Abstract: The analysis of a crime scene is a key feature in major police investigations. Arguably the most important aspect of crime scene investigations is searching for forensic evidence (traces like hair, fingerprints, or fibers for example). Forensic evidence will be a central part in the reconstruction of the crime and help determine the most likely crime scenarios. A crime scenario can be defined as the story of the crime in which is described why an offender acted out his crime in that particular manner at the moment in time and at that location. In the early stages of an investigation a crime can be described as being the result of one or more possible different scenario’s. It is likely that a number of different motives or modus operandi can account for the appearance of the crime scene. To solve the crime all but one crime scenario ought to be ruled out and a suspect should be casted as the offender. Possibly the strongest link between the offender and the crime is forensic evidence. But even though forensic science techniques develop very rapidly it is still impossible to investigate every inch of a crime scene with the same thorough detail and prioritizing is necessary. Following this, it is common practice that only certain parts of the crime scene are analyzed. Those parts are decided upon based on the crime scenario. So it becomes also increasingly important to be aware how investigators create crime scenario and how this can influence their decision making of crime scene analyses. We will present the results of an experiment in which police investigators created crime scenario’s based on a crime scene photo. We distinguish three types of evidence given: factual, interpreted and assumed. The typical crime scenario that are created will be discussed in relation to the expected types of evidence. This study gives insight into investigator’s decision making as the types of evidence seem related to elements stated in the crime scenario about the offender, motive and modus operandi.
References: Koppen, P.J. van & Kemp, J.J. van der (2010). Psychologische en geografische profielen. In P.J. van Koppen, H.L.G.J. Merckelbach, M. Jelicic & J.W. de Keijser (Eds.), Reizen met mijn rechter: Psychologie van het recht (pp. 219-252). Deventer: Kluwer. Gruijter, M. de (2012). Crimes Stories. The influence of investigative experience in the construction of crime scenario's. Master thesis. VU University Amsterdam Kemp, J.J. van der & Gruiter, M. de (2011, april 02). Behind the Scenes: A Study of Police Investigators Creation of Crime Scenarios. Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 12th Conference of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology.
Keywords (max. 3): crime scene evidence scenario investigation
20 Aug 2012
6th European Academy of Forensic Science Conference