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The Qualities for Being a Crime Scene Investigator

by Ellie Williams, studioD

A crime scene investigator is one of the first people to examine the scene of a crime, and the evidence he collects helps determine the course of the investigation. If he disturbs the crime scene or misses a crucial clue, he could derail or delay the investigation. Because of this, crime scene investigators must be thorough, methodical and stay calm under pressure.

Analytical Skills

Evaluating a crime scene requires the patience to examine every small detail and consider the significance of each piece of potential evidence. Some clues aren’t obvious, so police rely on crime scene investigators to uncover even the smallest item that might shed light on what happened. Crime scene investigators need the ability to see how each piece of information fits into the larger puzzle and view each scene with logic and extreme attention to detail.


Crime scene investigators can’t be squeamish and must have the stomach to analyze the aftermath of violent crimes or devastating accidents. They must also remain detached, not getting emotionally involved, or allow their judgment to become clouded. Despite the brutality of the crimes they investigate, they must approach each scene methodically, focusing on unraveling the sequence of events. This can create emotional and physical stress, which can take a significant toll unless they learn to cope with the trauma they witness each day.

Communication and Teamwork

After they collect a piece of evidence, crime scene investigators must painstakingly record its location and description in detailed written reports and sketches. This documentation serves as an official record of the crime scene’s appearance, requiring accuracy and excellent written communication skills. They also need strong verbal communication skills as well as strong teamwork because they work closely with police officers and fellow forensic professionals. The rest of the investigative team relies on their contributions, so they must understand that if they don’t fulfill their duties they jeopardize the entire investigation.


Crime scene investigators never know where their work will take them. One day they might process a location outdoors in the searing summer heat, the next they might tackle a dirty scene in a dilapidated and abandoned building. They must be adaptable enough to work in even the most diverse and extreme conditions. In addition, they must sometimes work long hours, especially when analyzing mass-casualty scenes or when attempting to collect evidence before it’s contaminated by impending rain, for example or by the public, especially in locations such as office buildings or other public spaces which must quickly be re-opened

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

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