Most of us don’t come across crime scenes that often, and when we do, it’s usually because we’re the victim, or one of the victims. If, however, you come across a fresh crime scene, there are a few things you should, and shouldn’t do, to help the cops have the best chance of finding whoever did whatever happened.
The most common crime scene for us “regular folks”, if you would deign to call yourself such a thing, is a burglary. And that happens to our cars, or to our homes and/or offices. It’s that simple, really. If you suspect that you might have been burgled while you popped out for a while, or you’ve been on vacation, for example, there’s a few steps that can help you help the police help the criminal into jail. As it were. Here’s a short run-down.
Don’t Go Inside.
Whaddaya mean, “don’t go inside”? Someone touched my stuff!!
Yes, we know. Someone touched your stuff. Being burglarized is a pretty violating experience, and we’re not going to stomp all over that. But if you want your revenge, you’d better listen up.
Call the cops first. Don’t go inside, at least not just yet. Right now, you don’t know when the burglary occurred. You’re looking at a broken window, a broken front or back door, or maybe there’s just a bunch of lights on that you would never have left blazing. So before you go in, take a few steps back, and make sure there’s no one still in the house. Give it a wide berth, and check all the windows you can see, look for people moving about, and listen for sounds.
You don’t want to waltz in there and surprise someone who has a weapon. Yes, even if you also have one. It’s not worth the effort, pain, and all that dying.
When You Do Go Inside, Don’t Touch Your Stuff.
Whaddaya mean?! It’s MY stuff!
Yes, we know. It’s your stuff. That said, fingerprints remain one of the most damning pieces of evidence that the prosecution can present, aside from CCTV footage and a row of eye witnesses. And we’re guessing you don’t have that. Should’ve had some CCTV up, that’s for sure. So. Son’t touch anything. Also, the window or door that the burglar used/brok is evidence. There may even be blood, ready for the wonders of DNA testing. So stay away from that door or window, and use another way in.
Remember footprints! There could be footprints!
Get a Clear Sense of What’s Missing.
Make a list, check it twice. Or thrice, for that matter. This is important, not only so that the cops know what to ask the local pawn shop about, but also for your insurance company. And, WHEN you think about adding a little on top of the list, such as a priceless family heirloom, remember that you’ll be in deep sh!t when the cops find the rest of your stuff, and not you madey-uppey diamonds.
Write down your list, take photos of where it was standing/sitting/hidding/whatever, and make a file for your insurance company. By this time, hopefully the cops have been there, are there, or will be there within seconds. Expect a gentle ribbing for being in the house at all. Show them your findings, and make sure they dust for prints, get an ACCURATE list of missing items and their approximate worth (this probably shouldn’t be on it). Don’t take shortcuts on this. Also, if you see things out of place which may have been moved, point it out to the cops, so they can check for prints’n’stuff. Cops miss things too, and you know your home better than anyone else.
That’s pretty much all you can do, unless you have shady connections to the underworld which can point you in the right direction. Or if you’re Liam Neeson. If you are, then hello mr. Neeson. Please don’t kill us. She’s not here.