Methods of Crime Scene Investigation
Crime scene investigation
Crime scene investigation
is categorized as science, precisely forensic science. Therefore, it follows methodical steps similar to any scientific research in order to arrive at a conclusion, which in this case is being able to identify the person responsible for the crime. Here are the basic steps in processing a crime scene.
Securing the Scene
The ability to preserve the crime scene in its natural state is one of the most important steps toward solving a crime. However, it is easier said than done. Curious onlookers could easily gather around while others will attempt to transfer the victim’s body out of the site. However, you must not try to alter the crime scene as it can help provide valuable clues in piecing together evidence. Upon arriving, ask any other officers or crime investigators who arrived before you if any changes where made on the crime scene. It could be as tiny as opening windows or doors or moving the body from its original position since it could remove potentially important evidence to the crime.
Any crime scene investigator realizes that a crime scene is three-dimensional. Hence, you need to ensure that not only one aspect of the crime is preserved but also all areas are covered. This will allow you to take on different approaches to crime investigation later on when you reach the stage where you have to interpret the evidence. If any changes were made to the crime scene, then the evidence you have gathered loses its authenticity.
Examining the Scene
Processing crime scene is a tedious process, but this is your first big step towards the end since this is practically the step wherein you gather information and evidence you will use for analysis later on. Proper documentation of the scene involves gathering evidence, taking pictures of it, and extending your search for evidence you might have possibly missed.
Your first basic step before going about scouring the scene for evidence is to create a sketch. If there are any physical features of importance to the crime, include them in the sketch. This will help assess the geographical location of the crime and other physical factors that could come into play.
Then, move on to the physical appearance of the victim’s body. Create detailed notes of every bit of information you gather. What type of clothing is he or she wearing? What condition is it on? Are there any bruises or wounds on the body? This could all indicate whether any struggle went on before the victim was killed at the scene.
Interviews and Testimonies
Onlookers can prove to be an annoyance to the ongoing crime scene investigation. However, you can look around for possible testimonies that would help provide more clues to the crime. For instance, if anyone could possibly have spotted the criminal before escaping from the crime scene. If there are any, then you could ask them for physical descriptions of the criminal. It is best to approach such testimonies with skepticism but still consider them as potentially helpful factor in crime solution.
Taking photographs of the crime scene should begin the very minute you arrive. This will enable you to document every step of your crime scene investigation. This will also help ensure that you gather photograph of the crime scene despite if physical alterations were made on the crime scene. All entry points toward the crime scene must also be photographed. Focusing on entry points provide investigators an idea on how one can have access to the crime scene, which is essential in the investigation proper. Again, items of evidential value must be photographed as well. This will help you validate the detailed notes you have gathered upon arriving at the crime scene.
Analyzing and Interpreting Evidence
This is the last but most difficult step in crime scene investigation. It will gather together evidence, whether physical or photographic, and investigators will place them side by side with all the testimonies you have gathered along with any observation you have made while examining the crime scene. Some evidence might be required for examination in the laboratory to get more in-depth analysis of the evidences, such as prints that will point to the identity of the criminal.