Evidence Collection Basics at a Crime Scene

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When a crime scene investigator arrives at a crime scene, it is important for them to survey the scene. Also, the scene should be secured as soon as possible. The scene should be processed as systematically as possible. Physical evidence identification, collection and evaluation are important concepts for the forensic nurse to be aware of.

Note-taking is one of the most important pieces to a crime scene investigation. It is important to note key times related to the investigation. Notes should be taken in the order that things happen. They should be detailed and as specific as possible. They should report step-by-step details of the investigation. The following items should be included in note-taking:
• Date and time first reported
• Type of crime
• Location of crime and description of the area
• Name of person who requested CSI
• Name of all officers, witnesses, investigators, specialized personnel
• Name of person who conducted the crime scene search
• Weather and lighting conditions
• Description of the primary crime scene
• Location of any evidence found, names of those who collected it, results of search for fingerprints, trace evidence
• Description of location, surrounding houses , streets, community
• Description of the interior and exterior of the crime scene
• Date and time crime scene investigation has concluded
Additional documentation of the crime scene includes photographs, videotaping, and sketches of the scene.

As documentation is being done, evidence may start being collected. Because fingerprints are the most fragile, they need to be processed first. Blood stained evidence and trace evidence should then be collected.

Wet, damp or soiled items need to be air-dried. These items should be packaged separately as not to cross-contaminate or destroy evidence. Package the items in separate containers. The containers should be sealed and labeled with their contents. A chain of custody should be maintained for all evidence. A list of all evidence that is submitted to the laboratory should accompany the evidence.

Interested in this topic and considering online forensic nursing certification? Canyon College is now acepting admission applications.

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