Anyone who’s followed this blog for a while knows I never post twice in one day. Normally I post once or twice a week. However, I’m very excited to show you this fantastic resource I’ve compiled for you.
You might have noticed the new sidebar, where I’ve added links for crime writers. They aren’t solely for crime writers. Anyone who has murder in their plot will find them useful. In addition to the sidebar I’ve created a page where you can find all the links in one place. See the menu bar? Click on “Crime Writer’s Resource”.
Not yet! I’m going to give you a sample of what you’ll find there.
How many of you have struggled with what to do with your detective once he/she arrives at a crime scene?
There are specific steps he/she must take to ensure evidence is collected properly and the scene doesn’t get compromised. On the resource page you’ll find “Homicide Detective Checklist”, taken from Ron Mitchell’s Law Enforcement Training Website. This is what he uses to train his officers. It doesn’t get any more authentic than that! Bear in mind every scene is different so you won’t always need everything listed here. It’s a guide to help your stories ring true.
Here’s a small sample of what you’ll find there…
Homicide Detective Checklist
A. ARRIVAL AT SCENE:
1. Enter scene by route least likely to disturb evidence, noting route of travel.
2. Check victim for signs of life (breathing, neck area for pulse).
3. Note time of arrival
B. LIVING VICTIM:
1. Summons Medical Assistance
2. Dying Declarations
a. Conscious Victim – If victim is conscious, attempt to obtain the following information:
1. Who did this to you?
2. If name of assailant is not known to victim, commence identification by description: man, woman, race, height, weight, color of hair, eyes, type of clothing, etc.
3. Establish the fact that the victim knows that he/she is dying.
C. Unconscious Victim
1. At scene – If victim is unconscious on arrival at scene,
MAKE SURE THAT A POLICE OFFICER REMAINS WITH VICTIM AT ALL TIMES, INCLUDING TRIP TO HOSPITAL SO THAT ANY DYING DECLARATIONS MADE DURING CONSCIOUS PERIODS CAN BE NOTED.
2. At Hospital – Upon arrival at hospital alert medical personnel to possibility of dying declarations. Request them to note same if made during operative period.
3. Notification – Request to be notified if victim regains consciousness so that you will be present when any dying declarations are made.
1. Block or rope off scene (“Bigger is better”).
2. Persons at Scene
a. Clear unauthorized person from the scene. NOTE: You cannot worry about hurting someone’s feelings. If they do not belong tell them to leave. This must include any unauthorized police command.
b. Prevent anyone from touching the body or disturbing anything pending the arrival of the medical examiner, identification personnel, and investigative officers.
And then there’s…
Crime Scene Forensics
Good forensic matches, through techniques such as DNA analysis, latent print development, or microscopic comparisons, are more the exception than they are the rule. These matches can certainly strengthen a case, but should not be counted on in every case. Good forensic crime scene processing starts with two simple steps:
1. Making appropriate observations
2. Properly documenting those observations
Crime scene interpretations, crime scene reconstructions and eventual expert opinions, should always be left to qualified experts. Or to crime writers! In any given case, it will be impossible for a forensic expert to give such an opinion, if the crime scene is not properly documented.
In the everyday context in which the word forensics is used, it implies an advanced degree of training, education, experience, and very expensive equipment. Crime scene processing, however, is quite simple, and when the crime scene investigator makes all the appropriate observations, and then properly documents those observations, the role of the expert witness becomes much simpler.
This site offers general information on the most popular fields in forensic sciences.
Crime Scene Investigation – Introduction
A body washes up on a lonely stretch of beach. A fire in a methamphetamine lab devastates an apartment building. A car accident claims the life of a driver during her trip home. These are all potential crime scenes.
By conducting a systematic examination of these areas, crime scene investigators uncover the physical evidence to help identify what happened and who was involved. This process must be conducted carefully and thoroughly to ensure that crucial evidence is collected and fragile evidence is not destroyed in the process.
At a scene, the case investigator and crime scene personnel work together to: define and secure areas that may contain evidence; examine and document the scene; collect physical evidence; and preserve, package and submit the evidence to the laboratory for analysis. With these key pieces of evidence, the investigator can attempt to reconstruct the elements of the crime.
The more thorough the crime scene team is at conducting its job, the more likely it is to accurately determine the facts of the case. The quality of the evidence and the manner in which it is handled will also impact the ability of the attorneys to argue the facts of the case and ultimately the jurors’ ability to come to conclusions regarding guilt or innocence.
Howdunnit Forensics and Forensics Books
This will bring you to Dr. Lyle’s website, where if you click on “links” it will take you to “Writer Friends”. There’s a wealth of information there.
Baby Names: To help find names for your characters.
Building Fictional Characters: Charlotte Dillon’s free detailed character chart and more links about character building.
Creativity Portal: Among other things you can unblock your creativity by visiting the Zen garden.
Crimes and Clues: Various topics related to crimes such as finding fingerprints with super glue, conducting successful interrogations, lies and lie detection.
How Stuff Works: From, does punching a shark in the nose to get him away from you really work? to all about mysteries. There’s so much information here it will take you hours to go through.
Writers Magazines, Radio, T.V., etc.: A list of these with links to each one.
Writers Conferences: List and links.
Writers Organizations: List and links.
In this Crime Writer’s Resource you’ll find just about everything you’ll ever need to write a true-to-life mystery, suspense, thriller. I’ve tried to make this a one-stop place for your research. And I think I’ve accomplished that. It would take days to go through all of this information.
By using this resource you’ll save yourself time surfing the internet. You can trust your sources, although you should always double-check any information you receive. You will also find links to crime experts in the field who are crime writers themselves. If you get stuck, have a question you need a fast answer to, or you want to double-check your research– shoot them an email. It’s like having your own personal consultant at your fingertips. Who knows, you may get lucky and form friendships with these people. I have, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world!
I hope you’ll take a moment to check it out and tell me what you think.