Crime Scenes - Did You Know?
I attended the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference a few weeks ago. It was informative and social and fun. I could give you a report on all things writerly that I learned, but there have been plenty of posts about that already. Instead, I thought I’d share some tidbits from one particular workshop: Mock Crime Scene. If you like crime shows, you might find some of these nuggets interesting.
Did you know:
There are two basic types of criminalists. The specialists, aka “lab rats,” and the generalists, aka “field mice.” I’ll let you guess which ones generally work in the lab analyzing evidence, and which are usually out in the field collecting evidence.
Wet items of evidence are not put in plastic evidence bags – they can degrade in plastic. They go in paper bags.
Evidence for felonies must be stored forever. Forever.
There are five manners of death: homicide, suicide, accident, natural and undetermined. In this day and age, kind of amazing to me that there’d still be a case of “undetermined.”
Processing a crime scene is tedious (in my humble opinion). They do a walk-through (carefully…along the sides of walkways, hallways, etc, rather than down the middle where criminals – and everyone else – tend to tread), they photograph it using overall, mid-range and close-up angles, they videotape (usually with the sound off because people say the darndest things…), and they sketch it and show measurements of everything.
There is an assorted spectrum of blue light used to look at a crime scene, and the blue light is chosen based on what they’re looking for. The criminalist also wears goggles when using the blue light which changes how things look. On tv, blood and other body fluids glow blue. When we looked at ours, using a general spectrum blue light and orange goggles (that go with this particular blue light, if I understand it correctly), blood drops were orange.
When a taser is fired, it releases three to four dozen tiny bits of confetti that are marked with a serial number identifying which taser they were fired from. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. And then that taser shows the date and time that the taser was fired.
Those are just a few highlights from a four-hour, very cool workshop. And please don’t quote me on the exactness of the above. If you want to confirm any of these answers, check out Tom Adair’s website athttp://authortomadair.wordpress.com He presented the workshop, and he’s more than happy to answer questions.
And I’ll leave you with one last recommendation – never look at any toilet with blue light…