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AAFS Awards CSAFE Graduate Student “Best Poster” at Young Forensic Scientists Forum

CSAFE graduate student Amy Crawford was one of two winners for “Best Poster” at the Young Forensic Scientists Forum at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Annual Scientific Meeting in February 2018. The award was sponsored by the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education at the Fredric Rieders Family Foundation.

“A particularly difficult problem facing the field of forensic document examination is whether handwriting found on two different documents originated from the same person,” Crawford said.

Her poster, “Statistical Analysis of Letter Importance for Document Examination” addresses this issue with an emphasis on the use of data and statistical methodologies to improve the comparison of handwritten documents in criminal investigations.

“In this research we take an intuitive approach and focus on data derived from the important pieces of the writing that examiners focus on – letters,” Crawford said. “Handwriting is a very complex set of information, so focusing on meaningful bits of it at a time lends nicely to an algorithmic approach to writer identification.”

Crawford and CSAFE Director Dr. Alicia Carriquiry used both visual tools and a machine learning approach to conduct an analysis of letter importance, followed by comparison to procedures used by a forensic document examiner from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Laboratory. View Crawford’s poster.  More information about CSAFE involvement in the AAFS conference can be found in a February news story.

Learn more about how CSAFE pattern evidence research is using statistical foundations to increase the validity of evidence analysis procedures and contributing to more-informed and more-accurate conclusions.