In this report I will discuss the importance of collecting evidence at a crime scene. The evidence can make or break a case. There are specific duties assigned to each member of the CSI team who investigates a crime scene. Strict protocols are followed when securing the crime scene, collection evidence and interviewing witnesses. There are 5 main steps in processing a crime scene; interview, examine, photograph, sketch, and process. The gathering of evidence falls within the guidelines of processing the crime scene. The CSI personal has to have a keen eye to assess what is normal in the scene and what is evidence. Whenever there is a question as to what may be evidence, it is best to collect it and sort it out at the lab. Many people have a stake in what the CSI gather as evidence at a crime scene. Some evidence will clear persons involved, while others could be prosecuted by the same evidence. It is very important to take this training and job seriously. The balance of justice can be swayed so easily by the collection, processing and interpretation of evidence. Then there are cases that go to trial, get convictions with no evidence at all. Not because there was evidence and it not collected but because there was no evidence to prove a crime had been committed and the case was judged purely on made up stories with no facts to back them up. Later we find there in fact was no crime committed.
Collecting Crime Scene Evidence
Crime Scene Investigators are becoming more and more important to large law enforcement agencies. The purpose of crime scene investigation is to help establish what happened and who is responsible for the crime. This task was left to the local law enforcement officers who were and still are the ones to get to a crime scene first. As crime has grown in this country, the need for a special investigative team has become a necessity. The police departments in most large cities are not staffed nor equipped to do the amount of work required to thoroughly investigate a crime scene. One crime scene may take up to days or weeks to go through every inch of it to gather and tag evidence to be processed by the crime lab. Keeping this in mind, the smaller cities, towns and communities still rely on the local law enforcement agencies to carry out the task of securing the crime scene, gather evidence and question witnesses. Detectives assigned to the case in the smaller populated areas can help the police department to do in-depth questioning of witnesses, following up on leads and other things that may need to be done in assisting the police with the crime. (Aggrawal, 2004) (Layton, 2005)
The first step when getting to the crime scene is making sure the scene has been taped off and clearly marked. Next the crime scene technician will talk to the first officer who arrived at the crime scene. At this time the tech will gather information as to how this incident occurred, about what time it happened and all other basic information. The tech may also question any witnesses, or victim. If the CSI team has 2-4 people there may be several things going on at one
time such as examining the area of the crime, numbering or tagging pieces of evidence where it is for photographing, sketches may be started by the person assigned to that duty and then the process of gathering the evidence may begin after the first four steps are completed. It is important that all evidence that can be found at that time be processed by tagging, sketch, and photographing before it is actually collected into proper containers. (Baldwin, 1990)
The second step is to examine the crime scene inside and out. It is important to determine how the crime occurred and document it accordingly. Number markers will be placed by each piece of evidence for photographing. This is true of all evidence at the scene. It is very important for the CSI to be able to tell what was normally placed in the house/building and what seems out of place. When there is a question as to what may be or not be evidence, it is collected anyway and the lab will process it to see if it is connected to the crime. (Baldwin, 1990)