Police are advising witnesses and victims of crimes to not tamper with crime scenes.
Linden police recently responded to a business robbery and upon their arrival, they discovered that there was very little evidence they could collect in order to launch a successful case.
This was due to the fact that after the robbery had taken place, the business carried on with daily operations as usual, which resulted in gross tampering with the crime scene.
Spokesperson for Linden Police Station, Constable Takalani Matumba said, “People need to know not to tamper with a crime scene. This impacts the evidence we collect and results in people saying the police aren’t doing their job.”
In order to ensure that potential witnesses and victims of crime do not tamper with crime scenes, Fidelity ADT community development manager, Linda Reeder shared the following tips:
- Do not allow anyone to go near the area of the crime scene until the police arrive. Nothing should be moved.
- With due consideration of the integrity of physical evidence, treating the injured is more important.
- Limit access to and movement around the crime scene. Secure the scene by moving bystanders to a designated area.
- If the route used by the perpetrator to get to and from the scene is known, alternative access routes to the scene need to be identified for use by emergency personnel and police.
- It is important to establish a temporary command centre or meeting point away from the scene.
- Every person present at or in the vicinity of the scene is a potential witness but not everyone wants to be a witness.
- One’s personal safety should always be one’s primary concern. In the event of a citizen’s arrest, the perpetrators must be removed from the scene and secured.
- Understand how to deal with evidence. You are not allowed to take photos – the defence will rule that out. Only official photographs will be allowed.
Reeder added that evidence which has been tampered with results in many cases being thrown out of court. She said, “Every person can play an invaluable role in ensuring criminals are put behind bars.”