Friday, January 03, 2020

Crime Scene Protection

Dr. Bhoopesh Kumar Sharma
Forensic Expert & Associate Professor

Dear Students,

In the last few posts, we have already discussed the introduction to the crime scene, types of the crime scene, and crime scene processing. Now, let us start the first step of crime scene investigation i.e., Crime Scene Protection. It is done to ensure the safety, and integrity of the evidences as well as the crime scene.

Crime Scene Protection

Before starting with the protection of the crime scene, we must understand from what we want the crime scene to be protected i.e.; we need to identify the dangers. The common dangers to the crime scene and the evidences are:

1. Human Activity
2. Animal Activity
3. Natural Calamities, etc.

Let me take this with the help of an example:

A dead body of a 35-year-old woman has been found in an open desert area. In this case, we first need to identify the evidences like footwear impressions, blood stains (may or may not be), the weapon of offense (may or may not be), tire marks, dead body, injuries over the body, clothing, belongings, etc.

Do you think everything will remain as such for a more extended period? No. Because there are many dangers. A culprit himself can come to damage the evidences (human activity), there may be certain animals or scavengers (animal activity), or there may be rain, wind, storm, etc. (natural calamities). However, we can not control all the dangers, but as far as possible, we can easily control the human and animal activities as soon as we approach the crime scene. Else, as per the principle of progressive change, we may lose crucial pieces of evidence due to the delay.

General Consideration in Crime Scene Protection:

The very first step is to provide the medical assistance to the individual injured or fighting for the survival. After, that following steps should be followed:

1. Protection should be done to preserve the scene and the evidences.

2. No unauthorized people should be allowed to enter to the crime scene.

3. Unnecessary movement of the physical evidences should be avoided till the complete recording (photography, videography, and sketching) of the crime scene.

4. Barrication should be done at the entrance, exit, or surroundings.

5. Crime scene should never be left unattended. It is always better to position a post guard to note the activity, or to avoid the activity.

6. In case of road accidents, the traffic should be rerouted immediately to avoid the havoc.

7. The fragile evidences and the areas should be covered as soon as possible.

8. Avoid touching anything on crime scene bare-handedly, else we may damage or introduce our own fingerprints, etc.

9. Please, Please, Please avoid smoking, and eating on the crime scene.

10. Not to use the utilities (toilets, etc.) on the crime scene, and YOU KNOW WHY?

11. Do not discuss the crime scene with the bystanders, and other unauthorized people.

12. Please take the note of time of reporting of crime scene, who reported the crime, time of arrival of the protection team and the investigator, weather conditions, etc. These may be very crucial in the later stages of investigation.

Types of Barrication Tapes and Recovery Kits:

crime scene barrication

a. Yellow barrier tape is used to create an outer perimeter and staging area when determined appropriate.

b. Red barrier tape is used to create an inner perimeter when determined appropriate.

c.   Crime scene evidence markers are used only when:

1. Evidence may be lost, stolen, or damaged prior to the arrival of Forensic Services Division personnel, and

2. Use of the crime scene evidence markers reduces the likelihood that the evidence will be lost, stolen, or damaged, and

3. An inner and outer perimeter is created by the use of red and yellow crime scene barrier tape, or

4.  When directed by a supervisor.

I hope, this brief protection guide will help you to make your detailed notes with examples.


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