5 Tips for Conducting a Basic Crime Scene Investigation
Crime Scenes are very delicate. You want to make sure you take the time to thoroughly inspect the area when investigated any crime scene in order to ensure all relevant evidence is appropriately collected and all clues are identified to help police, scientists, lawyers, and investigators work together to solve a crime. Here are 5 essential tips for conducting a basic crime scene investigation.
- First you will need to have a keen eye. Look for common items or materials that could hint towards what happened and who was involved in the situation at the scene of the crime. Look for evidence that can be collected such as blood samples, hairs, broken items, DNA materials, splatter, and more. Knowing what to look for can help you to filter through a space and zoom in on important evidence that the untrained eye may not recognize.
- Also be observant of the space itself. Pictures are usually taken by professionals to ensure these features of a crime scene are not tampered with or altered. Always make sure these photographs are time stamped and clear. Check the space thoroughly and ask yourself if doors or windows were left open or if anything else seems odd or out of the norm. Look for any blood spatter patterns that could help to identify how someone was injured. It is necessary that you are aware and make sure to document all features of the space that cannot be picked up and taken into a lab.
- Always be sure to investigate a crime scene as soon as possible. This is especially important in the case of outdoor crime scenes because these can be impacted by an array of outdoor factors such as rain or weather conditions, animals and more. The sooner you get on the scene, the more evidence you will have to work with and the less you will have to worry about elements being tampered with in your investigation providing you with a more accurate scene.
- Always make sure all professionals on the scene use gloves to handle evidence and samples. Bare hands can easily contaminate evidence, hiding or smudging important fingerprints and leaving the fingerprints of investigators on items from the crime scene, making analysis very complicated and frustrating for all involved. Shoe covers should be used for the same reason to ensure that new footprints are not introduced. Contamination of evidence could lead to it being dismissed from the case altogether, and could be the difference between convicting a guilty individual or allowing them to walk free due to a minor, avoidable error in evidence collection.
- All evidence should be collected properly in individual, separate bags. In addition, all evidence must be documented with a chain of custody. A chain of custody maintains a detailed, consistent record of where evidence was collected, transported, and who had custody of the evidence at any given time. This prevents anyone from tampering with evidence so that it can be admitted into court without question.
All of these tips can help professionals to conduct a basic crime scene investigation properly, thoroughly, and efficiently. It is also necessary for legal professionals to be aware of this process if they work at a firm such as Musca Law. A foundational knowledge of basic crime scene investigation regulations can help lawyers to protect their clients from being subject to evidence that is tampered with or contaminated for a fair trial.