A proliferation of new and exciting technology over the past decade has worked wonders for crime scene investigators. Advancements in the analysis of everything from shell casings to hair follicles have helped investigators to quickly and efficiently solve crimes with a degree of accuracy that was previously unattainable. However, for all the amazing things technology has done, it has done little to replace the long and arduous task of actually gathering evidence and recording a crime scene for later examination.
Until now that is. Departments across the country have begun using 3D laser scanners at crime scenes as an effective and efficient way of better analyzing a crime scene. The longer investigators spend gathering evidence, the more a crime scene can be contaminated. 3D laser scanners are able to put together an accurate map of the scene. This drastically reduces the amount of time investigators spend there and allows them to record data more accurately.
The most difficult part of the process is setting up a scanner, which takes around 10 minutes for a room. While this is a little more difficult for large or multi room crime scenes, a few extra set ups still pales in comparison to the hours of time spent by large teams of investigators previously spent on a scene. Furthermore, this can be done by just a handful of officers, freeing up other officers to investigate other scenes and improving efficiency across entire departments.
It also improves officer and public safety. Car accidents can create a large and dangerous mess that puts drivers at risk. Roadside accidents are also one of the most common ways that officers are injured on the job. Laser scanners can be used at car accident scenes to quickly gather information and reduce the amount of time an officer needs to present. Cleanup happens faster and the risk of injury is reduced dramatically.
While technology will never replace human experience and insight, 3D laser scanners are becoming an integral part of the crime scene investigation toolkit.