In the late 19th century Sir Arthur Conan Doyle opened our eyes to the world of crime scene investigation. A Study in Scarlet introduced us to Sherlock Holmes, a cunning detective who always found out the truth. Many detective stories, movies and series have since followed, but how close to reality are these portrayals of crime scene investigation? It’s time to find out the truth, the truth in detecting myths.

 

As of today the popular ongoing American TV series CSI has over 300 episodes. Detective agencies use forensic science and modern technologies to find out the truth.
It all seems very realistic, but the reality of crime scene investigation is very different. In stories and series detectives usually enter the scene of the crime and begin collecting evidence.
However, in reality a lot more preparation has to take place. Paper work and planning has to be completed before anyone can enter the crime scene. Then the investigator must put on a protective suit, goggles and mask to prevent contamination of any potential evidence.

 

In Murder on the Orient Express Detective Poirot collects evidence and then begins interviewing his  suspects. In real life crime scene investigation the job of Poirot could take up to 40 people to complete. Evidence is collected and sent to the laboratory where it is tested by scientists.

The interviewing of suspects would be done by a completely different team of experts. The search for the truth can take months, even years, in fact there is no guarantee that the truth will be found at all.

 

Despite these ‘detecting myths’, the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and CSI have also greatly influenced the way crime scene investigation is done today. Through the writers’ imagination, new detecting ideas and techniques have been adopted by the real world, inspiring a new generation of detectives with a hunger for the truth.

 

TO GO FURTHER
1) Create a class crime scene. Tell your pupils about a crime that has been committed the previous evening in the classroom.
2) Divide the pupils into detectives and suspects..
3) Give your suspects 5 minutes to create a common alibi.
4) Give your detective 5 minutes to create as many questions as possible.
5) Pair up detectives and suspects and allow your detectives to interview the suspects.
6) Come together as a class and decide who is the guilty suspect!