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Crime Scene and Physical Evidence

What are the correct steps taken when a crime scene is approached,
searched, and an investigation is begun?

One of the most vital components of crime scene investigation is the
collection, preservation, and securing of evidence. If those three
components are not carefully maintained the evidence cannot be used in a
court of law – which is in fact the purpose of evidence!

Learning Outcome
 Students will be able to identify the steps taken during the
beginning of a crime scene investigation, and all the way through
the investigation itself.
 Students will be able to list the details of each the jobs assigned
during a crime scene investigation, and apply those skills to a
 Students will be able to recognize the importance of the use of chain
of custody and search warrants.

New Concepts
All the jobs combine during the crime scene investigation to
produce evidence that can be used in a court of law – leader,
photographer, notetaker, sketcher, and evidence collector.

The chain of custody for evidence must start at the crime
scene and continue throughout the investigation.

Different circumstances must be considered when searching
for evidence outside of the crime scene, including the need
for a warrant or determining if a warrantless search is

 Definition of forensics, Types of Analyses available in a crime lab

Reading Assignment
Saferstein, 8th edition, pg. 34-52

and scene investigations. the  Mid-range photos show key . driveway? Is there a blood trail A CSI's training includes the art of down the street? scientific observation…in crime  Securing the crime scene -. a tripod. measuring shows/cold-blood/videos/cold-blood-processing-crime- scenes. ears. different types of film. flashes.htm At the Crime Scene : Scene Recognition At the Crime Scene : Scene When a CSI arrives at a crime scene. graph paper. filters. pens and pencils. When describing a crime scene -. The CSI uses digital systematic approach to finding and and film cameras. Is the scene the house and also use a camcorder and a camera boom. Model 1 : Introduction to How Crime Scene Investigation Works Video Clip: http://investigation. types of photographs a CSI takes to  get the district attorney involved. some sketchpad. any portion of the crime scene. a CSI makes factual scene involves creating a physical observations without drawing any barrier using crime scene tape or conclusions. and before touching or moving a single removing all unnecessary personnel piece of evidence. the immediate vicinity outside?  Note-taking at a crime scene is not Does it also include any cars in the as straightforward as it may seem. paper and a pen. nose. The goal of the scene to create a visual record that will allow recognition stage is to gain an the forensics lab and the prosecuting understanding of what this particular attorney to easily recreate an accurate investigation will entail and develop a view of the scene. he Documentation doesn't just jump in and start recovering The goal of crime-scene documentation is evidence. At this point. a is only using his eyes. opinions don't any other areas that might later matter and assumptions are turn out to be part of the crime harmful.  CSIs take pictures of everything police cars or sawhorses. collecting evidence. He may scene. There are three from the scene. the CSI various lenses. document the crime scene: because if anyone could possibly  Overview shots are the widest have an expectation of privacy in possible views of the entire scene. rulers and a notepad at  define the extent of the crime this stage of the investigation. other obstacles like police officers. Securing the crucial.

saliva. chemicals. and vomit. preserve the evidence for crime and identify the perpetrator in a analysis and collect it in a way that will manner that will stand up in court. particular aspects of the scene that  call in any specialists or additional will benefit from exact tools that might be needed based on measurements.  begin a walk-through of the crime  Close-ups of individual pieces of scene by following a pre. evidence that would be destroyed  Every photo must be written in a by walking through it. guns. a (knives. a CSI might use tweezers. identify the person evidence that might serve to recreate the who did it. they touched anything and gather  Scene documentation may also any additional information that include a video walk-through might be helpful At the Crime Scene : Finding the At the Crime Scene : Evidence Collection Evidence In collecting evidence from a crime scene. the location. The goal is to show particular types of evidence seen locations of evidence and how each during the recognition stage. semen. and seems to be out of place or missing. tweezers. immediate note of details that will includes the photograph number.  Body fluids vomit) Body fluids found at a crime scene might  Hair and fibers include blood. evidence. biohazard kit on hand containing disposable latex gloves. any other day is it? He describes any notable descriptive details that might be smells (gas? decomposition?). paint residue. face mask tool marks) and gown and a biohazard waste bag. and anything that both the entire scene. protective eyewear and . evidence. scissors. To  Weapons and firearms evidence identify and collect these pieces of evidence. CSI needs search warrants. containers with lids. cartridge scalpel. Some  Trace evidence typical kinds of evidence a CSI might find Trace evidence might include gun-shot residue (GSR). During this photo log. collect and preserve all physical Reconstruct the crime. showing any serial determined path that is likely to numbers or other identifying contain the least amount of characteristics. pieces of evidence in context. saliva. bullet holes. This log documents initial walk-through. change with time: What's the a brief description. the date. To collect trace  Trace evidence (gunshot residue. semen. make it stand up in court. relevant. plastic paint residue. booties. he takes the details of every photo. sounds (water dripping? smoke  CSIs also create sketches to depict alarm beeping?). He will also have a  Impressions (fingerprints. sterile cloth casings) squares. broken glass. Evidence can come in any form. weather like? What time of day of the time. piece of evidence relates to rest of  talks to the first responders to see if scene. footwear. The goal of the evidence-collection stage the CSI has several main goals in mind: is to find. drugs) device and a knife. at a crime scene include: glass and illicit drugs. a filtered vacuum unknown chemicals. a UV light. a CSI might use smear slides.  Body fluids (blood.

