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Properly preserved impression evidence can provide a positive match to the SHOES worn by the perpetrator, the TIRES on the getaway vehicle and the TOOLS that may have been used in the commission of the crime.

Often thought of as a form of evidence nearly as valuable as fingerprints, impression evidence must receive priority handling. Impression evidence may exist in the form of footprints or tire tracks, tool marks and even bite marks.

The obvious place to look for tire and footprint impressions is in the soil at or near the crime scene.

Tool marks are found at the point of entry (or attempted points of entry) and bite marks are found on the victim. But all too often, invisible or very difficult to see impressions are also present. This might include dust prints or the impressions made from wet shoes on dry floors.

A visual search is made prior to any attempts to locate and collect other forms of physical evidence. When outdoors, protect the area by erecting barriers and posting sentries. If tire and footprint evidence is located and the weather is threatening, it may be necessary to erect a tent or similar shelter in order to protect the evidence.

Many crime scene investigators view impression evidence as second only to fingerprints when considering the relative value of physical evidence.

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