That would never work now a days because his car would have been searched and certainly some type of forensic evidence would have been discovered.
There's a lot that wouldn't work today:
- DNA evidence
- Fiber and hair evidence
- Cell phone tower pings to verify alibi (For perps who don't turn their cellphone off).
- Tracing ability of every phone call, not just long-distance
- Other Improved forensics
- Columbo can't smoke in most of the places that he does on the show!
While "the lab boys" do identify a lot of evidence, most of the Columbo forensics is finger-prints. A few tire tracks and footprints, but not much else. Most of it is Columbo-derived circumstantial evidence.
I know nothing about forensics, but I know what you mean by that. Often someone commenting on some earlier story will say "That wouldn't happen NOW." But in a lot of cases, the same thing probably also wouldn't happen THEN. Or at least it wouldn't be that common.