she puts gloves on.  Hair and Fibers Examining the scene A CSI may use combs. available for a CSI to choose from to  Fingerprints assure complete coverage and the most Tools for recovering fingerprints include efficient use of resources. he must immediately casings at the scene. a spatula and cardboard boxes to hold the casts. resources. tag it and log it for the crime picks up the gun by the barrel (not the scene record. phone books. a magnifying glass and Super Glue.  The inward spiral search A crime lab can use fingerprints to identify the victim or identify or rule out a suspect. brushes. These patterns can reveal the type of weapon that was includes electronic documents like used. luminol. The actual collection of physical evidence  Firearms is a slow process. chemicals. also  Blood spatter patterns. tweezers. Questions 1. containers and a filtered vacuum device to collect any There are several search patterns hair or fibers at the scene. answering machines and caller ID and how many separate incidents created units) the pattern. a bowl. lift cards. typed or photocopied evidence that might be related to the crime. bullets or collects an item. which direction the blood came from. Silicone  The zone search rubber). describe each of the following jobs that are pertinent to the accurate processing of a crime scene: Leader – . may be collected either at the scene or in  Documents lab depending on conditions and A CSI collects and preserves any diaries. suicide note. Different types of evidence grip) and bags everything separately for the lab. preserve it. phone books or suicide notes. powders. receipts. snow wax (for making a cast in snow). tape. a torn up letter in the trash or any other written. Each time the CSI If a CSI finds any firearms.  Questioned documents (diaries. any signed contracts. planners. Looking through the information listed in the model.  The outward spiral search  Footwear Impressions and Tool Marks  The parallel search A casting kit might include multiple casting  The grid search compounds (dental gypsum.

a. Photographer – Note Taker – Sketch Artist – Evidence Collector – 2. Several search patterns are identified in model 1 and the lecture – which search pattern would you choose to analyze the crime scene in an enclosed living room search? . List as many ‘specialized’ jobs that might be required as additional experts for the crime scene: 3.

. and here’s a handy list for the proper packaging of those items. would you choose a different search pattern? Why or why not? Model 2 : Chain of Custody Plastic Paper Dry evidence since Wet evidence so the there’s no concern material can’t degrade about degradation due to the moisture being trapped in There’s a rule of thumb for other types of evidence. b. too. If you were analyzing the OJ Simpson crime scene.

Tape – Wear non-powdered gloves when handling tape. Tools – Paper or cardboard. Hairs recovered from different locations must be packaged separately and labeled accordingly. Large items – moisten swab with distilled water. Submit samples inside plastic. Why do you think arson evidence would need a special container for collection and preservation? What might an evidence container for arson evidence look like? The following evidence has been identified and needs to be collected: what will you use as packaging to preserve the sample? Clothing from a rape victim: Carpet fibers found on the body of a victim dumped in the woods: Swatch of carpet from an apartment determined to be the starting point of a fire: Paint chips recovered from a vehicle that was sideswiped by another vehicle: Blood drops located on the ceiling tiles above the victim: . Rope. if you’re hoping for DNA – NEVER use plastic! Questions 1. Smaller pieces may be placed inside appropriate size cartons. twine. Tape all packaging seams. if the hair is completely dry. swab the stain. and other cordage – Paper or plastic. Fibers – Dry. Hair – Double packaging in paper is best. and package in paper or cardboard after drying. fibers may be placed inside plastic containers. Describe why an evidence collector would choose to use a paper bag to collect evidence and list a minimum of three examples of evidence that should be collected and stored in a paper bag: 2. Dried stains – Wrap stained item in paper or place inside cardboard box. plastic will work in a pinch. Do not remove the tape! Glass – Wrap in paper. Blood . Arson and other fire evidence – Airtight metal containers. Unused paint cans work best. Then place the paperfold inside an envelope. However. Paint chips – Place inside folded paper. Describe why an evidence collector would choose to use a plastic container to collect evidence and list a minimum of three examples of evidence that should be collected and stored in a plastic container: 3. and tape-lifted.Allow to air dry and then package in paper. If the tape is stuck to an item the item must be submitted with the tape still attached.

Pieces of shattered glass found inside on the carpet after a break-in: Problems It’s time to put it into action… You have been called to the following crime scene… Now what? Identify and discuss how you would analyze this scene… .

Be sure to show one example of triangulation on the diagram above… .