remaining open despite the best efforts of everyone involved in the investigation.