Crime Scenes: Picking Up The Tab

Crime Scene: Picking up the tab


Have you ever wondered about the costs associated with criminal investigations? Well, you’d better believe the suits keep tabs of where public dollars are going. Here’s a rundown of expenses associated with materials used in crime-solving.

Crime scene tape (actually it’s called barrier tape)

$15.50 per roll


Crime scene sketch kit



Crime scene DNA kit



Locater cones

$27.95 for 8


Photo evidence and crime scene markers


Arson investigation kit


Laser trajectory finder (determines the path of bullets)


Traffic investigation kit



Alternate light sources

$10.00 – $6000.00


Fingerprinting Kit



Wet Powder Processing Kit (for processing prints on adhesives, such as duct tape).



Red evidence tape with writing line



Body Bag

$244.00 for a package of 24


Tyvek shoe covers

$12.00 for 10 pair

Tyvek coveralls

$11.75 per pair


Paper evidence bags

$21.00 for 100 bags


Chain of custody labels

$10.00 per 100 labels


Blood spatter kit



4 Cell Maglite – $32.00

Belt holder – $8.00

Handy guide to police procedure and investigation


Cop fuel


8 replies
  1. JanW
    JanW says:

    Interesting list, and mostly reasonable. The arson investigation kit looked like a collection of items from any hardware store, though. Could be a case of DoD contract or call-it-something-different pricing.

    Thanks for the recent humorous posts. Loved the go nowhere signs.

  2. Kendra
    Kendra says:

    Now I see donuts. Needs coffee. My eight-year-old just asked what the body bags were. Her reply was “Ewww.” Then “Why?”

  3. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Kendra – Try refreshing your browser. It should work.

    Since the body bags are such as good deal, does that mean you’ll be stocking up before the holiday rush?

  4. Kendra
    Kendra says:

    The cop fuel pic won’t come through for me. I’m going to guess that it’s donuts. And coffee. I thought the body bags sounded like a good buy.

  5. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Elena – Good idea about the book. Everyone should keep a copy in their vehicle in case of emergency. I’ll stay up late tonight to take orders. The lines are now open.

    You know, I submitted the budget for my division, but I really don’t remember the percentage of funds that were set aside for materials. I do recall that it was a ridiculously low figure. Vehicles and overtime topped the list and were first priority.

    Supplies were way down on the importance list. Sometimes, we even stopped in a local grocery store and picked up free paper bags for use as evidence bags. We used zip-lock bags from home, and we fabricated a fuming chamber out of a fish aquarium and hot plate. Lots of officers and detectives purchase their own fingerprint equipment, etc.

    I often turned to the military for free surplus equipment, such as surveillance gear, photography equipment, computer equipment, Kevlar helmets and vests, ammo containers, etc. I also called on the state police, FBI, DEA and ATF. Those folks were wonderful about loaning me all sorts of cool toys.

  6. Elena
    Elena says:

    Lee, clearly I need a second copy of your book to carry in my car – just in case I come across a cop in need! Just doing my civic duty 🙂

    That was interesting – and in some cases, like the Tyvek products surprisingly low.

    Do you know what percentage of an annual budget might be earmarked for hardgoods in say a major metropolitan area vs a very quiet area? Granted this would be a very rough estimate given that usage would vary wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Wilfred – You know me. I can’t resist being a little goofy.

    There are many alternate light sources available. You can purchase a cheap $10 black light or you can move on up to the specialty lights costing in the thousands.

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