Dependence among randomly acquired characteristics on shoeprints and their features

Micha Mandel, Sarena Wiesner, Yoram Yekutieli, Yaron Shor, Clifford Spiegelman, Naomi Kaplan-Damary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Randomly acquired characteristics (RACs), also known as accidental marks, are random markings on a shoe sole, such as scratches or holes, that are used by forensic experts to compare a suspect's shoe with a print found at the crime scene. This article investigates the relationships among three features of a RAC: its location, shape type and orientation. If these features, as well as the RACs, are independent of each other, a simple probabilistic calculation could be used to evaluate the rarity of a RAC and hence the evidential value of the shoe and print comparison, whereas a correlation among the features would complicate the analysis. Using a data set of about 380 shoes, it is found that RACs and their features are not independent, and moreover, are not independent of the shoe sole pattern. It is argued that some of the dependencies found are caused by the elements of the sole. The results have important implications for the way forensic experts should evaluate the degree of rarity of a combination of RACs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)173-179
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 519/14 ).

Funding Information:
This material was based upon work partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DMS-1127914 to the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Accidentals
  • Footwear comparison
  • Frequency tables
  • Independence test
  • Randomly acquired characteristics
  • Shoe pattern
  • Shoeprints


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