Crime scene reports are critical components of an investigation. They reveal in great detail what a police officer or investigator saw upon arrival at the scene so that experts can later analyze the information in an effort to determine what transpired. Therefore, crime scene reports must be as thorough as possible, leaving nothing out.
Basic Crime Scene Procedure
Upon reporting to the scene of a crime, first establish the boundaries of the scene. Next, secure and protect the scene, ensuring the safety of all present and the security of evidence. Doing so will enable you to properly document the details in your crime scene report.
You should not smoke, chew tobacco, eat, drink or use the restroom upon arriving at a crime scene. Instead, writing your crime scene report must be the first thing you do once you have ensured the safety of all individuals present and secure any available evidence. You should also take photographs of the crime scene whenever possible unless there is a member of your team present dedicated to crime scene photography.
Read More: Types of Evidence at a Crime Scene
How to Write a Crime Report
A crime scene report should always contain the who, what, when, where and how of an investigation. It is not possible in most cases to include the reason why a crime was committed, as this is often speculative.
Information should be documented in an organized fashion and should describe all of the individuals involved in the incident. List whether each was a victim, perpetrator or bystander. Describe the individual in great detail, including race, gender, height, weight, hair color, hairstyle, eye color, facial hair, any distinguishing marks and clothing worn. Take note of names, ages, addresses, contact information, occupations, employers and social security numbers for all involved parties.
The narrative portion of a crime scene report should overflow with detail. Start by noting the time you were called to the scene and explain what the caller stated had occurred. Describe who traveled to the scene with you and when you arrived. Things like time of day, temperature, precipitation, wind, humidity and light levels can be critical to an investigation, so be sure to note them all.
Include information about all involved officers or law enforcement agents, and who said and did what at the crime scene. Note any emergency personnel who responded and their reports of any injuries. Also discuss your impression of any injuries.
Describe what you saw at the scene in great detail. Positions of victims, witness, perpetrators or objects are all relevant to an investigation. Take statements from all involved parties, and document their assertions about what occurred. The more information you are able to collect, the more easily the investigation can conclude quickly and justly for all involved parties.
A crime scene report should be as detailed as possible and include information about all individuals present and the locations of all persons and objects. Your impressions of the scene should be documented without including suppositions.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. Her experience includes years of work in the insurance, workers compensation, disability, and background investigation fields. In addition to being the content writer and social media manager for Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, she has written on legal topics for a number of other clients. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com) and enjoys writing legal articles and blogs for clients in related industries.