Forensic Gait Analysis and Forensic Gait Comparison
Criminal gait comparison or forensic gait analysis (as it is commonly called) involves evaluation of the distinct features gait (or the manner in which a suspect or person walks) and comparing those gait features to those of a criminal walking (often captured on surveillance video footage or CCTV).
As a forensic podiatrist, Dr. Nirenberg is one of a few forensic gait experts in the United States (USA) who has expertise linking (and unlinking) criminals captured on video walking or running to that of suspects by comparing distinct features of their gait (how they walk or run).
Understanding Forensic Gait Analysis
Forensic gait analysis or forensic gait comparison falls into the field of forensic podiatry and biomechanics. Gait refers broadly to how people or animals move and typically gait in forensic cases it refers to the distinct features of how a criminal walks or run (often during a criminal act or criminal activity).
Generally, forensic gait analysis or comparison is performed to assist with the identification of a criminal who can be seen walking or running (on surveillance video footage or CCTV) while performing a criminal act, such as a robbery, assault, murder, rape and so on. There may also be civil cases where the way the person in question walks may be relevant to the judge or jury.
Forensic gait analysis is an often overlooked piece of video evidence in America, though it has been used in over 100 cases in the United Kingdom. In addition to helping to identify a criminal caught on video (CCTV), forensic gait analysis may show the same individual was involved in two or more criminal acts in different locations and/or at different times. Linking (or unlinking) an unknown perpetrator caught on video (CCTV) to more then one criminal act may be useful in helping to solve the crimes.
Analysis of Criminal Walking (Forensic Gait Analysis) at Crime Scenes
Today in America the use of video cameras for surveillance (CCTV video) of businesses and personal property is widespread and as a result criminals may be seen on video footage walking or running while in the act of performing a crime or while walking to or from the scene of the crime.
To utilize forensic gait analysis or gait comparison, a suspect is necessary for comparison. Investigators should be aware that the criminal captured on surveillance video (CCTV) may have visited the crime scene earlier in the day or in the days prior to the criminal act and this earlier video footage may reveal a person of interest. Should a person of interest be identified in the earlier video footage, the gait of the person of interest and the criminal can be compared/analyzed.
Should investigators make an arrest based in part on how the criminal and suspect walk, an expert analysis of the suspect’s walk may be beneficial in helping the jury reach a conclusion that the criminal in the surveillance video and suspect walk with similar gait features (if this is the case). Defendant attorneys may wish to have the manner of walking of their client analyzed by an expert in cases where they believe their client’s gait differs from that of the criminal in question.
Dr. Nirenberg’s Forensic Podiatry and Forensic Gait Expertise
As a forensic podiatrist, Dr. Nirenberg has used his expertise to link footprints and footwear to suspects and testified in court in these situations in the United States. His expert forensic podiatry testimony in U.S. courts has helped convict criminals, and he has assisted American investigators in analyzing distinctive features of suspects and criminals manner of walking.
Additional information about forensic gait comparison and analysis can be found in Police Chief Magazine –
Dr. Nirenberg is active on the board of the American Society of Forensic Podiatry and International Association for Identification’s Forensic Podiatry Subcommittee. His forensic articles have been published in Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine; Journal of Forensic Sciences; Journal of American Podiatric Medical Assocation; and the Journal of Forensic Identification. To learn more about him click here.
Brief History of the Use of Gait in United States Courts
In the United States the way or manner that a person walks has been the subject of courtroom testimony since the early 1900s. Today, experts in the U.S. and elsewhere utilize a step-wise approach to analyzing how a criminal walks (forensic gait analysis) and then perform the same approach to the suspect’s manner of walking.
The initial act in the process is for forensic experts to evaluate the video footage with the criminal and suspect walking and make a determination if the surveillance video is adequate to perform forensic gait analysis.
Forensic gait analysis and comparison of the way a criminal walks (or runs) on video (CCTV) may be used to help rule in or rule out suspects, and investigators in the United States (or elsewhere) should feel free to request Dr. Nirenberg’s expert advice on how to best obtain surveillance video of suspects in criminal matters (ideally, prior to making an arrest).
Use Dr. Nirenberg’s Expertise for Forensic Gait Analysis or Comparison
Dr. Nirenberg recognizes that forensic gait analysis is simply one tool in the analysis of the evidence in a case and as such, he will work on analyzing the gait evidence alone or in conjunction with your team — Dr. Nirenberg is here to help you and your team puzzle out your case. He welcomes working with other forensic experts including forensic video analysts, other forensic video specialists, forensic photography experts and other gait experts.
If you have a civil or criminal case in the USA (or elsewhere) in which the way the person in question walks – their gait – may be relevant, feel free to call or e-mail Dr. Nirenberg to discuss how forensic gait analysis or comparison may assist your case. Dr. Nirenberg can be reached at (219)663-2273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.