A Criminal investigation is an applied science that involves the study of facts used to identify, locate and prove the guilt of the perpetrator. When all these factors are considered and successfully executed, then it is safe to conclude that a crime has been solved. There are vast numbers of offenses that are committed every day. Thistherefore calls for the need to classify them into different categories for criminal investigation. For example, the local police department generally investigates local homicide while secret service unit investigates counterfeit currency crimes.
Important view on the criminal investigation process is usually provided by the evidence theory. According to this theory, the criminal investigation process is compared to a battle between the police and the criminal over the relevance of evidence provided. The perpetrator tends to leave behind important information in relation to the crime such as fingerprints, murder weapons and eye witnesses (Douglas et al 2014). The police then take advantages of such details and collect information through investigative measures. If the perpetrators manage to commit the crime without leaving evidence behind, they are apprehended. If the police manage to collect enough evidence against the perpetrator, then they will be identified and taken into custody.
Crimes are always defined by the governing law of a nation. Any behaviour prohibited by the state or are seen as harmful to the society under governing laws are considered as crimes. Any individual who engages in these prohibited acts may be found guilty of a crime and shall, therefore, be executed in a criminal court of law. In the recent society, people are well informed of all types of crimes since the trials are always highly publicized through media channels. There are several types of crimes although they can be categorized into four bodies, which are the personal crime, inchoate crime, property crimes and statutory crimes (Douglas et al., 2013).
Personal crimes can be defined as offenses committed against an individual, which may result in physical or mental harm to the offended. Such offenses include assault,battery, false imprisonment, kidnapping, homicide and sexual assault (Fisher & Fisher, 2012). When conducting an investigation on personal crimes, the following factors must be put into considerations, the victim, the suspect, and the crime scene. Information and evidence are always primarily gathered from these sources. The police are also compelled to consider other sources of the witnesses and any other available information (Braithwaite, 2013). In cases like homicide and sexual assault, the police first have to attend to and preserve any evidence available on the victim. The police then secure the crime scene and take the suspect into custody should they be found at the crime scene.
Inchoate crimes which are also referred to as unfinished crimes are acts that involve an individual desire or tendency of committing or indirectly taking part in criminal offenses. Unlike in the past where inchoate offenses were considered as minor crimes, recent laws outline some of these offenses as major are categorized under a felony. Inchoate crimes are attempts, conspiracy, and solicitation to actually commit a crime. In regards to this type of crimes, a thorough investigation must be conducted and a person can only be charged if found guilty. The suspect can only be charged with one or the other offense not unless he committed both offenses (Fisher & Fisher, 2012). The authorities may acquire evidence by searching the suspect, his belongings and gathering information from reliable witnesses and once evidence is found, the suspect is charged in a criminal law court.
Property crimes relate to theft and destruction to someone else’s property. They vary from lower levels such as shoplifting and vandalism to higher levels as arson and armed robbery. The first authorities to respond are the most critical to any investigations on property crimes since they are able to document the crime scene while still at its purest level. First, the authorities have to document the crime scene, identify witnesses and gather proper information. The authorities can then obtain a detailed description of stolen or destroyed property, and publish the described suspect; they may also consider other investigative channels such as points of entrance and exit.
Statutory crime is defined by law as one that is not fundamentally wrong but it is still considered as illegal since it is forbidden by law. Such offenses include over speeding, public intoxication as well as fishing and hunting withouta permit from authorities. When an individual is found with such an offense, they are normally taken into custody for questioning and may be released on cash bail (Fisher & Fisher, 2012)In the process of investigations, a perpetrators license may be revoked until the case is closed.
Although there are several types of criminal offenses, most of their investigation processes share a common procedure. Before a suspect is prosecuted, the authorities will always conduct a pre-arrest investigation immediately the complaints have been launched. Once law enforcements determine that a crime has actually taken place and the suspect has been identified the authorities may then take the suspect into custody (Fisher& Fisher, 2012) Generally, after an arrest the suspect appears in a court of law and depending on the level of the crime, a preliminary hearing is set by the jury.
Once charges are made whether by information or grand jury indictment the defendant is arraigned and once this is done, the defendant is formally informed of their charges and they are presented with a copy of the indictment. The defendant may then go ahead and enter a plea bargain and he may be released at this point. The defendant and the prosecutor may go further into discovery and motion process. The defendant then undergoes a trial process and should they be found guilty, the judge is allowed to sentence the defendant as per the state’s law.
Crimes have become easier to solve in the recent years through general forensics. This program is designed to prepare crime scene investigators by providing advanced training for the veterans of such cases. The training is conducted in adherence to standards of recognized national professional associations. The courses are thought mainly by the nationally known forensic experts. The course entails features of hidden evidence, crime scene photography, forensic anthropology, forensic entomology and blood stain pattern analysis (Johnson, 2013). With these modern systems of investigation, it has become easier to move a case from the crime scene to the court room.
Blood stain analysis is simply the study of bloodstain pattern discovered in a known or suspected crime scene; the analysts follow scientific processes to produce strong evidence. Crime scene photography refers to photographs taken at the scene of the crime to enable investigators to recreate the occurrence of events. Crime scene photographers are required to be both ethical and honest since photographs can be misleading (Johnson, 2013). Photographs of the crime scene, evidence found and the victims are important for conducting investigations and should be taken as many as possible from every angle.
Forensic entomology consists of studying insects and other arthropod biology in relation to criminal activities. Forensic entomology is basically linked to death cases; however, it may be used in detecting drugs and poison as well as to determine the location of an incident. Forensic anthropology is the relation of physical or biological anthropology to the legal progression. This study relates to the human body as it is used to determine the circumstances to which a crime occurred. Forensic anthropologist analyses human remains in crime investigation (Burns, 2015).
With all the national authorities working tirelessly to investigate crimes and all the new methods of determining actual crimes committed, there has been a decrease in criminal activities. For a society to be peaceful there have to be laws that govern it and they must be adhered to. The courts bring justice fairness and equality and the law protects victims and punishes those who indulge in unlawful acts (Fisher& Fisher, 2012). If we did not have laws, it would be a disaster if everyone in the society would do various actions based on their own set of principles. This simply shows that having a law that governs a society helps in maintaining a good relationship between people despite having conflicting interests. This is the only was a government can ensure that its human rights are respected. Without laws, our societies would not be in a position to function successfully. Crimes would become a daily occurrence and it would endanger the safety of our future generations.
Braithwaite, J. (2013). Inequality, Crime and Public Policy (Routledge Revivals). Routledge.
Burns, K. R. (2015). Forensic anthropology training manual. Routledge.
Douglas, J., Burgess, A. W., Burgess, A. G., & Ressler, R. K. (2013). Crime classification manual: A standard system for investigating and classifying violent crime. John Wiley & Sons.
Fisher, B. A., & Fisher, D. R. (2012). Techniques of crime scene investigation. crc Press.
Johnson, L. (2013). Computer incident response and forensics team management: