Crime Scene Investigation – Part 2

Crime Scene Investigation 2



Okay, our alert patrol officers have determined that they do indeed have a crime scene, and they’ve called in the detectives—us. Before we get started with our investigation, let’s be sure we’re all on the same page.

Everyone knows the difference between a murder and a homicide, right? How about the difference between a crime scene and the scene of the crime? You knew they weren’t the same, right?

First of all, let’s talk about homicide. Homicide is the killing of one person by another. A homicide can be ruled legal if the act was committed in self defense or in the defense of another. Even state executions are homicides.

Homicide is the act of one person killing another.

Murder is a homicide, but…


The scene of a crime is the actual location where a crime was committed—where the killer pulled the trigger, or the spot from where the car was stolen.

A crime scene is any location where evidence of a crime can be found. For example, a suspect robs a bank at gunpoint. The bank is the scene of the crime because that’s where the crime took place. It’s also a crime scene because evidence—fingerprints, video evidence, etc.—can be recovered there.


Scene of the crime. The place where the crime took place.

The robber drives three blocks away and tosses his mask and gun into a dumpster. The dumpster and surrounding area are now a crime scene because evidence of the robbery can be recovered from the area.

7 replies
  1. Peg H
    Peg H says:

    “Cuff the cow, Barney! I’ve got Otis.”

    Ah, the fragrance of a newly ripened Dumpster in the morning.

    I’m in the process of trying to connect a double murder in one town to antoher murder in another without spilling all the beans at once.

    Great post as usual!

    Peg H 😉

  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Elena – That’s a police badge hanging from the officer’s neck. I wore one like that all the time because I worked in jeans and tee shirts quite a bit.

    No, I don’t know this fellow. This isn’t one of my photos. Surprisingly, I didn’t have picture of anyone digging through the garbage. I say that because dumpster diving for evidence occurs all the time as part of investigations.

  3. Elena
    Elena says:

    I’m still bemused by the dumpster divers – what is the man in the dark shirt wearing around his neck?

    Were they friends of yours? Are they still? 🙂


  4. Terry
    Terry says:

    I’m still with yesterday’s doughnut, Joyce. 🙂

    These posts are becoming more and more valuable as I tweak a silly little short story which for some reason turned into a police procedural. And since it doesn’t start out looking much like a crime scene (no ax, for one thing), I’m finding ways to make sure my cop has a good reason for being there, and has reasons to investigate enough to make it more than a one paragraph story.

    I’ll be at SleuthFest this weekend. Say hi if anyone other readers are going.

  5. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    The ax scene took place long before we moved to New England. I hate to see what’s next, now that we’re in this horrid land of ice and snow! Stabbed with an icicle, maybe?

    I’m assuming someone pushed your vitim off the cliff, right? If so, jurisdiction of the body and the criminal case will belong to the agency in charge of the land above the water since that’s where the crime took place. The others may, and probably will, assist in recovery efforts.

  6. Terri Thayer
    Terri Thayer says:

    Ouch! Did it hurt much, Lee? Your wife is quite a woman. An ax, no less. You’ve been living in the NE too long. She must have been channeling Lizzie Borden.

    I’ve got a woman disappearing over a cliff into the Pacific Ocean in my next book. I’m still checking out jurisdications, but this is on state park land, so I’m thinking the rangers will be involved. In a recent case, the Coast Guard, local authorities and CHPS were involved.

    A great set up for a (blushing as I cannot think of a better word) clusterf*ck, don’t you think?

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