The work of Forensic scientist and starts just at the arrival at crime scene. It is pertinent for the investigator to preserve and record the crime scene in its original condition as much as possible. If he fails to do so it would mean destruction and contamination of evidence, which can hinder the
The most important and primary thing is to Secure the Crime Scene.
Securing the Scene of Crime
The ‘first’ responding officer to arrive at the scene of a crime is responsible for taking steps
to preserve and protect the area to the greatest extent possible
Once the perimeter of the crime scene is secured, it should be ascertain if anyone at the scene needs medical assistance. The victim or family of victim , if injured badly should be right away given medical assistance and if needed should be taken to the hospital.
The officer should the officer should direct medical helpers to approach the body by an indirect route to minimize the possibility of disturbing evidence. The same way can be used by the Investigating officer for the same reason.
Statements made by the victim at the crime scene or on the way to the hospital should be recorded.
Note- When the victim is removed from the place, the whole of the procedure should be photographed and video -graphed and immediately the position should be made clear with the help of a marker or a chalk.
2. Nabbing the perpetrator
While this all is happening, the accompanying officers should also ascertain that the perpetrator is no longer in the immediate area of the crime scene and is not a threat to anyone at or near the crime scene.
Note – Any vehicles or people leaving the scene of crime should be observed. If need be the numbers of the vehicles should be jotted down in notes and people should be interviewed. They can possibly be the witness to the crime. Onlookers should also be identified.
After this he should exclude all unauthorized personnel from the scene( including family and friends).
3. Establishing the boundary
The officer is also responsible for establishing the boundaries of the scene to be protected. The boundaries should encompass the center of the scene where the crime occurred, any paths/line of entry or exit, and any areas where evidence may have been discarded or moved. (line of retreat)
For indoor scenes this may include anything from a single room to an entire house and yard. The
center of the crime scene is usually apparent, and a sufficient area around this spot should be closed off.
The boundaries of an outdoor crime scene are more difficult to determine and can span miles, especially if a vehicle is involved.
The officer should initially denote the boundaries of the scene using crime-scene tape, ropes, or traffic cones. Police barricades, along with the guards at entry and exit will prevent unauthorized access to the area.
Every entry to the crime scene has the potential to destroy the sanctity of scene and can possibly contaminate or destroy or tamper the evidence.
The responding officers must keep an accurate log of who enters and exits the scene and the time at which they do so.
It may sound obvious but the officers should never smoke, eat, drink, or throw anything at the scene. Nothing should be moved or disturbed unless it is a BOMB/FIRE/ TOXIC GASES.
Note- A very basic mistake which is often committed at the scene of crime is the officers because of humidity, cold, foul smell or high temperature adjust the window , door of AC, this should never be done no matter what. As you know, alteration of temperature and environment may alter the basic nature of biological evidences.
Searching the Scene of Crime
Once the scene has been secured the investigator will take an overview by evaluating the area.
The Walk-Through Survey
The initial survey of the scene is typically called the walk-through. The possible line of entry and exit should be ascertained. The investigator should then follow an indirect path (the one taken by the medical helpers, if not then should look for an indirect way) to the center of the crime scene.
Every step should be documented and photographed. Any fragile evidence, such as footprints and
tire impressions, after finding should be lifted first and packed for analysis immediately.
Officer conducting the first walk-through should carry evidence numbered markers and place a marker near each item of evidence he finds out. These numbers will make the other personnel to be careful about the location and evidence.
The investigator should note the following thing while note-making:
• Type of scene – indoor,outdoor or moving
• Location of the scene
• Weather and temperature
• Doors and windows open or closed, locked or unlocked
• Possible line of entry and exit
• Condition of lights, fans and alliances
• Food – cooked, uncooked, left over.
• Number of plates and glasses at the table
• Ashtray, dustbins , Cigarette butts
• Bathroom should be scanned- floor- wet or dry, tap – running or closed.
• Signs of struggle
• Condition of Fridge and oven. Computer and laptop
• Nearby vehicle should be checked- engine – hot or cold
• Newspaper- read or unread
These are some basic things that should be observed at the scene. These simple observations
may prove significant in the later investigation.
Types of Search methods
Once walk through is done , the crime scene should be searched systematically. There are many methods for searching the scene in a logical and practical manner to locate evidence.
These search methods depend on the size and type of crime scene. The areas searched must include all points of entry, exit and retreat that may have been used by the perpetrator.
- Line/Strip Search Pattern
- Grid Search Pattern
- Spiral Search Pattern
- Wheel/Ray Search Pattern
- Quadrant/Zone Search Pattern
Next step is proper collection of Evidences to prevent loss, destruction, or contamination.
We will take these search method topic in detail in our next post. Do remember three things; you can call them the gist of crime scene processing.
- LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN CRIME SCENE
- EVIDENCE CAN BE ANYWHERE!
- ABOVE ALL, KEEP YOUR BRAINS, EYES AND COMMON SENSE OPEN WHILE AT CRIME SCENE
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