I’ve been taking a small course in forensic psychology and one of the first things we were taught and made to understand is that it’s nothing like CSI or Criminal Minds. Forensic psychologists do not accompany officers of the law in the apprehension of criminals and perpetrators. They are responsible for extracting information from the accused that the police cannot through interviews and testing.
The subject is really interesting and we were taking a look at how important crime scene photography or forensic photography and crime scene sketching is in the process of gathering evidence.
Crime Scene Photography
Crime scene photography provides investigators with photos of victims, places and items involved in the crime. Colour pictures are generally preferred because colour may be an important aspect of the trace evidence. Thus traces of paint or dye on a piece of evidence may be crucial to linking the evidence with a crime or accident.
Crime scene photography is important because they can be used in direct comparison situations. For example, actual size photographs or one-to-one photos can be used to compare fingerprint and shoeprints photographed at the crime scene to known fingerprints or shoes from a suspect.
Crime Scene Sketching
A crime scene sketch assists in interviewing and interrogating persons. This is why it plays a crucial role in gathering testimonial evidence. Crime scene sketching has an advantage over still photography that makes it crucial to evidence documentation. In photographs, spatial relations can become distorted, making objects seem closer or farther apart than they really are. Details like this are very important in an investigation, for example in establishing the bullet trajectory, so they must be recorded as accurately as possible. So with the help of a crime scene sketch, the trajectory of the bullet can be determined and based on this it’s casing can be found which is a form of physical evidence. Gun powder could also be found which is trace evidence. Hence, crime scene sketches and crime scene photography play a role in the determination of the location of evidence that would otherwise potentially be overlooked or go unnoticed.