Weekend Crime Prevention Tips: Health and safety for civilians at crime scenes

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Weekend Crime Prevention Tips: Health and safety for civilians at crime scenes
Forensic officers examine the corpse of a homicide scene. * File photo

 

Forensic officers examine the corpse of a homicide scene. The victim was Michael Joseph of Cul De Sac, Castries. He was fatally shot near the Marketing Board, Castries in April 2015.
Forensic officers examine the corpse at a homicide scene. The victim was Michael Joseph who was fatally shot near the Marketing Board, Castries in April 2015.

“Weekend Crime Prevention Tips” is a production of the Press Office of the Royal St Lucia Police Force.

Crime prevention means being aware of your environment and remaining alert to situations that could make you vulnerable to crime. We cannot list specific measures that will protect you from every threatening situation, which may arise.

Instead, we hope to teach you how to think “Crime Prevention” in day-to-day living.

Health & Safety for Civilians at Crime Scenes

1. Stay away from blood or bloody scenes
Reason: Blood and other body fluids contain potentially infectious disease-causing microorganisms (cannot be seen with the naked eye) which can infect an unknowing bystander. These infections include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C (both affect liver) and HIV

2. Keep outside of the cordon that is set up by the Police
Reason: The cordon protects the scene from the public and protects the public from the hazards of the scene. It minimizes contamination at the scene and exposure to disease-causing organisms.

3. Do not approach a scene involving gun-fire
Reason: Perpetrator(s) may be lurking around and civilians may end up being victims because the gunfire has not yet ceased or the perpetrator may target any civilian who approaches the scene.

4. Especially at burglary scenes, leave the scene undisturbed, and call the Police immediately
Reason: Tampering with/touching anything at the scene interferes with the scene, making it more difficult to investigate because of contamination. Also the civilian automatically becomes a suspect. Civilians should also be wary of sharp objects/ surfaces which can cause bodily harm. Even medically-trained civilians may try to preserve life, as is mandatory after calling 911, but they MUST also REMAIN at the scene to speak with investigators about their involvement.

5. Be careful of walking onto a crime scene.
Reason: Civilians may be exposed to harmful substances in body fluids which they transfer to their homes when they walk on or near a crime scene. Family at home now becomes exposed to the potential hazards.

This has been your weekend crime tips. Do have an enjoyable and safe weekend.

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