10 Tips for the CSI in Your Life

10-tips for the CSI in your life

Every crime scene investigator works from a checklist, even if it’s an imaginary one they’ve tucked away in a far corner of their mind. Their mental wheels are in constant movement—What do I collect first? Should I take a photo of that object? Fingerprint the light switches? Collect the creepy crawling things? And, those real-life Sherlocks, well, they leave no stones, sticks, boards, mattresses, carpets, or dead bodies unturned.

Writers, too, often operate from a mental checklist when crafting their tales. Hmm…did I mention both writer and mental in the same sentence? Was that a slip of the tongue. Is it possible that our brains are… Anyway, here’s a quick set of ten must-do tips for the CSI in your life.

1. Clear firearms before packaging. If the firearm is contaminated with blood and/or tissue, then mark the outside of the container with a biohazard label. No surprises for the lab tech! And whatever you do, do not package firearms in plastic containers/bags. Plastic can act as an incubator for bacteria, and you all know that bacteria can destroy DNA, right?

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Arrowhead Forensics photo

2. Collect a sampling of all maggot sizes. But the largest ones will be the ones that normally indicate the time of death.

3. If the dirt is moving, collect it. There’s a bug in there that could make your case.

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Entomology evidence collection kit – Arrowhead Forensics photo

4. Record the temperature at the scene. Certain insects grow at certain temperatures.

5. Don’t forget the small stuff! Paint chips, plant seeds, leaves, soil, broken glass, tiny scraps of paper, etc. Either of those items, or a combination, could play a crucial role in identifying a suspect.

6. Photograph, photograph, photograph! And then take a few more pictures. You can never have too many.

7. Take impressions of tire and tool marks. BUT, do take a photograph of the impression before you cast it in case something goes horribly wrong with the casting material.

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Arrowhead Forensics photo

8. Map the scene. Fortunately, this can now be done electronically. Unfortunately, not all agencies have that luxury, therefore a hand-drawn diagram will have to suffice. By the way, 2015 Writers’ Police Academy attendees will have the opportunity to see 3D Crime-Mapping in action!

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Arrowhead Forensics photo

9. Search, search, search, until your feet simply refuse to take another step. Then, you may want to consider crawling. Do not leave any evidence behind!

10. Take your time. Don’t rush!

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