|Discovering The Scene
|Discovering the scene
is a very straightforward and obvious step in the course of a crime.
Summarised below are the basic procedures taken at the crime scene
for purposes of both efficiency and accuracy.
Select one of the following for more:
crimes are discovered
at the scene of crime
extent of the crime
Crimes Are Discovered
can discover crime scenes in a number of different ways. Most
likely, the authorities have been informed by an everyday citizen
who may have seen or heard something unusual/strange occurring
and decided to report it, however police officers also come
across crime scenes whilst on patrol in their designated area.
Whether it is a police officer or a 911 assistant who answers
the emergency calls, the details of the potential crime scene
are recorded and patrolling officers closest to the scene are
arranged to head over to the situation.
officers are always alert for signs of crime. Photo courtesy
At The Scene Of Crime
||Once officials arrive
at the scene of crime, the first and foremost priority of a
police officer is to assist or preserve the life of the victim
(if one is present), making sure that he/she is not exposed
to any danger. The officer does however, have to ensure that
his/her own safety is not endangered during this process. They
are then to alert senior investigating officers, reporting on
the situation of the crime scene and subsequently notify ambulances
and the fire department if necessary. The time of arrival on
the scene must essentially be noted down as well as all other
significant observations. Whilst doing all this, the officer
must take care not to touch or move anything.
Emergency vehicles will arrive with more than one officer, allowing
procedures to be carried out much more efficiently and precisely.
Photo courtesy of www.morguefile.com.
Extent of the Crime
|Officers must also assess the extent
of the crime scene, which is the stretch of area in which the crime
took place and may include more than one section. For example, in
the case of a murder, there may be evidence not only where the murder
was committed, but also in other parts of the murder environment and
the scene where the corpse is found may not correspond to the actual
scene of murder. If the body were transported elsewhere, then the
mode of transport and the other locations would also become a significant
part of the investigation.
the crime scene is ultimately essential to protect any evidence it
contains, for the more people that visit the crime scene, the more
difficult it becomes for investigators. Not only does sealing the
scene preserve important evidence, but it also helps in the identification
of potential suspects/witnesses by eliminating the possibility of
these people leaving/entering before officials have the scene fully
detailed. The section that has to be sealed depends on the individual
crime and the crime environment, but the sealed off area should be
big enough to enclose not only the immediate area of the crime, but
also the points of possible entry and exit.
The section then becomes accessible only
to the relevant personnel involved with the case. This method makes
it much easier to manage the crime scene, as it provides a protected
zone for incident vehicles and also for dealing with the media.
To prevent evidence contamination, personnel numbers are kept to
a minimum at the scene of the crime and only one entry and exit
access point is established to be utilised by all forensic and scene
investigators. A log of everyone who visits the scene is kept, including
arrival and departure times and any evidence shifted/taken from
its original place. This is to ensure that 'evidence tampering'
does not become an issue while in court.
If there were one thing that television portrays most accurately,
it would be the use of a simple white cloth to cover the victim's
Witnesses and Suspects
|Potential witnesses and suspects are
detained and removed from the scene by police officers to be searched
and questioned. Their condition, statements and behaviour are all
documented for further analysis later into the investigation. The
police must also ensure that suspects are not allowed to return to
the scene of the crime before it has fully documented, in order to
prevent 'evidence tampering'. Suspects may be held at the police station
for a certain period of time (varying for each state) during which
the scene is analysed and sealed off. At the same time witnesses at
the scene are detained and separated from one another up until they
have given statements and it is then at this point, that witnesses
are free to go. This procedure is put in place to prevent the witnesses
discussing what they each saw and prevents one's recollections of
the incident being influenced by the ideas of another.