While we’re still on fingerprint-related topic, I’d like to touch on the question raised by the following person:
I had my house broken into one day while I was out with my wife. I discovered that some of our stuff were missing, but fortunately our valuables were well hidden away. We called the police immediately and waited for them to arrive. A pair of officers came. One of them looked around, presumably to assess the crime scene, while the other took down our statements. I noticed that the officer that was looking around did not dust for any fingerprints. They left after taking down our report.
Is this normal? How come it was nothing like I see on CSI?
To answer your question, hate to disappoint you, but yes. Many people assumed that what they see on TV is exactly as it is in real life – officers would come and dust for prints at every single crime scene. Unfortunately, in the real world, we need to consider the practicality of the situation. There’s the issue of lack of manpower, training, time, budget and priorities.
In spite all their best efforts, not every law enforcement agency in any country is able to afford either time or equipment to perform these tasks. Partly because they are either understaffed or some of their officers lack the required training for crime-scene work. Also, assess the level of seriousness of the crime (not to belittle the victim) – if there are no serious injuries or if the amount that was stolen was below minimum, then it does not require a full processing… unless there’s a homicide involved. With regards to this method as requiring a certain luxury of manpower, certainly its effective usage is reserved for cases which are more than trivial.
So to reiterate, it all boils down to common sense and practicality when utilizing personnels and equipments for the application of these methods. Furthermore, the costs of which must be considered when dealing with minor cases as processing a crime scene can be taxing and time consuming. However that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged from reporting a break-in to your friendly neighbourhood lawmen, you must. There will be the day when the perp responsible will get apprehended at another scene of crime, and your report could help if it’s related.
- FAQ – Why didn’t they dust for prints? (this is a good read with further explanations)
- Someone else had the same burning question too!