The Rutgers Crime Lab Unit
Detecting and preventing crime through an innovative new approach
The Rutgers University Crime Lab Unit, a multi-agency forensic lab, will provide shared, streamlined services with Camden County and other New Jersey stakeholders—a one-stop shop for the region’s crime investigation needs. Our goal is to provide real-time testing in the areas of fingerprinting, firearms identification, forensic toxicology and chemistry, trace evidence, DNA identification, and forensic anthropology.
Not only will the Crime Lab Unit present an opportunity to practically serve the citizens of New Jersey, but it will also leverage external collaborations to fuel research, public policy, and opportunities for students to learn in a real-world environment.
The physical and visible presence of the Rutgers University Crime Lab Unit building will be reassuring to residents and visitors, demonstrating that crime is being solved in Camden promptly. For prospective perpetrators of crimes, the unit will act as a deterrent. Studies have shown that the fear of getting caught is the most effective crime prevention tool.
The Rutgers University Crime Lab Unit, based at Rutgers University–Camden, will use the latest in forensic science technology to help solve crimes throughout New Jersey and to reduce the backlog of unresolved cases. The Crime Lab Unit will provide a one-stop shop of services through a series of public and private partnerships across various disciplines and agencies.
Forensic science, by its nature, is a collaborative field. Detectives, crime scene personnel, laboratory analysts, and attorneys must work together to solve crimes. Currently, communication between groups is fractured and effectiveness is regularly compromised. The Crime Lab Unit can establish a new model that includes harnessing novel technologies, proven approaches, and the opportunity to interweave research and education, making New Jersey a national leader in forensic science and criminal justice. By incorporating researchers with multiple public agencies and the private sector, the Crime Lab Unit has the potential to impact areas beyond forensic science, informing public policy, social justice, and public health.
The Crime Lab Unit will be both a network and a physical space that brings law enforcement, local government, state agencies, crime scene and forensic testing services, and other related organizations together under one roof to address the public safety needs of the region while also serving the state as a whole. Only a handful of universities across the nation have facilities such as the one proposed, and those that do are limited in their scope, services, and approach.
The Crime Lab Unit aims to extend beyond a basic law enforcement partnership to realize a mission that incorporates a wide range of stakeholders and a commitment to serving the citizens of New Jersey. The facility will engage the public through its design and amenities and will serve Rutgers–Camden students through instructional spaces and internships in forensic science, nursing, law, criminal justice, social work, public administration, psychology, and more. The facility will serve the community by providing space for social service groups and Rutgers Law School clinics.
Finally, it will serve as the headquarters for a state-of-the-art crime scene unit, forensic science lab, and medical examiner’s office. The lab will provide forensic testing services to both prosecutors and defense attorneys, and data generated by the lab will be used to help develop better crime prevention and detection strategies. The ultimate goal is to harness the capabilities of forensic science in the service of justice and public safety for the citizens of Camden County and New Jersey at large.
Big Ideas are driven by faculty, staff, and researchers across disciplines, divisions, and locations. Project champions represent the robust, expansive, and highly collaborative project teams whose work will bring these ideas to life.
Kimberlee S. Moran
Associate Teaching Professor of Forensics, Rutgers–Camden
Moran has been a forensic consultant and educator since 2002, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. Moran’s specialties include site excavation and evidence recovery; the recovery of human remains; fingerprint analysis; expert testimony and forensic science standards; law enforcement training in forensic techniques; the development of educational materials; consultancy for trial preparation; project management; and public outreach. Before coming to Rutgers, she was the assistant program director of forensic science at Arcadia University and the director of the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education. She also managed the Institute for Human Rights, the Centre for Law and Ethics, and the Centre for International Courts and Tribunals at University College London. She helped form and launch the JDI Centre for the Forensic Sciences, also at University College London.