The CSI Effect

“Crime scene investigation is the meeting point of science, logic, and law” (Layton). The jobs that are portrayed on television are not the same as what the actual jobs are.

Police officers are the first to arrive at a crime scene to secure the crime scene and arrest the perpetrator (Layton). This is not shown on crime scene television shows. The CSI unit then arrives and documents the scene in detail while collecting physical evidence. This is often just showed in the background of television shows, although it should receive more attention because of the impact it has on an investigation. The district attorney, which is hardly ever shown on television, determines what the detectives are allowed to do and determines if they will need a search warrant for their investigation (Layton). The medical examiner only comes into the investigation if it is a homicide, and may not go to the actual crime scene.

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Detectives will interview witnesses, consult with the CSI units, and follow leads to investigate the crime (“Forensic”). On television, detectives are shown doing pretty much every job, which is not accurate. There are some consultants or specialists that come and help with an investigations, however they only help with some parts that need an expert analysis (Layton). The procedures shown on television are often not shown in the proper order, or very thoroughly. The first thing done is securing the crime scene and the area around it to make sure that the evidence does not get destroyed (“Forensics”). First, the investigators document their time of arrival, and then they look for secondary crime scenes and witnesses that may still be there.

Then, they begin the investigation. When the investigation starts, they first identify and apprehend people found on and around the crime scene and keep bystanders from entering the crime scene (“Forensics”). After they secure the crime scene, investigators record the removal and movement of the evidence found, and record what type of evidence it is, where it was located, and who found it.