After committing a crime, criminals try to get out of the crime scene as soon as possible. More experienced criminals are very clever at covering their tracks to make sure that they don’t get caught. There is, however, always a trail and it takes an even smarter police detective to sniff it out and catch the bad guy.
At the training academy, police learn a trick or two to track down criminals but the real talent lies in instinct and experience. Here we look at some of the many ways that cops investigate crimes and find the offender.
All about investigating a crime
- Get there fast: The first and best way to catch the bad guys is to arrive at the crime scene as soon as possible when a crime in progress is reported. If the police make it on time, they just might be able to nab the criminals before they have the time to escape.
- Document the crime scene: If the perpetrators have already made a run for it, then the next thing for the cops to do is to preserve the crime scene exactly as it was left, and document what they find. This is done by taking notes and photographs, dusting for fingerprints, and in case of a murder, marking the position of the body and collecting other forensic evidence.
- Interview the witnesses: The next best thing to actually getting to a crime in progress is getting an account of what happened from an eyewitness. The sooner a witness can be found and interviewed, the better, because the memory of the incident is still fresh in their mind. A good description of the criminals could really help speed the investigation along. Also, information on the getaway vehicle, vehicle model, registration number, color, and so on would help track down the culprit or culprits.
- Interview the victim or victim’s relatives: In case of a robbery, the owner of the premises broken into can provide information about what was stolen. In case of a murder, the victim’s family might be able to provide clues about who might have had a motive.
- Reviewing the evidence: Once all the evidence and witness accounts are collected, a careful study has to be made of all the information. The police now have to look for clues to take the investigation forward. Fingerprints lifted from the scene of the crime, and even hair and blood samples can all be analyzed to help find the bad guys.