Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Forensic and Investigative Science

Committee Chair

Keith Morris

Committee Co-Chair

Alan McKendall

Committee Member

Alan McKendall

Committee Member

Robert O'Brien


Physical evidence plays a large role in the criminal justice system and in crime scene reconstruction. The purpose of evidence is to assist in connecting a person or persons to an incidence, which helps crime scene investigators in reconstructing the events that occurred at the crime scene. This concept is mainly based off Locard's Exchange Principle, which states that there is always an association between an offender and evidence. However, without patent evidence to lead the investigators to a possible route at the scene, determining the movements taken during the commission at a scene is needed.

Engineers have used simulations to predict the events that could occur during different states of emergencies. Investigators can use similar technology at a micro-scale to predict paths in an enclosed area with limited entrances and exits. Predicting the path most likely taken by an offender would increase the probability of locating evidence in a case where minimal evidence may be visible. The use of a simulation software, such as Pedestrian Dynamics(R) could be a useful method to incorporate into crime scene reconstruction protocols to increase the likelihood of locating the evidence.

The aim of this thesis is to assist crime scene investigators to identify optimal areas to collect different types of evidence given a predicted path. Pedestrian Dynamics(R) simulation software was used to predict the paths of 15 participants moving through four different simulated burglary scenes. A comparison of observed and predicted pathways revealed that the simulations well modeled the direct path through the room in which the crime occurred; however, searching tasks, which often occur during the commission of these crimes were less well represented.

Embargo Reason

Publication Pending