PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – You may not know it, but this is Forensic Science Week.

In honor of the occasion, the leader of Pittsburgh’s mobile crime unit gave a tour of their North Side facility.

Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Michael DelCimmuto says the process begins when a mobile crime vehicle collects evidence at the scene.

“The crime unit responds to all major crimes,” said DelCimmuto. “Homicides, burglaries, sex assault, or any call for assistance.”

CSI solves all of its crimes in one hour. In reality, it could take weeks, months or even years.

But in the meantime:

“Stuff that needs processed in our fingerprint lab, stuff that’s ready to go on the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s lab,” DelCimmuto said.

Pittsburgh Police processed 1,300 fingerprints last year. Dusting is one way to do it. But they have other methods too, like the fuming chamber.

“For our firearms or any large, bulky type of items we might bring in,” said Det. Yolanda Roberts.
Steam circulates in the heated chamber, revealing the fingerprints.

“We have four different whirl patterns,” DelCimmuto said.

There are only eight basic fingerprint patterns. Yet no two are exactly alike. And there’s a failsafe method for making sure a gun isn’t loaded.

“We’ll unload it as we think it’s unloaded,” said DelCimmuto. “Then we’ll put it in this chamber and we’ll pull the trigger and hope it doesn’t go ka-bang. But on time it did.”

The computer crime lab is upstairs.

“When you hit the delete button on your computer, you’re really not deleting that piece of data,” DelCimmuto said.

One of the many reasons crime doesn’t pay.

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