Crime scene analysis

The crime scene provides information to direct investigations towards investigative paths to identify the crime dynamics, its author or the victim.

The analysis of the crime scene carried out by the geoscientist allows to search, interpret, analyze and process information of geographical, environmental, geological, geomorphological, physical and chemical nature necessary to define useful elements for the investigation. With this aim, the crime scene must be preserved for optimally carrying out all phases of its analysis.


Crime scene analysis differs in method, quality, and purpose depending on whether the operators are investigators, criminals, track-finding experts and technicians or criminal profiling specialists. The different disciplines of forensic geosciences also require different approaches depending on the purpose for which the technical inspection is carried out and the purpose of the investigation.

However, regardless of the type of crime and the methods of intervention, the forensic geoscientist has a fundamental approach, common to all geosciences: to study, know and interpret the environment and the geographical, physical and geological territory in which the offence took place, in order to collect adequate informations from the environment to place them in the specific criminal context and in its real or presumed narrative.

The analysis of the territory takes place in two complementary phases ranging from macroscale to microscale:

- macroscale: reading of topographic and thematic maps and analysis of the territory through tools such as remote sensing;

- microscale: on-site survey in order to restrict the search of targets linked to crime.

The on-site technical survey involves a set of activities that have the purpose of preserving the state of places, searching of things and traces relating to the crime, useful for identifying the author of the crime and/or the victim, as well as to reconstruct the dynamics of the event and to ascertain the circumstances in which it occurred.

The activities of the technical survey are the observation and description of places and things, the planimetric layout, the video-photographic surveys, and subsequently the search and retrieval of traces and samples and their conservation.

All these activities are carried out in compliance with the international procedures adopted by the Departments of Forensic Sciences