also, now i have a new skype avatar: http://imgur.com/Sri8ZwH
I wanted to draw that last panel :(
So modern hopefully-scientific criminal investigation started in the USA?
Nope! It was a French ex-con named Eugene Francois Vidocq who really pushed the utilisation of the analysis of data when it comes to criminology, including ballistics,criminal profiling via psychology, chemical analysis, and physics. Apparently, he was even better than the fictional Sherlock Holmes if French police records from his era are to be believed. He and a bunch of his his ex-con buddies were catching over 800 criminals a year by 1817. Oh, and he didn’t just use ballistics, he used ballistic science 10 years before it was even invented.
Vidocq was pretty amazing apparently, he was even the basis for both, Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, in Les Miserables.