Crime Scene Investigation or CSI as you may know it, because of the television show has become one of the most popular programs on network TV in the last few years. The original show also spawned the programs CSI: Miami and CSI: NY. Those shows are created and produced by Anthony E. Zuiker. This article isn’t about how to create a television show, but I wanted to point out the popularity of a career based on the general public’s knowledge about it from television. When the movie Top Gun was released in 1986, it helped the Navy and Air Force boost their recruitment. CSI has no doubt sparked interest in crime scene investigating and forensic science. Everybody wants to be in a field that is demanding, not just because of the allure but because a career that is being sought after has many benefits. What does it take to become a crime scene investigator? A college degree is not required but it can help to move you towards the list of people that will be considered for such a career. If you have a formal education, you’ll also need to add other skills to your resume. Photography, computer skills and drafting are all essential in crime scene investigation. Just like the television show CSI, the people involved in gathering evidence also are able to process it and that includes a general knowledge of forensic science. Some on the job training will be provided by the employer and if you want to extend your knowledge of crime scene investigation, it wouldn’t hurt to visit a body shop to see how a car door is removed. This way you gain a better understanding of what goes into collecting evidence. Some applicants will even ride with police officers or emergency medical technicians (EMT) to get a first hand look at crime and science. Those who spend time in a morgue will no doubt become familiar with what may become a regular scene of the human body. Why become a crime scene investigator? Good question! Do you like science, or do you like gathering evidence to help solve crimes? Does medical curiosity draw you in? All of those aspects go into crime scene investigation. So you need to ask yourself are you willing to investigate it further. You will be able to learn about other jobs while you are a crime scene investigator. You will work with local law enforcement, hospitals, medical labs and even law offices to present evidence. Each area listed above uses crime scene investigators. You’ll primarily learn to gather evidence and process the crime scene. You will also be working with a team. If you’re the type of person who likes working alone, this might not be the best career choice. Crime scene investigation can really be an exciting career for those that love the type of work described above. If you are interested, I urge you to investigate it further. You can do this by visiting websites that cover CSI in more detail. Note: You are free to reprint or republish this article. The only condition is that the Resource Box should be included and the links are live links.
Discovering that someone you love is embroiled in crime is devastating. When actress Anne Hathaway found out in 2008 that her former boyfriend, Raffaello Follieri, had been arrested in connection with a multimillion-dollar property scam two weeks after they’d broken up, she admitted it felt as though ‘a rug had been pulled out from under me’. She spent months avoiding the media’s incessant questions about the man she’d been romantically involved with for four years – a man who’d bought her extravagant jewellery, which the police confiscated to be used as evidence in Follieri’s trial. She wasn’t there to support him in court when he was sentenced to five years in jail and is only now starting to talk about her traumatic ordeal. What do you do if someone you love is involved in crime? Should you support them through the inevitable fallout? Drug Mania Jane, 29, a journalist, lost her friend Anya to heroin five years ago. ‘Anya and I clicked immediately when we met at a club in my second year at varsity, and became inseparable. We experimented with drugs but I decided I didn’t like what they did to me so I stopped. Within a year, Anya was doing drugs such as cocaine and crystal meth every day. I found excuses not to visit her on weekends, because she also started dealing. I always felt unsafe around her – I worried we’d get arrested or get into a bad situation with one of her dealer contacts. I begged her to get out of the scene but she wouldn’t listen. I then went overseas for six months. We stayed in contact and I fooled myself into thinking she’d kicked her addiction.’ But Jane was wrong, as she discovered when she visited Anya shortly after returning home. ‘She looked awful but she was happy to see me – and to celebrate she smoked what I thought was crystal meth. Then she told me it was heroin and offered me some. I felt sick to my stomach – it was the ultimate betrayal of our friendship. She then told me she was dealing heroin and that I’d meet all her connections later that night. I made an excuse to get out of there as quickly as possible. I ignored her phone calls from that day and eventually she stopped calling. A year later she called me begging for help: she was in Prison for drug possession. I felt guilty but I refused to help her – she’d gone too far. I called her family instead. Another year later she called me out of the blue again and promised she was clean. She wanted to visit me, so I said she could. Two days after that her brother phoned to tell me she’d overdosed on heroin. I feel guilty to this day – maybe I could have done something to save her….’ Tough Love Taking drugs is never acceptable, even if it’s experimental or for recreational use. It’s illegal and involves the user in the drug subculture, exposing him or her to drug dealers and crime. When you discover a loved one is doing drugs you should confront them immediately – for your safety and theirs. Inform the family and friends, and organize a group intervention. Before the intervention get together with the other participants to prepare what you’re going to say. When you confront the person be prepared for denial, and plot how you will deal with this. Although tough love is a difficult road with tough choices, it’s the only way to deal with an addict. You can’t trust drug addicts – they spend years covering up lies and crimes, and they’re inherently manipulative. Tough love makes an addict take full responsibility for his or her behavior and its negative consequences. You’ll need to set disciplinary guidelines – for instance, the need to go to rehab. Other rules should include not allowing him or her to hang out with druggie ‘friends’. You need to make the addict’s life difficult so he or she sees the consequences of bad behavior. One of your tough-love agreements could be that the addict undergoes drug tests once a month. While in rehab he or she will also be tested randomly. If he or she chooses recovery, remember this is not a quick-fix solution – recovery is a lifelong process. Join a support group for family and friends of addicts, or talk to a counselor to help you through this time. It’s also important to realize the person needs to go through this process alone. You can’t want to save the addict and become overly emotionally involved in his or her battle. You must establish distance between you. It’s normal to feel guilty and blame yourself for the addict’s troubles – he or she may even play the blame game with you. But it was the addict’s choice, not yours. He or she needs to regain your trust, not the other way around. If the person refuses to get help, doesn’t stick to the rehab program, continues to use drugs or transgresses any of the rules you’ve agreed on, let go – even if this means he or she is going to die. If he or she is dealing drugs or committing crimes to fuel the habit it’s also time to let go. Report it to the police and lay a charge if he or she steals from you. Let him or her sit in jail – this is the only way to emphasize the negative consequences of such behavior. If the addict doesn’t learn, he or she will sink even further. Always remember to keep yourself safe emotionally, physically and psychologically. Criminal Secrets Charmaine, 26, an administrative clerk, was devastated when she found out her husband, Craig, an alarm technician, was involved in fraud and theft. ‘I knew something was wrong when he started spending a lot of time with a new group of friends more than three years ago. I didn’t like them at all – they seemed very dodgy. I found out later that they had persuaded him to bypass alarm systems he’d installed in offices so they could steal computers. The first time I found out about his life of crime was when the police showed up at my office. They told me what Craig was involved in and asked whether I knew where he was. I was completely shocked: I knew he was in with a bad group of friends but I didn’t think he was capable of committing a crime. He’d always been very good at his job so I couldn’t believe that he’d jeopardize it. I told them I didn’t know where he was – at the time Craig and I weren’t living together because our marriage was falling apart. But I called him later to tell him the police were after him and to find out whether it was true. I told him he had a choice either to continue to live a life of crime or stop. He begged me not to tell the police where he was, and I didn’t, but they arrested him shortly afterwards. I was so angry with him but I decided to try to support him even though he’d betrayed me and his children, because I wanted the kids to know their father. His court case was very difficult for me – he was eventually sentenced to nine years in Prison. I think this was the best thing that could have happened to him – he’s accepting responsibility for what he’s done. He’s turned his life around and is earning money teaching other prisoners how to read and write. He has apologized to me but I won’t ever trust him again. I’ll always wonder what he’s hiding.’ Moral Code When faced with the reality of a loved one’s criminal activities it’s important never to compromise yourself or your moral code for his or her sake, as you may eventually harbor feelings of self-blame, guilt and resentment towards the person. If you feel severely violated because of the crime, acknowledge your feelings to yourself first. You need to decide where you stand. For example, if you want to keep quiet about the crime, is it something you can live with for the rest of your life? Has the person hurt others – and can you live with that responsibility? And if you report him or her to the police, can you live with the consequences? Speak to someone you trust – perhaps they can help you with your decision and to get perspective. When you confront the criminal, do it calmly, but expect him or her to react with disbelief and defensiveness. Let him or her know you want to be supportive but only if he or she is open and honest. Offer emotional support and tangible ways to tackle the situation honestly, ethically and constructively. If he or she becomes abusive, leave and get to safety. If the offender has never been involved in crime before, he or she may have tangible reasons that ‘pushed’ him or her into the criminal activities. But whatever the excuses for engaging in these activities, you knowing about the crime involves you in it too. You can encourage the person to report the crime. If he or she shows willingness to mend his or her ways and you decide not to inform the police, it’s important for both you and the criminal to seek therapy individually and together. Just remember that nothing is going to change magically. If, however, the person refuses to stop, and if his or her lifestyle is in direct conflict with your value system, it’s time to cut that person out of your life. He or she will eventually bring you down with his or her activities and could put you in harm’s way as a result of being involved with other criminals. Report the person to the police when he or she is a danger to him – or herself and to you or others. Never jeopardize or compromise yourself in any way.
