The whole purpose of setting up a perimeter around a crime scene is to protect potential evidence within. The third step in a criminal investigation is initiating a preliminary survey. This step is basically an initial walk through of a crime scene. What investigators are looking for in this step is obvious evidence. This stage can be different for each type of crime scene. For an indoor crime scene the investigator will be looking for an entry way.
This entry way could be many things like an open window, broken down door, or even a ladder on the side of a wall, the investigator is just trying to find simple evidence that shows how the person broke indoors to commit the crime they did (Penven, Don). For an outdoor crime scene the investigator would look for footprints and impressions in the area that would indicate activity in the area. In a conveyance crime scene, the investigator would look for tire marks on the road or even evidence of a vehicle being there, if one is not there already.
The initial preliminary survey is just a quick overlook of a scene to see if there’s any obvious evidence lying around. The fourth step in a criminal investigation is evaluating physical evidence possibilities. This step is all about the type of crime and crime scene. The investigator must determine what type of evidence could be found at this crime scene. An example of this would be in a murder case, if the detective is investigating a homicide, they will determine that they are looking for a murder weapon, DNA, and identification of the deceased.
The fourth step in investigating a crime scene is just determining what evidence should be present at a scene. The fifth step of investigating a crime scene is to prepare a narrative of a scene. Investigators must keep notes of what happens in each stage of the scene. Detectives must write down everything that happened, step by step. This would even go as far as who entered and left the crime scene and at what time, what evidence the investigator found, how the investigator found it, and even thoughts and ideas about the crime as long as the investigator has evidence to back it up.
In this stage the investigator must remember that this case could go to trial months or even year later (Penven, Don). The notes must be very accurate and present a full story of what the detective saw if the detective wants a clear description of what happened when they investigated. The notes also must be accurate if the detective wants to use them in trial (Penven, Don). The sixth step in a crime scene investigation is taking pictures of the scene. Taking pictures of the crime scene may not sound difficult, but in most cases an investigator will take thousands of pictures for just one scene.
This is because once evidence is found the detective must take detailed pictures from all angles and all distances. The detective must also take many widespread pictures of the crime scene to make sure they get everything they taped off, sometimes even more. Taking pictures of a crime scene is not a step as much as it is an ongoing activity, every time something new is found the investigator must take pictures. Taking pictures allows for detectives to look back at the crime scene and find things they did not find before.
It is very important that the detective take as many pictures as possible from as many angles as possible. The seventh step in a crime scene is going into a detailed search. The investigator must go over every square inch of the crime scene (Penven, Don). Going over every square inch of a scene creates a smaller window of evidence being missed. This task can be tedious and take hours to complete, but is necessary for an investigation. If every square inch of a crime scene is not searched, then it is likely that investigators will miss crucial evidence for the case.
The eighth step of a crime scene investigation is recording and collecting evidence. Once the investigator has found the evidence, they must record what they found and where, and then collect it using gloves and packaged carefully. This step can be done either when evidence is found or after, as long as the evidence is collected and recorded. If this stage is not done correctly, then the evidence can be contaminated or just made useless, putting the investigators at a disadvantage when it comes to solving the crime (Penven, Don).
The tenth step in a crime scene investigation is to conduct a final survey. The investigator must do one last run through of the scene to make sure they did not miss any evidence. Investigators must make sure all the evidence that was found is recorded and packaged correctly. Also, the investigator must be sure that all notes and pictures are as accurate as they can be. This step is just a run through of all the other steps to make sure everything the investigator could have done, is done. The eleventh and final step is releasing the crime scene.
Once the investigator is sure everything that could have been done is done, they release the crime scene to be cleaned up and given back to the owners, or communities. It is noted that investigators should not be rushed into this stage by any means, if the investigator thinks the investigation is not done, it is not done (Penven, Don). The steps of a crime scene are crucial in solving any crime. Different investigators may have their own version of the steps, but all of the steps are still there.
While the stages of a crime scene are called steps, it is important to note that multiple steps may happen at the same time, or throughout the whole process of the investigation. Without the basic steps to a crime scene investigation, crimes could not be solved. Criminal Investigation is no easy process, between the different types of crime scenes, and the multiple steps of an investigation, detectives do not have an easy job. Criminal Investigation is how crimes are solved and brought to court in this century. Without Criminal Investigation, crimes would never be solved.