Why crime scene is important for investigators? What are the crime scene search patterns?

Why crime scene is important for investigators? What are the crime scene search patterns

CSS Solved Criminology Past Papers | Define Why the crime scene is important for investigators? What are the crime scene search patterns?

The following question is attempted by Sobia Kausar, the top scorer in the CSS Criminology paper. Moreover, the answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question Breakdown

 In this question, the examiner has asked two things to explain. Firstly, elucidate the significance of crime for investigators who are carrying out the investigations of the occurred felony. Secondly, he is asking about the crime scene patterns which are usually utilized by investigators to solve the mystery behind the crime scene. So in this context, examiners want to check your knowledge related to investigation evidence along with the blend of present crime scene search patterns. In order to answer this question, you must have to raise at least 8 to 10 arguments with valid and relevant evidence and vice versa. In this question, I will discuss both sides of the question. Moreover, if you want to fetch a good score in criminology, then it is pertinent to apply relevant theories so that your question get maximum weightage and fetches you good marks. Furthermore, I have written a comprehensive and brief outline and solved the question to help you break such questions down, deal with them, and attempt them on paper. If you read it carefully, you will know how I scored the highest marks on the paper.


1- Introduction

2- What is the investigation, and who is crime scene investigator?

3- Importance of crime scene investigation

  • Evidence Collection
  • Reconstruction of events
  • Identify potential witnesses.
  • Elimination of Suspects
  • Provide a sense of the perpetrator’s motives and behaviours.

4-Crime Scene Search Patterns

  • Zonal Method
  • Strip Method
  • Line Search
  • Grid Method
  • Spiral Method (Outward Spiral & Inward Spiral)
  • Wheel Search Method
  • Random Search

5- Conclusion

Answer to the Question


The investigation is the backbone of the criminal justice system. A high standard of proof can only be achieved if the evidence is properly collected, secured, and documented at the stage of the investigation. So that it can, later on, be produced in court to prove charges against the accused. Crime scenes are very important for investigators as they provide critical information and evidence regarding suspects, which will help them in solving the case. Various techniques are used by investigators to solve the crime scene. Search patterns used in crime scene investigation must be done in the best way so that it can not leave any loophole in a criminal investigation.

What is the investigation and who is the crime scene investigator?

  • Investigation

Section 4 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code ( Cr. P.C) defines investigation,

“An investigation is a multidisciplinary approach that involves systematic and logical thinking and requires a minute and detailed inspection. It includes observation, examination, and fact-finding inquiry of witnesses. An investigation is a rigorous process based on evidence.”

  • Crime Scene Investigator

A crime scene investigator is a person who is sometimes called a forensic science technician and crime scene specialist. He is the person in the law enforcement departments who helps police in getting evidence to assist in criminal investigation procedures.

Source Google

Importance of crime scene investigation for Investigators

Crime scene investigation is important for investigators because initial scrutiny is important before the registration of the case. It helps investigators in the process of gathering, preparing, preserving, and analysing evidence to assess whether a crime occurred.

Here are some reasons why crime scene investigation is significant for investigators.

  • Evidence Collection

The first and foremost thing investigators do is the collection of evidence. They carefully search and collect evidence such as fingerprints, DNA fibres, and other materials which can be proved useful in solving cases later on.

  • Reconstruction of Events

Evidence collected by investigation provides necessary information about the crime scene such as what happened, when, and how it occurred. By analysing all the puzzles of the crime, investigators can reconstruct events, establish timelines, and identify potential suspects.

  • Identify Potential Witnesses

In most cases, the witness is usually present around or near the crime scene. The investigator must identify the witness and interview him or her with all the important details related to the crime scene. All the information given by the witness will prove beneficial for solving the case.

  • Elimination of Suspects

Investigators use the crime scene to eliminate potential suspects by comparing their DNA, fingerprints, or other evidence found at the scene.

Crime Scene Search Patterns

Crime scene search patterns that are utilized by the investigators are as follows.

  • Zonal Method

This method applies to both indoor and outdoor crimes. In this method, the crime scene is divided into different zones. The number of zones depends upon the complexity and size of the crime. Different people will be employed in individual zones and will search their zones thoroughly for the shreds of evidence normally as well as using different techniques (UV/IR/Video). After searching in their zones, the zones will be exchanged to check the accuracy and double-check for any missing items. This method cannot apply to very squeezed and complex crime scenes like elevators, lift shafts, or stairs.

Source Google
  • Strip or Parallel Method

            In this method, the virtual strips or lines are imagined walking through the crime scene and look for the pieces of evidence. This method is best for crime scenes like classrooms, where rows are present already, and each row can be considered as a strip. Also, the minimum number of personnel is required for this method. One person will start the walk-through from one corner of the strip and will move toward the other looking for the evidence. The walk-through should be slow and thorough.

Source Google
  • Grid Method ( Two Parallel Strips)

It is the same as the strip method; the only difference is that two strips are considered to form a grid. Again, only two people can do the searching walking through on separate strips and then will switch their strips for more accuracy. It is a good method for large indoors and outdoors crime scenes.

Source Google
  • Spiral Method 

This is well suited for larger indoor and outdoor crime scenes with fewer obstacles (like furniture etc.). The searcher will start either from the centre of the room (outward) or the periphery (inward) search as shown in the images below. Also, two investigators can search together, one moving from the centre towards the periphery and the other one vice versa.

Source Google
  • Wheel Search Method

This method is only applicable to larger outdoor scenes like fields, deserts, or other such open areas. It is like the zonal method; however, the wheel is divided into various zones depending on the size of the crime scene. Different individuals will be employed in separate zones and then switch their zone for more accuracy. The investigators or the searchers can begin from the epicentre moving towards their zones to complete the search, and then returning to the epicentre for the discussion or collection procedures.

Source Google
  • Random Search Method

This is the most common method employed by investigators, because of the feasibility at any location. No above-mentioned rule is to be followed for this method. It is also advisable to consider this method on complex crime scenes.

 Case in Point: Understanding the Importance of Crime scene From Noor Mukhadam Murder Case in Islamabad:

The crime scene had prime importance to find that Zahir Jaffer killed Noor. Meanwhile, the party has tried its best to show it was not murder. However, police discovered many things at the crime scene.

The Punjab Forensic Science Agency confirmed the following findings:

  1. DNA evidence confirmed that Noor was raped before being killed.
  2. Noor made every possible attempt to save her life before being killed. Zahir’s DNA, i.e. skin, was recovered under Noor’s nails.
  3. The shirt worn by and recovered from Zahir was stained with Noor’s blood. Her DNA was found on Zahir’s shirt.
  4. Noor was killed with the Swiss knife recovered from the crime scene. DNA, i.e. Noor’s blood, was found on the blade and handle of the Swiss knife.
  5. Noor was also attacked with the knuckle punch recovered from the crime scene. DNA, i.e. Noor’s blood, was found on the knuckle punch. “These are very strong pieces of forensic evidence, and the investigation team is committed to seeking justice for Noor Mukadam


To conclude, an investigation is very crucial for investigators to solve the crime. It provides all the necessary information and evidence required for solving the mystery behind crime occurrence. With the help of this, investigators connect events and make fruitful decisions. For this purpose, various methods such as the zonal method, wheel search method, etc are employed by the investigators to reach the main culprit behind the crime scene.

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