Corporate crime? I’m not sure that there is such a thing. If we want to reduce the crimes that are given that lable, we need to quit handing out large punitive fines to corporations. The idea isn’t as radical as it sounds. First of all, when I say that there isn’t such a thing as corporate crime, I simply mean that it is always individual people who commit crimes. With that in mind, you can imagine what my better way to reduce this crime is: Go after the criminals! Who Pays For Corporate Crime? Exactly who pays when a large corporation is fined for breaking the law? To begin with, the stockholders pay. Many of these are innocent retirees who have money invested with the company and had no idea they were breaking the law. Then the employees pay with the loss of jobs, if the financial situation of the company is damaged by the fines. Who doesn’t pay? Just the criminals – the individuals who chose to break the law. All crimes are committed by PEOPLE, not companies. When a company dumps poisons into the environment, a PERSON made the decision to do that (or several people). When a company steals from a pension fund or violates workers rights, INDIVIDUALS made those decisions. People commit corporate crime, not corporations! If you want to stop corporate crime, start putting the individuals who are involved in the crime in PRISON. Our current system often has company officers making cost/benefit calculations as to whether the profits from certain crimes are greater than what the occasional fines add up to. Even though laws are broken, they stand little chance of being held personally responsible. Why not hold them responsible? To fine companies for the actual costs imposed on others by a crime is appropriate. We have to clean up toxic messes, and in other cases compensate those who suffer damages. This also means that shareholders have a reason to be careful in who they elect to the board of directors. However, “punitive” fines are ridiculous unless they are levied against the individual criminals. Make the person who committed the crime pay the fine. Is this such a radical idea? I don’t think so! By the way, which do you think is more likely to deter a corporate officer from committing a crime, a fine that is paid by the company, and doesn’t even affect his salary, or ten years in jail? The answer to that gives us the answer to corporate crime.
