Crime Scene Documentation : Preserving the Evidence and the Growing Role of 3D Laser Scanning book cover
1st Edition

Crime Scene Documentation
Preserving the Evidence and the Growing Role of 3D Laser Scanning

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 11, 2020
ISBN 9780367652302
December 11, 2020 Forthcoming by CRC Press
240 Pages

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Book Description

When a criminal act or vehicle crash occurs, most often a local law enforcement agency responds and is responsible for to both investigating the scene and documenting it. It is critical that scene evidence is collected and recorded efficiently, as the scene can quickly change. The sooner evidence can be collected, reviewed, and analyzed, often the better an understanding investigators will have as to how and why the incident occurred.

Crime Scene Documentation: Preserving the Evidence and the Growing Role of 3D Laser Scanning demonstrates at length the value of laser scanning through the use of numerous case studies of investigators who have utilized various 3D technologies and laser scanning to document scenes. Thorough and accurate scene documentation is an essential function at a science and proves particularly valuable in courtroom presentations to help jurors understand a crime or accident’s likely chain of events. The more advanced a scene documentation method is, the better it can be utilized to capture details that will lead to optimal scene diagramming.

Currently, 3D laser scanning is the most advanced method of scene documentation available, capturing detailed and realistic digital scans—and captures scenes in their entirety—yielding a permanent representation of the scene for study and analysis at any time, even years after a crime scene has vanished. The book explains current technology, the latest advances, and how to best utilize the technology. The case examples come from various applications , from tools to programs, can help crash scene investigators understand how scanning can improve scene documentation, provide better and more evidence details, and build more credible diagrams that possibly may be used in court presentations to help support a case.

Key features:

  • Describes 3Dscene recording methods in use and how well they work
  • Outlines the variables and inherent challenges associated with documenting crime and crash scenes
  • Illustrates the positive, and dramatic, impact of having a well-documented scene, particularly in the courtroom

  • Explores how 3D laser scanning has vastly changed the way and extent to which crime and crash scenes can be captured accurately and completely, and subsequently analyzed
  • Explains how laser scanning is highly flexible and presents strategies to integrate it into other crime scene incident recording techniques and technologies


Crime Scene Documentation details the many benefits of 3D laser scanning technology relative to its reliability and accuracy as well as the multiple case scenarios in which it can be used. The book serves as an invaluable resource to crime scene technicians, investigators, and reconstructionists on the best ways to document a crime or crash scene.

Table of Contents

PART I: Introduction – The Importance of Crime Scene Documentation and the Drive for 3D Scene Visualization. CHAPTER 1 – A Brief History of Forensic Science—How Archimedes and Jack The Ripper Shaped Modern Forensics. CHAPTER 2 – Crime Scene Documentation Has Challenges, But Technology Tools Are Meeting Them. CHAPTER 3 – Preparing for Crime Scene Documentation. CHAPTER 4 – The Total Station: Still a Stalwart Documentation Tool.  CHAPTER 5 – The Value of Photogrammetry Takes on New Importance as Tool for 3D Crime Scene Capture. PART II: GETTING THE MOST OUT OF 3D LASER SCANNING: A LOOK AT SOME UNIQUE APPLICATIONS. CHAPTER 6 – How 3D Laser Scanning Systems are Changing Crime Scene Documentation. CHAPTER 7 – Setting Up the Scanner, Working with Point Clouds, and Building 2D/3D Models. CHAPTER 8 – The Essentials of Getting Trained on The Use of a Laser Scanner. CHAPTER 9 – Bringing Crime Scene Reconstructions into Court. CHAPTER 10 - 360° Imaging Systems as a Way to Document Crime Scenes. CHAPTER 11 – Rugged Tablets: A Newer Way to Capture Scenes; An Alternative to 3D Laser Scanning.  CHAPTER 12 – How Drones Give Scene Reconstruction New Perspectives, Crucial Interrelationships of Evidence. CHAPTER 13 – 3D Laser Scanning a Strong Fit for Reconstructing Active Incident Scenes; Useful for Autopsies, Powerful Training Tool. CHAPTER 14 – Risk Assessment, Security Planning Critical for Future Active Incidents; How Technology Can Aid. CHAPTER 15 – Scene Perspectives at Core of Reconstructing Officer-Involved Shootings; Video Evidence a Big Factor. CHAPTER 16 – Scanning for Blood Stain Pattern Analysis Helps Identify Vital Clues at Crime Scenes. CHAPTER 17 – Vehicle Collision Damage ‘Autopsies’ Yield Crucial Details with 3D Laser Technology. CHAPTER 18 – Scanning for Height Approximation Proves Invaluable in Helping to Target Prime Suspects. CHAPTER 19 – Integrating Technology Tools Helps Solve Crime/Crash Scene Reconstruction Challenges, Clarifies Probable Events. CHAPTER 20 – Conclusion. Citations/Endnotes. 

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Robert Galvin has 43 years of experience in public relations, newspaper reporting and writing, and trade press writing. During the last 15 years, Mr. Galvin has concentrated on the law enforcement, public safety and forensic science sectors for writing and publication of trade press articles tied to crime scene investigations and scene documentation. Since 2007, he has focused his writing specifically on articles about crime and vehicle crash scene documentation, methodology and particularly the technology advancements that have occurred. Mr. Galvin has worked with vendors offering software and technology products that enable law enforcement agencies and crash/crime scene reconstructionists to record evidence, data, and contents at vehicle crash scenes and crime scenes. These vendors offer specific solutions, including: total station (an electronic instrument that measures sloping distance of object to instrument, horizontal and vertical angles—originally for land surveying, but now used for measuring vehicle crash and crime scenes), 2D/3D diagramming software, and 3D laser scanners. In addition to working with several companies as a public relations specialist and manager, Mr. Galvin built and managed his own public relations/writing services consulting firm which was operated from 1989 to 2018. In those years during which his articles about crash and crime scene documentation were published, Mr. Galvin interviewed a multitude of law enforcement, public safety, forensic and crime investigation professionals, including: crime scene investigators, crime detectives, snipers, S.W.A.T. Operators, criminalists, arson investigators, police chiefs, sheriff's deputies who investigate crime scenes, vehicle crash and crime scene reconstructionists, and forensic experts.