Crime scene is the place or location where crime has taken place. There could or could be any evidence that is present at the location. Crime scene could compose a large area such as several city blocks or as small area such as a postage stamp. Locards Theory states that in every crime scene, an individual removes or introduces objects/items into it from another place (Lyman, 2014). Therefore, any movement through the crime scene leads to introduction or removal of evidence by the individuals visiting the crime area (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). In addition, it is very crucial to limit movement in the crime scene and restrict access to the crime location as much as possible.
After arriving at the scene of crime it is imperative to secure the location as soon as possible. This helps to protect contain the area and to protect it from alteration and contamination (Lyman, 2014). In addition, it is essential to evacuate people who are in the scene that could otherwise increase their health risks. Furthermore, it is essential to limit access through a single door if the crime scene is located inside a structure.
Therefore, people including officers should be restricted from entering the scene. Besides, the door that is used for entry or exit to the crime scene should not be the one used by the perpetrator (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). However, everything else should not be changed. Moreover, if there is evidence in the front or backyard of the building it is important to rope off the area to protect the evidence.
In case the scene is located outside the building crime scene tape should be used to rope off the crime area (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). Officers should prohibit people including media from entering the scene. Some states laws limit media from releasing some photos from crime scenes. Media is restricted from releasing photos that show deceased person in cases of decapitation, dismemberment or any other similar mutilation. Besides restrictions on exposing deceased person’s genitalia also exist.
The purpose of crime scene searches is to assist in establishing crime scene reconstruction and to identify the perpetrator (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). This is an important operation that carefully documents the condition at scene of crime and identifies all necessary physical evidence. Moreover, crime scene searches helps to solve and prosecute violent crimes (Lyman, 2014). In addition, the officers who are involved in crime searches plays an important role in determining whether physical evidence will be utilized in prosecution or solving violent crimes. While making the searches, officer must limit him or herself from touching places and items at the crime scene. Besides they should avoid disturbing any possible evidence.
The First Officer to reach at the scene of crime must take into account the importance of controlling and preventing any changes in the crime scene. Crime scene is vulnerable to change by people or weather (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). Therefore, on first arrival, the officer must ensure that she or he does not introduce new items into the location. Moreover, the first officer must assess whether the victim is dead or alive and he or she must take appropriate actions.
Secondly, apprehending of the victim if still present, the first officer must give appropriate notification if the perpetrator has escaped or is escaping. Thirdly, he or she must take appropriate measures to safeguard the scene of crime and detain the suspects or witnesses (Lyman, 2014). The patrol car must be parked away from the scene of crime to prevent interfering with evidence left by the perpetrator. In addition, it helps to prevent any suspect who is still in the area of crime from observing the officer. The safety of the first officer arriving at the scene as well as people is of great importance even if it means compromising some evidence.
Crime scene investigators are responsible for collection, packaging, preservation, documentation and transportation of physical evidence from the area of crime. While recording the conditions for crime scene it is important to be consistent in documenting the evidence from the scene (Lyman, 2014). Three steps are involved in recording the conditions of crime. These include preparing reports, presenting photographs and proper sketching.
Reports should be documented in chronological order and should only include facts. Reports should not include opinions, conclusion or analysis. Photographs should also be included showing the relationship of objects and close up of objects of the evidence to assist analytical processes (Lyman, 2014). While reporting crime it is important to include sketches that clearly show the appearance of the crime scene.
Pan Am Flight 103 involved Lockerbie bombing by terrorists in 1988. The incident involved the killing of all 243 passengers and 16 crew. The flight was from Frankfurt to Detroit through New York and London. Large parts of the aircraft crashed into Lockerbie Scotland. More than 12 people on the ground were killed (Lyman, 2014). The terrorist involved two Libyan nationals. After arriving at the scene it would be crucial to concentrate on controlling, removing and identifying persons at the crime scenes.
Pan AM Flight 103 was the largest crime scene in the world; therefore, it required securing a large perimeter that would prevent more people from entering and destroying physical evidence in the area of crime. It also guarantees and maintains the safety at the scene. Moreover, it is important to secure and separate the witnesses and suspects and control the family and friends (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). Furthermore, it is essential to control the medical, law enforcement personnel accessing the site.
When an investigator first arrive at the crime scene involving gunshot victims, the officer must direct his or her attention to isolating the body and immediately surround the area from all other people (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). This will help to deal with strangers or family members who may be present. However, the first officer must be very careful not to chase away one of the perpetrators who may be hiding among the people at the scene of crime (Lyman, 2014). In addition, absolute caution should be taken so that the first officer does not chase away potential witnesses or other people with important information. First officer should arrest the suspect if he or she can determine through observation or inquiry that an individual is involved in the crime. Secondly, he should detain all individuals that are present at the scene.
Besides, the first officer should assess and determine the entire area of crime including paths of exit or entry and any other object that may include traces of evidence. Thirdly, the area must be isolated and protect using crime scene tapes (Lyman, 2014). The first officer should retain for questioning all individuals who first notified the police. Moreover, keep off all people who are unauthorized from entering the crime including the police officers. The names of potential witnesses should be obtained.
However, the first officer should be very careful not to interview in details a witness or a suspect. This is because it may impede with how volunteers disclosing of evidence (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). Similarly, the first officer must keep a chronological log containing, name, shield name, title and command of any police officer who access the scene. Hospital’s medical personnel names, serial numbers, ambulance drivers and any other civilians must be obtained. Lastly, the first officer must take note on all possible traces of evidence.
There are many government agencies, business organizations and credit unions that keep records that can be used in criminal investigations. These include hospital, mobile services providers and Social security numbers (Lyman, 2014). For instance Social Security Number (SSN) is used for the purposes of employee files, health insurance and medical records. It is also used as an authenticator to confirm the personality of individuals. Moreover, the mobile phone company’s data is useful in tracking the suspects by providing the access to data bases.
For instance, AT & T allows the criminal investigators to use phone data base to help in tracking down criminals. The records can be used to investigate criminals who frequently switch off telephone to identify their location (Lyman, 2014). The criminal investigators can also use the health records to access the health data in cases of serious crimes. The police aim to get more information on mental health conditions, drinking and smoking habits as well as drug prescribed (O’Hara, & O’Hara, 2003). Blood evidence collected on the crime scenes can also be used to determine the suspect’s DNA and can establish the link between act of crime and an individual. Blood sample identifies the suspect genetic make-up that is linked to his or her possession or fingerprints.
Lyman, M. (2014). Criminal investigation (1st ed.). Boston: Pearson.
O’Hara, C., & O’Hara, G. (2003). Fundamentals of criminal investigation (1st ed.). Springfield, Ill.: C.C. Thomas.