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CRIME SCENE PHOTOGRAPHY

GENERAL CRIME SCENE PHOTOGRAPHY
A. Photographs are one way to record a crime scene
1. Field notes
2. Photographs
3. Sketches
B. Five steps in recording the crime scene
1. Secure the scene
2. Take preliminary notes
3. Take overview photographs
4. Make a basic sketch
5. Record each item of evidence
C. Taking overview photographs
1. Purpose
a. To show the scene exactly as it was when you first saw it
(1) If something was moved before you arrived, don't try to reconstruct the scene as it was. The photographs should show the scene as you found it
2. Major crime photography
a. First discuss the crime, evidence and photographs needed with other investigators at the scene
b. Be careful not to destroy any evidence while taking the photographs
c. Outside the scene
(1) Exterior of the building where the crime occurred and in some cases the whole locale
(2) Aerial photographs of the scene and the surrounding area can be useful in some types of cases 
(3) Original series of photographs should also show all doors, windows and other means of entrance or exit
d. Inside the scene 
(1) Begin with a view of the entrance
(2) Then photograph the scene as it appears when you first step into the room
(3) Next, move around the room to get photographs of all the walls
(a) These photographs should also show the positions of any potential items of evidence
(4) Include photographs of other rooms connected with the actual crime scene
3. Using video to record the crime scene
a. Frequently valuable to show an overview of the scene
D. Photographs to record items of evidence
1. Take two photographs of each item of evidence
a. One should be an orientation (midrange) shot to show how the item is related to its surroundings
b. The second photograph should be a close-up to bring out the details of the object itself
2. Measuring and marking devices
a. Take two photographs if a marking or measuring  device is used
(1) One photograph without the device, the other with the device
(2) So the defence can't claim that the scene was altered or that the device was
concealing anything important


CRIME SCENE PHOTOGRAPHY
A. Purpose of Crime Scene Photography
1. To record the original scene and related areas
2. To record the initial appearance of physical evidence
3. It will provide investigators and others with this permanent visual record of the scene for later use
4. Photographs are also used in court trials and hearings
B. Admissibility of photographic evidence
1. Three major points of qualification of a photograph in court
a. Object pictured must be material or relevant to the point in issue
b. The photograph must not appeal to the emotions or tend to prejudice the court or jury
c. The photograph must be free from distortion and not misrepresent the scene or the object it purports to reproduce
2. You do not need to be an expert in photography to take crime scene photographs or testify about them

PHOTOGRAPHING SPECIFIC CRIME SCENES
Note:
Each crime scene has unique characteristics and the type of photographs needed will be determined at the scene by the  investigator familiar with the crime.
A. Homicide
1. Use color film
2. Photographs (example: homicide inside a residence)
a. Exterior of the building
b. Evidence outside the building
c. Entrance into the scene
d. Room in which the body was found
e. Adjoining rooms, hallways, stairwells
f. Body from five angles
g. Close-up of body wounds
h. Weapons
i. Trace evidence
j. Signs of activity prior to the homicide
k. Evidence of a struggle
l. View from positions witnesses had at time of the crime
(1) Use a normal lens
m. Autopsy
B. Suicide, other dead body calls
1. If there is any doubt, photograph the scene as a homicide
C. Burglaries
1. Photographs (residential or commercial burglaries)
a. Exterior of building
b. Point of entry
c. Entrance into scene
d. Interior views
e. Area from which valuable articles were removed
f. Damage to locks, safe, doors, toolmarks
g. Articles or tools left at the scene by the suspect
h. Trace evidence
i. Other physical evidence

THIS IS INTENDED AS GUIDE TO CRIME SCENE PHOTOGRAPHY

     


PHOTOGRAPHING EVIDENCE
A. Fingerprints
1. When to photograph fingerprints
a. Before lifting on major cases or if the latent may be destroyed when lifting
b. To bring out detail in a latent
2. Equipment
a. 1:1 cameras and copy cameras
b. 35mm cameras with macro or close-up lens attachments
c. Gray card for available light exposures
3. Films
a. Well defined fingerprints can be photographed with color film but black and white film provides more contrast and is preferred for latent print photography
(1) Kodak T-MAX film. Develop in T-MAX developer while increasing the development time by 25% for increased contrast.
(2) Kodak TECHNICAL PAN 2415 film has a variable contrast range between high and low and a variable speed of ISO 25 to 320.
(a) For high contrast expose at ISO 100 and develop in HC-110
(3) Kodak KODALITH film for highest contrast
(a) Packaged as Kodak Ektagraphic HC Slide Film (HCS 135-36) and has an approximate ISO of 8.
(b) If developed in D-76 or HC-110 there will be a limited gray scale.
(4) Ilford XP-2 black and white film can be processed in color processors
(a) ISO 400, fine grain with good sharpness & resolution can be processed in C-41 color chemistry
4. Filters
a. Color filters, when used in black and white photography, can be used to build contrast by either lightening or darkening the subject (latent print) or by lightening or darkening the background (background drop-out)
(1) To lighten a color, the color filter closest to the color is used 
(2) To darken a color, the opposite color filter is used
5. Procedures
a. Establish the location of the latent
b. Close-up to show detail
(1) A 1:1 camera or device must be used, or (2) A scale must be included in the photograph on the same plane as the latent
(3) Photograph with the film plane parallel to the latent surface
(4) Get as much depth of field as possible, especially for curved surfaces
c. Exposure
(1) Available light exposures of latents with normal contrast can be metered using a gray card
(2) Bracketing may reveal more detail in "low contrast" latents.
(a) Underexposing the film will separate the steps on the white end of the gray scale. Overexposure will separate the steps on the black end of the gray scale.
(b) The latitude for black and white film is generally two stops underexposure and six stops overexposure.
d. Specific types of fingerprint subjects
(1) Normal, dusted prints
(a) Usually can be photographed with no problem
(2) Impressions in soft substances (wax, putty, clay, adhesive tape, grease, etc.) or in dust
(a) Use cross lighting at a glazing angle
(b) Preview with flashlight lighting
(3) Porous surfaces
(a) May need to use close to a 90 degree lighting angle
(b) Preview with flashlight lighting
(4) Glass and mirrors
(a) Glass -- place white card or cloth behind glass, use low glazing angle of light
(5) Perspiration prints on glass
(a) Use back (transmitted) lighting and diffusion screen
(6) Ninhydrin fingerprint
(a) Use normal black and white film (T-MAX or PLUS-X) with a green filter and increase development time 25%
B. Impressions
1. Footprints and tire tracks
a. Procedure
(1) Take an orientation photograph to show where in the scene the impression is located
(2) Take a close-up for detail
(a) Use a scale on the same plane as the impression
(b) Keep the film plane parallel to the plane of the impression
(c) Block out ambient light and use a strong light source at different angles to find the light angle(s) that shows the best detail in the impression -- then put the electronic flash or light source at that angle for the photograph
(3) Photograph tire impressions in sections showing one circumference of the tire
(a) Use a tape measure for overlapping photographs
C. Bloodstain photography
1. Use color film
2. Orientation photographs to show locations of bloodstain evidence at the scene
3. Close-up photographs to show detail
a. Use a scale on the same plane as the bloodstain
b. Keep the film parallel to the plane of the bloodstain
c. Use a low glazing light angle