Friday, January 31, 2020

Investigating a Crime Scene Essay Example for Free

Investigating a Crime Scene Essay On TV shows like CSI, viewers get to watch as investigators find and collect evidence at the scene of a crime, making blood appear as if by magic and swabbing every mouth in the vicinity. Many of us believe we have a pretty good grip on the process, and rumor has it criminals are getting a jump on the good guys by using the tips they pick up from these shows. But does Hollywood get it right? Do crime scene investigators interview suspects and catch the bad guys, or is their job all about collecting physical evidence? In this paper, I’ll examine how a crime scene investigation really takes place. When working a crime scene there are many steps that must take place in order for any investigation to hold up in court. A proper investigation can take hours, but the end result can lead to a conviction of the guilty and justice for victim’s families. The first officer at the crime scene should do everything they can to keep all evidence in its original state. The crime scene must be blocked off immediately to avoid any contamination or loss of evidence. Boundaries should be established for each area of the scene that needs to be secluded. This will include any paths of entry or exits and areas where evidence has been discarded or located. All areas of the crime scene should be blocked off using tape, ropes, or traffic cones. If the crime took place indoors, a single room can be blocked off depending on the place of the crime and where it occurred. Police barricades and guards can help with securing the scene as well. This is a good way to monitor the area to make sure no unwanted people get through and cause loss of evidence. This will include officers that are not involved in the case, neighbors and the family of the victim. Securing the crime scene must be done in a timely manner and all persons entering the scene should be recorded, and times of the entry should be taken as well. Before anyone can enter the scene, the responding officer must first establish a walk way. This is done to ensure that no evidence is being touched and is out of the way before walking into the scene. This will include investigators or medical examiners that need to get to any victims that may be injured. Once the crime scene has been blocked off and secured, the investigators will process the area. At this time a strategy is put into place. This will start the examination of the area and documentation of all evidence at the scene. A walk through of the scene will take place by the lead investigator to establish how the scene was entered and exited at the time that the crime took place. Once the points of entry are established, the investigator will find the center of the scene using the path that the first officer established. A crime scene is three dimensional so that when making their way to the center of the crime scene, evidence will be located. It is the investigators responsibility to photograph and document these items as they are seen. There are many questions that will need to be answered during the investigation such as but not limited to: did this crime involve violence, or are there any hazardous conditions that they should be aware of? The scene should be looked over as if trying to put a puzzle together. Looking around at objects in the crime scene can tell a whole lot as to the time the accident occurred or if objects seem like they are missing. There are two categories a crime scene can fall under; one is a primary crime scene where the crime occurred or a secondary crime scene where evidence was taken to and is now a part of the crime scene. A command center needs to be put into place outside the crime scene. This is where the investigators receive their assignments, store the equipment that will be needed or where they gather to discuss or go over the case. Tasks are assigned to all of the investigators which will ensure that all aspects of the area are covered. Tasks include locating, processing, accessing, photographing and sketching the evidence at the scene. Searching a crime scene and how a crime investigation is carried out depends on the size and area of the scene being investigated. The different kind of crime that was committed can have a great toll on how the investigation is carried out as well. When doing a search of the crime scene, different kinds of flash or illumination are used to show fingerprints, handprints or other things that may be gathered as evidence. There are different patterns in which a crime scene is investigated or searched. Each pattern depends on the scene and what kind of evidence is suspected to be found at the scene. This could include: a line or strip search where two investigators walk in straight lines across the crime scene and search for evidence, a grid search where investigators form a grid throughout the scene making overlapping lines, a spiral search where an investigator works in a spiral motion from the outer part of the scene or vice versa, a wheel ray search which is done by a group of investigators that move from the boundary of the crime scene and work their way to the middle of the scene, or a quadrant or zone search where the crime is divided into sections and is split up between investigators and divided again to search more thoroughly through that section. When searching a crime scene at night difficulties will come up due to lighting. Boundaries of the scene are hard to see when trying to locate evidence. The search of evidence is determined by each crime scene, because every crime is different in its own way. Locating evidence includes footprints, weapons, blood spatter, trace fibers or hairs. When an investigator locates evidence everything should be recorded. Exact location in notes, photos and sketches must be done, and all evidence must be marked with an evidence marker once it is recorded. A search will end when all evidence is located. Once a decision has been made that the investigation has come to a close, the team will conduct a final survey. This survey will include an overview of the scene and all evidence is collected and bagged. Taking notes at a crime scene begins the moment an investigator gets a call. All notes must be specific. Notes should begin with all the information of the person who has called in, the time the call was placed and all of the information that is given about the crime, as well as the assigned case number that is given. When an investigator arrives at the scene, date, time and all persons present must be recorded. All notes should be in detail, and all movements that are taken should be documented. The lead investigator will do a walkthrough of the scene and at this time notes are taken with details of the condition of the scene. All notes taken should be in blue or black ink. Notes are very important to the investigation, and all notes should be taken at the scene and not left up to memory. This ensures that all information is recorded and nothing is left out. Notes should include all documentation of the victims, witnesses, evidence collected, tasks being performed, and when and how an object is packaged. There should be no task, detail or movement left out when taking notes at a crime scene. Photographing a crime scene is extremely important in a crime scene investigation, and should be of high quality and very clear. These photos will be used in court, so when taking the photos you need to keep in mind that the person or persons viewing the photos should be able to understand where the photos were taken and should be able to tell the story through them. The overall area of the scene should first be photographed such as street signs, street lights, addresses, and identifying objects. Photos should be taken in a clockwise direction to prevent any information from being left out. Different lenses should be used when photographing different parts of the scene as well as different illuminations, flashes and filters. The first photo should consist of a photography log that includes that case number, type of scene, date, location of scene, type of camera used, photographers name and title. Photos should be of the scene before it has been altered in any way. The photos should include the area that the crime took place, and areas where other acts occurred. Pictures should be taken from the outside of the scene working towards the middle of the scene. The photographer must be consistent when working through the scene as this will ensure that all evidence is photographed from all angles and nothing is left out. Photos should include: overview photographs which consist of the entire scene and surrounding area. These photos include all exits and entries, and should start from the outside of the scene and in all angles. And medium range photographs which show smaller areas of the crime scene. These photos should be taken with evidence markers. Sketching the crime scene is done after all notes and photographs are taken of the scene. A sketch will show the layout of the area or house where the crime was committed, as well as where the evidence was located. It is used to back up all notes and photographs already taken. All aspects of a crime scene will be shown in court and used to convict the guilty; therefore, it is extremely important that all steps of the investigation are followed exactly and with as much detail as possible to ensure that justice can be served.

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