This month is all about crime scene sketches. When starting a rough sketch, it is best to consider the evidence first. Try to measure and locate each item of evidence within the scene on the evidence log or within your notes prior to collection. When documenting a scene, being aware of and careful of crucial evidence is important to your investigation process. Do not kick or move evidence within the scene except to collect it.

What are scene sketches?

Scene sketches can function as a supplemental record to the investigation photographs or notes which help refresh the investigators' memory of the scene. This is especially true when called to testify years after the scene occurred.

Sketches and diagrams can be used in all trial phases (opening argument, during trial, and close arguments) to help convey and identify the perimeter of the scene.

How to draw a scene? Here are some tips.

Systematically draw and measure the scene. Draw a rough sketch of the scene using multiple pages if necessary. You may need additional sketches to draw adjoining walls structures or furniture. The key is to be CONSISTENT AND NOT RUSH the process.

PRO TIP: Keep the measuring tape taught. Limp tape can give incorrect measurements.

Make sure all measurements are recorded in feet and inches; use right angles.

Find a reference point (s) conducive for related evidence documentation.

Remember to keep the perspective accurate. Review your notes before clearing the scene.

Ensure all the measurements are recorded properly and accurately. You can always go back to check but you can never replicate the measurements once the evidence has been collected.

Don’t Forget!

Your drawing must include:

  • legend
  • title
  • compass heading
  • scale
  • measurements

Agencies may have different requirements, so it’s best to do what and how you were trained at your home agency.

Next month, I will cover some apps students may use when creating CSI diagrams.