How Crime Scene Investigations Work

Unless you are a member of law enforcement or have training in crime scene investigations, you likely don’t know the ins and outs of how crime scene investigations work. Even though there are dozens of popular TV shows that depict these investigations, the step-by-step process remains a bit of a mystery and may shift slightly due to several factors including type of crime, location of the scene, etc. From the first response to a crime to the release of a property after a criminal investigation, below is a typical description of how crime scene investigations work.

The basics

Processing a crime scene is a long, tedious process which involves tedious and poignant documentation of the conditions at the scene as well as the collection of any and all physical evidence that could potentially aid the investigators in determining what happened and who did it. The number and type of professionals that are responsible for crime scene investigation is largely dependent on the type of crime and the resources of the local law enforcement agency. Often these teams include a detective, a crime scene photographer, a crime scene investigator, and evidence collection personnel. 

Since every crime scene is different, investigators must go to the basics when approaching the investigation. The first step starts with securing the scene so only authorized parties can access it and completing an initial walk-through to assess the scene while making sure not to touch or move anything. 

Documentation is key

After a scene is secure and the investigators have finished their walk-through and assessment, they then thoroughly document everything by taking photographs and sometimes making sketches during their second walk-through. This step in the process is still one where nothing is touched or moved and may also include documenting using video depending on the department and type of crime. Investigators must make sure to preserve the scene as much as possible and follow a systematic search for evidence so they don’t miss anything important. It is key for investigators to write down and take photos of every inch of the scene as these will be important to refer back to often. 

Examination moves from observing to sifting through evidence

After the scene has been walked through and fully documented, trained investigators may now begin the process of systematically collecting evidence. This process includes collecting and tagging evidence as well as packaging anything important, so it remains intact when it is transported to a lab for further testing. Samples that may be collected at a crime scene range from biological evidence like blood, hair, and other tissues and latent print evidence like fingerprints to trace evidence of fibers and soil as well as any digital evidence like phone records and internet logs. 

After the scene is released

After evidence has been collected at the scene, the work continues in a crime lab. Anything that is received by a lab is processed, and the results are sent along with all crime scene notes and photos to the department and/or the lead detective on the case. Now that everything has been turned over to the crime lab, the scene is released and is ready to be cleaned and decontaminated. Many people are surprised to learn that law enforcement officers are not the ones responsible for this cleanup, but rather whoever owns the space is. 

Having your home be the scene of a crime is overwhelming enough that you won’t want to also take on the responsibility of cleaning, especially given that it can be dangerous if not handled properly. This is when hiring a biohazard cleanup company can give you both peace of mind and the assistance you need.

Xtreme Cleaners can help

At Xtreme Cleaners we are proud to have a team of experts who are specifically trained in cleaning, handling, and properly disinfecting contaminated spaces like crime scenes. We work quickly and efficiently as soon as we enter a contaminated space so we can efficiently clean and disinfect a room or area. 

We know crimes are on the rise in Louisiana and accidents can happen at any time which is why we are available 24/7 to provide families the support they need after a traumatic event. With decades of experience working with families in crisis and extensive training in handling situations with biohazards, we work thoroughly and quickly to restore your home back to a safe condition. If you or someone you know needs help cleaning biohazards, give us a call at (800) 524-9591.