New York State Police

Crime Prevention:
School Crime Scene Management

In July 2000, Governor Pataki signed the SAVE legislation. The legislation requires schools to develop policies and procedures to secure and restrict access to a crime scene in order to preserve evidence in cases of violent crimes on school property.

How to avoid contaminating crime scene evidence

Crime scenes often have some of the most important evidence - evidence that is critical in criminal cases. Only trained professionals, called Crime Scene Technicians, should collect and preserve the evidence.

Crime Scene Technicians say the biggest problem that they encounter is crime scene contamination. Therefore, before the professionals arrive, it is paramount that the crime scene remain as uncontaminated as possible.

There steps that can be taken by people who are the first to arrive at the scene to help protect the evidence.

The following should guide schools in developing policies and procedures to manage school crime scenes. (Police agencies can be contacted to assist with additional education and training.)

Since school employees will be first at a school crime scene, it is recommended that a person from the school staff be designated to manage the crime scene prior to police arrival.

The acronym "RESPOND" should help school personnel remember how best to manage a school crime scene to minimize contamination. The letters in the acronym represent the words respond, evaluate, secure, protect, observe, notify and document.