A 3D Laser Scanning System – How It Can Benefit Law Enforcement

A 3D Laser Scanning System – How It Can Benefit Law Enforcement

In TV crime dramas, detectives often discover the evidence necessary to solve a crime by serendipity. But in real life, crime investigations that lack the necessary evidence often stay that way. Instead of receiving a miracle telephone call or having a momentous epiphany, detectives that investigate cases whose information is obscure often see them go cold. In some instances, obscure crime scene information is the result of little evidence found at the scene. But in other cases, a body of poor crime scene evidence can be the fault of investigators, but not as a result of negligence.

When investigating a crime scene, detectives typically have no more than a few hours to gather information that they deem consequential, which means that they also have to imagine scenarios where seemingly inane data might prove valuable. As a result, pieces of information that would be critical to solving a crime can be overlooked. To help to avoid this scenario, law enforcement agencies from coast to coast are employing the power of laser scanning in crime scene investigations. Although typically associated with the engineering industry, a 3D laser scanning system helps investigators in the same way that it helps engineers: by gathering the precise spatial data of objects and/or environments.

Traditionally, investigators use cameras and notepads to record crime scene evidence-a process that can take hours and still not result in a complete body of information. But when using a 3D laser scanning system, investigators can scan a crime scene in a matter of minutes while capturing all visible evidence, including bullet holes, the placement of ancillary objects and blood stain patterns. As a result, investigators can contemplate a crime while viewing its 3D digital representation, and can also use scanning information to judge bullet trajectory and create crime scene animations.

Also valuable for accident scene investigations, crime-scene animations powered by scan data help detectives understand how a crime occurred, and can also prove valuable when presented to juries. Traditionally, the commission of a crime is described to the jury in words that may or may not convince them of an attorney’s position. But when attorney’s base their interpretations on objective crime-scene recreations, their power of persuasion increases. Equally valuable to the prosecution and the defense, a scanning based crime-scene animation can mean the difference between indictment and acquittal.

Due to the impact of laser scanning on crime-scene investigations, some law enforcement agencies decide to buy their own scanning equipment. But agencies that lack the budget for scanning equipment or who wish to see the effect of scanning before purchasing scanning equipment have the option of hiring 3D scanning providers, which offer a variety of scanning services, scanning equipment, and often travel nationally and/or globally due to the portability of most scanning equipment.