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Crime Scene Investigation: How the Crime Scene Should be Handled

Crime Scene Investigation

Abstract

If a homicide, murder, or suicide occurs, crime scene investigators collect all pieces of evidence and clues that will be analyzed by forensic scientists leading to the actual suspect. Crime Scene investigation is important as it helps the victims to find justice. Once the crime has been reported, the responding officer has to note how to dispatch information like location and address, time, and location. The process of the investigation process is a tedious delicate exercise carried out by a team of experts. Crime scene investigation helps find out what happened at the particular scene and seek any people who may have been involved. Being able to recognize and collect evidence is essential to solve and prosecute crimes. Each of the steps in forensic science is done in the correct manner. In this paper, focus on the aspects of crime scene investigation, steps that have to be followed to make sure all the evidence are not contaminated and how the crime scene should be handled.

 

Introduction

Contemporary law enforcement has continued to expand the essence of solving crimes by incorporating techniques that are forensic in nature. In today’s world, crimes are easily solved by examining the scene of crime, and analyzing the evidence. Forensic scientists investigate and prosecute the criminals and also play a critical role in civil litigations, and the investigation of global crimes. The ability to succeed in the analysis depends on team work, advanced tools, skills, and processing the crime scene by first collecting and then keeping the evidence in a secure manner. Being able to recognize physical evidence is the first part in investigation. If the physical evidence has not been collected and preserved well, the nature of the evidence will be reduced to a high extent. High profile cases have shown irrespective of having special equipment and critical laboratory analysis, knowledge and integrity are necessary in the entire process.

Crime Scene Investigators

The crime scene investigator are law enforcement officers responsible for the identification, the collection of evidence and, preservation of any physical evidence. They also take part in packaging evidence at scenes of the crime. The investigators do not perform tests on physical evidence.  Some of the investigators also take part in performing laboratory forensic work.

Crime scene investigators uncover all the physical evidence to help to identify happenings during the period of the crime. The process is conducted carefully to allow crucial evidence to be collected and any fragile materials kept safe. (Singh and Singh, 2019). At the crime scenes, case investigators and crime scene individuals work hand in hand to enclose all the areas containing the evidence (Adrian, 2019). The investigators also collect any physical evidence, preserve, and later package until they submit all evidence collected at the laboratory for analysis to be conducted.  Having the evidence allows the investigator to reconstruct all materials used in the crime. If the team is thorough in conduction of the job, the more likely that the facts of the crime will be accurate. The quality of any particular evidence solely depends on how the evidence is handled. This later impacts how lawyers and attorneys will argue the facts of any crime scene case.

The investigator is responsible for;

  • Collaborating with law enforcement officers to keep the crime scene secure
  • Identification and marking all areas of the scene
  • Collection and preservation of all evidence from the crime scene
  • Maintenance of reports, data and logs
  • Using scientific apparatus to collect and analyze the data
  • Testifying in the court regarding the evidence
  • Transporting all the evidence to the laboratory.

 

Crime Scene Investigation

Crime scene investigation refers to the point at which logic, scientific analysis, and law meet. The process of being able to process a crime scene is a tedious, and long involving documentation of all the conditions at the scene of crime. In any crime scene, the Crime scene investigator collects blood samples from the windowpane after an accident (Spangnolo et al., 2018). This is done in a cautious manner without letting the slightest move of the arms in cases where there may be latent fingerprints.

Additionally, the investigator also uses tweezers to prevent any disturbance in the fabrics. The physical evidence is the central part of the analysis. The main aim is to convince the perpetrator of a particular crime (Adrian, 2019). The aim of a Crime Scene Investigation is to enable the victims find justice.

Types of Crime Scenes

A scene of crime can be classified in a number of ways, these include;

  1. The Physical location (Could be outdoor or Indoor)
  2. Crime committed (Robbery, Sexual assault or homicide)
  3. The original locality of the crime (Primary or secondary scene)
  4. The physical condition (underwater or buried)
  5. How the crime scene appears (either organized or disorganized)
  6. Boundaries of the scene (train, house, computer, car, or bank)
  7. The activity (passive or active scenes)
  8. The size of the scene (Macroscopic, microscopic or universal)

 

Processes of Crime Scene Investigation

  • The Investigator first gets to the crime scene and ensures it is secured. Initial walk is done to get a feel of the scene. Here, the investigator also generates facts by visual examination. At this point, nothing is touched, and the CSI makes a note of any potential evidence.
  • The CSI then makes documentation of the scene by drawing sketches and taking photos in the second walk. The stage involves taking videos without touching anything.
  • At the third stage, the CSI starts carefully moving the evidence and collects potential evidence, packaging, and also tagging it. After the process of packaging, depending on the breakdown of the task, areas of expertise, and the CSI unit worked for, the analysis is done in the laboratory.
  • In the lab, the evidence is then processed. Once the results get into the lab, they head to the lead detective of the particular case.

