Crime scene search patterns
Crime scene search patterns (Forensic Science)
Law-enforcement investigators organize their searches of crime scenes to maximize the likelihood of finding evidence and to minimize the likelihood that they will fail to discover existing evidence. The discovery process itself should not cause undue disturbance of the scene, as this could cause evidence to be damaged or overlooked. To organize their searches, investigators choose from various geometric templates, which are then imposed on the scenes to be searched; four commonly used templates are the spiral, the strip, the wheel, and the zone pattern. Evidence discovery points at a crime scene can be diagrammed at corresponding points on a paper or digital record that serves as a blueprint of the crime scene.
A spiral search emanates from a center point and travels in widening curves from that point like a coiled snake. The search path may begin from either end of the spiral. For example, a bloody knife found on the street would most likely generate a spiral search path starting at the location of the knife (center of the spiral) and working outward. A crime scene with a victim inside a room having a single doorway would probably generate a spiral search pattern that starts from the doorway (outer end of the spiral) and works inward, toward the center.
A strip (or linear) search pattern divides a crime scene into long, narrow sections. Investigators may begin an evidence search at either end of the strip. This sort of search is...
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Further Reading (Forensic Science)
Genge, N. E. The Forensic Casebook: The Science of Crime Scene Investigation. New York: Ballantine, 2002.
Pentland, Peter, and Pennie Stoyles. Forensic Science. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003.
Platt, Richard. Crime Scene: The Ultimate Guide to Forensic Science. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2003.
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