move. And check the undersides of heavy objects like tables, chairs, and other furniture. It is natural for finger
contact to take place when lifting or moving them.
When a latent print is found, the first - always the first - thing to do is to photograph it. Only after a print
has been photographed should you try other means to preserve the print. Always include a ruler in photographs of
fingerprint evidence. Photographic techniques such as using reflected light at various angles, filters, and different
types of film may be needed to make a photograph of value. And back-lighting through a pane of glass has been
successful with even the faintest of latent prints.
Note exactly where, when, by whom, and on what objects latent prints are found. Mark even partial prints
for orientation if you can. From a print's location you may be able to tell which hand made the fingerprint. If you
find two or three prints, it is often possible to tell which fingers made them.
When searching indoors for footprints, first darken the room. Then use a flashlight to search floors,
window sills, and furniture. Oblique lighting often makes it possible to see prints that cannot be seen with
ordinary or direct light. Footprints on carpets can be photographed. Good results have been gotten by using a
high contrast film and a high contrast paper for the print. Prints made by dirt sticking to shoes can be lifted by
using large sheets of fingerprint lifting tape, gelatin print lifters, or the electrostatic dust print lifter.
If a firearm was discharged, pellets or bullets may be lodged in ceilings, walls, furniture or flooring. When
taking a bullet from its resting place, you must use care not to mutilate any identifiable features. Record exact
details as to location and condition of the bullet, type material it pierced, and depth of penetration. Note
irregularities of size and shape, and approximate angle of impact. Also note any other information which may
help the laboratory examiner. Note in your crime scene sketch the point at which each discharged bullet or fired
cartridge case was found.
Tool marks are preserved even if no tools are found at the crime scene. The tools that made the marks may
be found later. Check every door, window, and other opening that may have been used as a means of entry or
exit. Tool marks are likely to be discovered at these points, especially if forcible entry or exit has been made.
Pay close attention to broken, forced, or cut locks, latches, and bolts, and the area around them. Also examine
safes, cabinets, desks, chairs, tables, or ladders for marks. Search the entire scene and beyond for the tool that
may have been used.
The hardest evidence to locate at the crime scene is hairs and fibers. The search must be thorough, detailed,
and exacting. Obvious locations to search include headgear and clothing. Pay special attention to linings,
pockets, and cuffs. Another place to search is the victim's body, especially in sex crimes. Check underneath the
fingernails. Also check any upholstered surface at the crime scene.