To be in a position to depict the scene during the process of the investigation, the investigator uses photos and finished diagrams (Baxter, 2015). On the sketch, it essential that the CSI has enough information to hand it over to another investigator who will then be in a position to complete the diagram without having to revisit the scene. In the scene, photographs; locations such as street signs, street lights, and places relating to the actual scene are investigated. Pictures are taken to in every room in the house, which is the scene of crime even in cases when the relation to the scene of crime is not apparent. The photographs are pictured in a clockwise pattern even before the alteration of the position of the body. The pictures are taken from 2 opposite corners and in other cases in four edges. In this way, nothing can be missed or hidden from view by the intervening objects. With a camera boom, pictures are taken from the ceiling height down to the victim. The perspective of this is to ensure that nothing is missed during viewing from the eye (Baxter, 2015).

Principles of Crime Scene Investigation

The fundamental principle that underlies the process of investigation is referred to as the Locard’s Exchange Principle. This principles explains that whenever the crime scene investigator enters or leaves the scene, something physical is added and even gotten rid of from the particular scene. The principle is summed by the statement, “All contact will leave a trace.” The knowledge of the principle enables the investigators to be in a position to connect the suspects to the physical objectives and to the scenes. Evidence linking the person to the scene is called associative evidence. This includes Blood, fingerprints, body fluids, hair, and fibers. This particular question, “Who did this?” is then answered from the analysis.

The evidence links the individuals to the places of the crime and enables the investigators to understand the action that took place during the scene. Shoe prints, Blood spatter patterns, broken windows, and bullet paths all reveal what had happened. The question, “How did it happen? “Is answered from the analysis.

To be in a position to establish links between things and people to the particular scene, the investigator then collects substances referred to as control samples such as glass fragments, soil, and vegetation. These are called trace evidence, and if found on the clothing or vehicles of the suspects, it provides evidence that links the person to the scene. Being able to eliminate people who are not the actual perpetrators is critical. Control samples of the fingerprints, as well as DNA, are collected from people who had access to the particular scene but not really suspects (Weyerbacher ET AL., 2018).

Process of gauging the Value of Evidence

  1. Uniqueness- if an item is found that can help in narrowing down any possibilities, it will be in use.
  2. Low probability of occurring by chance- In cases if the DNA evidence that has been located at the scene is matching with the suspect, it is minimal that people could have left the particular sample.
  3. Inconsistency-if the specific item found is inconsistent with specific setting, then it is an essential bit of evidence. For example, if the victim is a nonsmoker, but in the scene, cigarette is found.
  4. It’s a physical match- if at all the trace evidence is gotten on a suspect or what he possess matches something that is found at the scene, allows the item found to be considered valuable as being part of the evidence. For instance, fingernails match the fracture marks, this demonstrates that two pieces had once been part of the same item.

Analysis of a Crime Scene

During the process of the crime scene, there is information that is missing during the investigation. The task of the detective is to put pieces together and provide clues that will help to find the most likely scenario whenever the data is at hand and then be in a position to validate the data for furthering the investigation (Pepper, 2010). Each of the crime scenes is unique and this means that the process of planning and organization need adaptation as well as flexibility from one case to another. It is true that in most cases, enforcement by officers protecting and searching the scene plays a critical role in the determination of if physical evidence will be used to solve and prosecute violent crimes. According to Pepper, (2010), documentation of the crime scene, as well as its conditions, includes recording brief details like furniture and fingerprints. Evidence that is not collected in the right manner can easily distort all the information required to analyze the crime scene.

Conclusion

It is evident that crime scene examination is dependent on a scientific process but is not a science on its own but one that combines science, logic, and law. Thus, science has provided aim to the detection of crime since all things in the physical universe have the potential to be items of evidence in any investigation. As has been seen, many procedures are done to analyze and interpret the evidence in criminal cases. Detectives, police officers, crime scene investigators are responsible for completing the search for the crime scene and beginning  tages of forensic investigation. Laboratory personnel and crime scene investigators continue with the forensic analysis to ensure that data that has been collected is useful for investigation and for the justice system. During the very first litigation processes, the prosecution as well as the defense counsel figure out the evidence that is necessary. In the trial stage, the judge then determines the manner of admitting the evidence. It is not always easy for the parties to understand the full potential of the evidence.

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