How Do Forensic Teams Collect Trace Evidence?

When there is a report of a crime scene, first responders are called to the scene and law enforcement officers are tasked with properly handling the scene. When forensic teams arrive to assess the scene, they have a thorough process they must follow to ensure no stone is left unturned. This means they are responsible for properly identifying and collecting all evidence, no matter how small and seemingly undetectable.


What exactly is trace evidence?


Trace evidence is generally thought of as any evidence that is so small it can be transferred or exchanged between two surfaces without being noticed. Forensic teams are trained in identifying and locating specific types of trace materials that could be transferred during the commission of a violent crime. According to the FBI, these trace materials include human hair, animal hair, textile fibers, and fabric, rope, soil, glass, and building materials.


How is trace evidence recognized and collected?


Since these materials are often incredibly small, they can be hard to detect with the naked eye and forensic teams have specific processes for identifying and collecting them. Trace examiners may use magnification and light to find glass fragments on clothing, an individual or at a crime scene and extract those using tweezers. Tape may also be used to collect glass samples, but the residue left from the adhesive makes this a less desirable collection method.


Other methods of collecting evidence include peeling off paint and the use of a vacuum and all materials collected will be transferred to a lab and analyzed in a controlled environment. Ensuring that all evidence is collected is incredibly important to the investigations team and can be critical in solving a case and identifying those responsible.


Who is responsible for decontaminating a scene after an investigation?


Many people are surprised to learn that when law enforcement officers and forensic teams release a property after a criminal investigation, the cleanup of the space becomes the responsibility of the owner. Thorough inspection and decontamination of the premises can be an emotionally taxing endeavor and if it is not done correctly and thoroughly, can create a hazardous situation.


Biohazard cleaning companies


When surfaces that were contaminated with blood spills and bodily fluids aren’t properly cleaned and sanitized, there’s a high risk of spreading pathogens, and it’s important they are handled with extreme care. Rather than trying to handle this yourself, this is the ideal time to call in a biohazard cleanup company like Xtreme Cleaners.


As the #1 crime scene cleanup company in Louisiana with more than 20 years of experience cleaning up after trauma, homicides, and other biohazard contamination, our team of experts are experts at swiftly and meticulously cleaning and sanitizing crime scenes to return them to a safe state. If you or someone you know needs help decontaminating a scene after an investigation, give us a call at 800-524-9591.