Crime Scene Cleaning
Crime scene cleaning (Forensic Science)
Police and forensic investigators officially release a crime scene after it has been documented and all victims and evidence have been physically removed. Such a scene, particularly if it was the site of a violent crime or drug-related activity, may then be uninhabitable and unusable until it has been cleaned by specialists. The owners of crime scene locations may hire professional cleaning services to avoid the psychological and emotional impact of cleaning these sites themselves. In addition, crime scenes often pose a hazard of contamination by blood-borne pathogens, microscopic organisms that can cause disease, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the United States, federal law prohibits employers from exposing workers to blood-borne pathogens unless they have been trained to handle blood; thus commercial enterprises, landlords, and business owners usually hire specialists rather than have their janitorial staff restore crime scenes where blood has been spilled.
Crime scene cleaning is sometimes referred to as biohazard remediation, bioremediation, crime and trauma scene decontamination, or biorecovery. Crime scene cleaners are also called biorecovery technicians or trauma scene practitioners. Technicians in the United States can be trained and certified by occupational groups according to standards set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Crime scene cleaning...
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Further Reading (Forensic Science)
Cooperman, Stephanie. Biohazard Technicians: Life on a Trauma Scene Cleanup Crew. New York: Rosen, 2004.
Jacobs, Andrew. “Cleaning Needed, in the Worst Way.” The New York Times, November 22, 2005, pp. B1-B6.
Reavill, Gil. Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning up After CSI Goes Home. New York: Gotham Books, 2007.
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Crime Scene Cleaning (World of Forensic Science)
When a crime is committed, forensic investigators come in, survey the scene, collect the evidence they need, and then depart. Any bodies are, of course, removed. Crime, especially murder, suicide or robbery, is a messy business and the scene may be left in a state of some disarray. The next stage is crime scene cleaning, restoring the premises to the state they were in before the crime was committed. The police do not carry out crime scene cleaning. The job is usually assigned to a specialist technical company.
Crime scene cleaning is a specialized job employing highly trained technicians. First, the cleaners inspect the scene and make a written proposal of what needs to be done. Biohazardous waste, including blood, bodily excretions, and human tissue, is often present even after the forensic investigators have taken their samples. The technicians, dressed in surgical gloves and thick protective jumpsuits, will collect this waste, package it up, and have it disposed of through a licensed waste company. They also take up and remove soiled or stained material such as carpets and curtains. Cleaning companies follow guidelines issued by the health authorities for handling and disposing of biohazardous waste.
The site is then cleaned, disinfected and deodorized. This is particularly important if bodies have lain at the scene for some time. If there is structural damage, through breaking and entering for instance, the cleaners can repair, restore, and repaint. The technicians are also trained to preserve the scene should they discover additional evidence during their clean up.
There is a human side to this work too. Knowing they are not responsible for cleaning up the scene of a crime is important to a victim's relatives. A good clean up company will do the work for them in a safe and discreet manner. They will also be able to help the victims with work on any insurance claims arising from the damage done by the crime. At a time of distress this kind of support is often appreciated. Crime scene clean up may be an unpleasant job, but the people who are prepared to take it on do a valuable job for both the police and the victims of crime.
SEE ALSO Crime scene investigation.