Thousands of crime scenes are investigated each month, by forensic investigators and other CSIs. All are looking for one thing: who did it and where is the evidence. The study of forensics plays a big role when investigating these crime scenes. Forensic scientists analyze evidence in a crime scene looking for objects to prove a case against the criminal. The physical properties of the evidence show the uniqueness of each person, especially DNA and fingerprint analysis. In the 1980s, scientists proved it was possible to use DNA to solve cases. They found out by using the case of the two young girls who were killed and raped by Colin Pitchfork. Scientists found how to use DNA profiling against the criminal which had never been done before.
There are many different types of crime scenes, all using different techniques to find the suspect. How do professionals analyze the different crime scenes?
How Do CSIs Preserve Crime Scenes?
A crime scene is something that must be preserved and taken good care of, since investigators must have uncontaminated evidence. Evidence is very important; in fact, it is crucial to a criminal investigation. When examining a crime scene, there are a few things to remember:
- Professionals must use barricade tape to keep out unnecessary individuals; having too many people at a crime scene can help break or contaminate evidence.
- Gloves, jumpsuits, goggles/face masks, feet coverings (boots, normally covered in plastic for fewer footprints) are all things investigators must wear before entering a crime scene.
- While entering a crime scene the first things scientists and investigators must look for is the physical evidence, for example, track evidence from cars or shoes, drug evidence, firearms or other weapons, latent prints (fingerprints, etc.) digital evidence, and lastly biological evidence.
- All evidence must be documented. Iif the evidence isn’t documented properly it will most likely not be used. Evidence will be dissimilar from different types of crime scenes.
Investigators document their evidence to show records of the physical proof, from the crime scene. This documented evidence will be used in court, case records, or by other investigators. Scientists and investigators analyze this evidence finding out how the victim died, and who did it. There are three proper methods to document evidence. These methods include photographs, written notes, and diagrams or sketches. When taking notes or reports investigators must have them in chronological order showing dates and times of the evidence. Opinions, conclusions, and analyses should never be included in these notes, only facts. Summaries and scenes should be included in the notes of the investigators, they should explain how the crime scene looked while first walking in and how it looked after the investigators left.
A group of professionals will examine a crime scene and collect evidence. Investigators will take the physical evidence found from a crime scene, put it in bags, envelopes, or boxes then bring it to scientists to analyze.
There are several different types of charges authorities can file based on the crime scene, including Homicide, Intoxication, and Poisoning, Burglary and Robbery, Sexual Assault, Stalking or Harassment (leading to murder), Violent Crime (physically on the body), and Arson. Investigators will look at the different crime scenes to determine how the victim was hurt. At crime scenes in many cases, there is often more than one crime broken; for example, a victim might have been raped and killed – the attacker would face both charges. With a homicide you’ll see whether it’s a lawful killing out of self-defense, a murder being quite intentional, or manslaughter killing when it’s very rash and not as thought out.
Exploring the Crime Scene
In a crime scene, investigators will look around the crime scene looking outdoors (if the act happened outdoors or any bit of the body was left outdoors), indoors, and the conveyance (where they transferred the body, where they killed the victim, and where they put the remains). The evidence you can find from looking in different places of the crime scene.
-doors, if they are locked or if it’s broken (look for fingerprints, blood smudges, DNA, etc.)
-windows (outside and inside) look for blood, broken pieces, gunshots.
-look for hiding spots with the weapons
-cars, missing cars, or broken vehicles
-trash cans, looking for DNA (any items to prove who the killer/attacker is)
-blood, look for trails, pools, dried blood, etc.
-weapons left behind
-unusual smells (smoking, dead body smell, gas, perfume alcohol, etc.)
-kitchen, blood pushed down the sink or if there was food made (poisoning possibility)
-looking for stab wounds and how the body was positioned
-going through the whole house for evidence
-prints from shoes, tracks for vehicles, blood trails, etc.
-drags of blood
-pieces of the victims clothing (on the ground)
-the vehicle used to get the body out
-what the body had gone through (weather, violence, etc.)
-the area that the body was left in
-hair of the victim and criminal, especially from the root (truly anything that can get DNA left behind can give evidence)
Crime scenes hold physical evidence to prove what happened, investigators will use this evidence to help people who have been hurt. Crime scene investigators are some of the most valuable members of the criminal justice profession.