It’s Not “C.S.I.”–Why Crime Investigations Take Longer In Real Life


When a crime happens, law enforcement officers often secure the scene with yellow tape, but what really happens behind the tape? From blood spatter to bullet holes, crime scenes can be complex, and they don't come with a road map, says the Miami Herald. Evidence is collected, the victim or victims are identified, family members are notified, and then comes the hard part: Figuring out who did it. While TV shows have crimes solved in an hour, actually less with commercials, detectives say they can't even begin their investigation for hours after the incident to prevent “contaminating a crime scene.”

“It's not like Hollywood,” said Alvaro Zabaleta, a Miami-Dade police spokesman. “Things don't happen that fast.” Says Sunny Isles Beach Police Chief Fred Maas: “You get the Reader's Digest condensed version for the purposes of a one-hour TV show. For us it can be 6-8-10 hours of collecting evidence, logging it and cataloging it before we are done. And that's only the beginning.” For Broward Sheriff's Office Homicide Detective Sgt. Scott Champagne, the “CSI effect” has had a massive impact on the public's perception of how crimes are solved. When it comes to trials, jurors often ask why it took so long to solve a case. In reality, Zabaleta says, “The main thing people have to understand is time is on our side. There is no reason to rush and possibly make mistakes. It isn’t just to solve the case, it's also to prosecute.”

Comments are closed.