can’t get too excited about victimless crimes, that is to say crimes in which the only victim is the person committing it. Those who want to self-destruct – provided the consequences are not shouldered by others – have the right to do it. Everyone has the moral responsibility for their own person. Crimes against others is another matter. Nobody has the right to inflict physical harm on another. Nor does anyone have the right to harm us emotionally or economically. There are degrees of damage, obviously. Defamation does not bring the harm that torture, rape or murder does. In a just world, the punishment must fit the crime. Perfect justice must begin with absolute proof of guilt. Such is often not the case as evidenced by the numerous prisoners exonerated by DNA testing. Punishment meted out unfairly is one of the cruelest forms of torture. The desire to give innocence every chance to emerge is perhaps in large measure the reason our criminal justice system often bogs down with technicalities and loopholes. If a person is guilty of violent crime what do we do then? The first step in a rational approach is to decide whether we want violent criminals to be free to roam our streets. We could be “kind and understanding” and let them go after a little counseling. But the evidence does not demonstrate that works. To be safe we’d all have to arm ourselves as increasing numbers of violent criminals roamed the streets. If we are to protect ourselves from such criminals, there are two logical choices: 1. We lock them away in a box six feet under ground after executing them. The most just way to do the killing is exactly the way they did it to their victim. That is a permanent solution, sure and just but it makes me uneasy since there is almost always the question of true guilt. 2. We lock them away in some type of secure institution. Since I am trying to come up with a logical solution, that institution would not be our present prison system. The second option leaves room for the possibility of exoneration with new exculpatory evidence. But if not prison, what? Criminals should be put on secure restitution work farms instead. There they will toil producing useful labor or goods for society commensurate with the damage they have done. The victim’s medical bills, lost work and incapacities must be paid for by the offender. Moreover, all the costs to society for investigations, trials and room and board while incarcerated must be paid. (A great motivation for those guilty to admit it and reduce the legal costs.) The time it takes for economic restitution would by and large dictate the length of the term. For example, if you attack another, incapacitating them, then you get to spend whatever time is necessary earning the money to take care of them. Those who take another’s life must substitute their own life with a lifetime of productive work to repay society and the victim’s family. Isn’t this an obvious solution? Mere imprisonment with society picking up the tab for the police and legal work and the maintenance of the criminal is nuts. Why should the victim and society pay for the evils of the wrongdoer? How do you force someone in prison to work off his or her debt? Give them a choice. Either do it or go without food and shelter. That is the law that works throughout nature so why not apply it to humans? How do you maintain discipline on the farm? Well, a hard day’s work will leave little energy for much more than rest. As it is now, prisoners sitting in cells all day have nothing other to do with their energy than scheme more wrongdoing. With my idea those who are a problem get penalized with an extension of their stay and longer work shifts. This is a fair and just way to deter crime and offset the damage created by it. It does not have the potential of unjustly taking the life of another since time would be provided for proof of innocence. And I’m not talking chain gang here, but rather passable work and living conditions with the product of labor going where it should, to the victims and society. U.S. companies are always looking for a cheaper labor force. Well here it is, right on our own shores numbering in the tens of thousands. There is nothing better to sober someone up and drain them of the energy to think up nefarious deeds than a hard day’s work. For minor offenders who have a stint in these restitution farms and are then released, they will know what work is, actually improve their resume, spread the word on the street that crime means hard work and be motivated not to return. If they repeat offend, then society will not be the one to suffer. Criminals should be self-maintaining, even a profit center rather than an economic sinkhole. Our present penal system does not work. It is a huge and unjust cost to society. To many it neither serves as punishment nor deterrent. About three quarters of all U.S. prison space has been built in the last decade. Just in California the chances that a person either lives or works in a prison is 1 in 200.
Are we all likely targets for crime? You would be correct, to some extent, if you answered this question in the affirmative. There is no one person that is immune from crime, but there are segments of our society who stand a greater chance of a run in with a criminal or criminal act. These segments would benefit most by being familiar with ways to avoid being crime’s targets. Recommended is that this group [as should all] become familiar with crime through crime reports and the recommendations contained therein. Obtaining some self-defense devices and learning how to use this technology is likewise, recommended. Well, who are the people that make up this segment of our population and why are they more vulnerable? They are more likely to be a victim of crime for various reasons including there age, their occupation, the time of day they work and the area in which they live. This list is not inclusive and there are plenty of combinations of scenarios that would also make a person more vulnerable. Here is a short list of examples of groups of people and their occupations that would benefit from modern personal self-defense technology: • Senior citizens • Night Shift Workers • Taxi drivers • Disabled persons • Delivery drivers • Babysitters • Postal employees • Bar maids • Joggers • Tourist • Retail clerks • Students • Health workers The above list is far from exhaustive and the groups named in the list should be obvious to anyone giving it some thought. We would hope that our communities would get the word out to this segment of the population, but we know that is not always going to be the case. In actuality, we must depend less on these agencies [including the police] to give us continuing and proper protection because their plates are full and they can only do so much. Sometimes we will have to take the matter and precautions into our own hands. Now is the time to give people the necessary tools and information they need to protect themselves and their loved ones.
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