Most people only know about what a crime scene looks like from what they have seen on television or in movies. What they don’t realize is that in real life, a crime scene is much different. The television and movies show what a crime scene looks like when the police are there, but they do not realize what it looks like after the police finish with their job and release the crime scene.
There is very little that is pleasant or sterile at a crime scene. There is blood and other biological materials that are hazardous to people’s health. There is oftentimes, equipment and trash haphazardly tossed around or left behind.
The police are not the ones that will clean up after a crime scene. If the crime takes place in a business or in a home, the burden falls on the owners of the property to get it cleaned. Although crime scene cleanup is not going to erase all the memories that the crime scene creates, it is a start on the path to overcoming the mental and emotional trauma that comes with the crime.
In Houston, the victims of crime do not have to go through the process alone. There are resources that they can turn to help them start on their path back to their normal life after a crime. From cleaning up the crime scene to getting help dealing with the emotional trauma that comes with it, turning to the right people for help is an important part of the process.
Houston Crime Scene Recovery Resources
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Houston Police Department Headquarters
1200 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002
Additional Houston Police Stations
9455 W Montgomery Rd, Houston, TX 77088
8301 Ley Rd, Houston, TX 77028
8751 Broadway St # 3102, Houston, TX 77061
8605 Westplace Dr, Houston, TX 77071
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Claire Brothers Funeral Home
7901 Hillcroft St, Houston, TX 77081
Woodlawn Funeral Home & Cemetery
1101 Antoine Dr, Houston, TX 77055
Felix H. Morales Funeral Home
2901 Canal St, Houston, TX 77003
Compean Funeral Home
2102 Broadway St, Houston, TX 77012
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Mental Health America of Greater Houston
2211 Norfolk St, Suite 810, Houston, TX 77098
The Anxiety Center of Houston
13333 Dotson Rd #160, Houston, TX 77070
Northeast Mental Health Crisis Clinic
18838 S Memorial Dr Ste 106, Humble, TX 77338
The Crime Scene Process
It is very important to follow a process for a crime scene. It starts with the investigation. Investigators need to preserve all the physical evidence at the crime scene to use in the investigation. The investigators need to take a detailed account of what the crime scene looks like and what is in the crime scene. Some of the evidence they collect includes:
- Biological Materials – Blood, bodily fluids, hair and tissue samples are important pieces of evidence that require special handling.
- Latent Evidence – Footprints, fingerprints and other types of prints are found at most crime scenes.
- Other trace evidence – Broken glass, debris, vegetation, and other materials may provide information.
- Drug and Firearm evidence – Drug paraphernalia and remnants of drugs along with evidence of firearms left at the crime scene will
- provide information for the investigation.
A crime scene may contain some or all these types of evidence. It often depends on what type of crime occurred. Murder crime scenes and accidental death crime scenes may require the collection of many different types of evidence. A simple assault may not have as much to go through.
A crime scene requires careful work by the investigators. They need to make sure they protect themselves and the evidence. Some of the materials they collect at a crime scene could contain biohazards that could harm the investigators if they do not wear protective clothing. It is also important for the investigators to not contaminate the evidence as they collect it. The clothing they wear not only protects themselves, it also protects the evidence.
It is important to make sure that only authorized people enter a crime scene. To make sure this happens, yellow tapes rope off the area surrounding the crime scene. The investigators will leave behind the materials they used to protect themselves and to protect the crime scene as they finish their work.
Who Cleans Up a Crime Scene?
When you see a crime scene investigation on television, you do not get to see what happens when the investigation is complete. Someone has to come in and clean up what’s left behind at the scene of a crime. In almost every case, the burden of crime scene cleanup falls on the owner of the business or property where the crime happened.
Cleaning up a crime scene is not as simple as bringing out a mop and bucket with a handful of rags and wiping everything down. Much of the material at a crime scene is biohazardous material. That means it needs a specific type of collection and disposal to make sure that the area is clean, disinfected and sanitized. If it is not done properly, the people who return to the crime scene are at risk for many different problems.
Children and the elderly along with people who have weakened immune systems are at a higher risk to the biohazards left from a crime scene. Crime scenes where someone died that left behind bodily fluids and blood are a big risk if not cleaned properly. The biohazards are not always on the surface, they can seep into the ground or into the floor of a home and require professional cleaning services. Finding the resources in Houston for crime scene cleanup means turning to the professionals.
The Types of Crime and Death Scenes Defined
There are many different types of crime scenes. The methods used to clean the crime scenes depends on what happened. Even crime scenes where someone died can vary in the type of cleanup that occurs.
If someone dies peacefully at home surrounded by their family, the cleanup is usually a little easier than other types of death. Because this is not an unexpected death, plans for the removal of the body and cleanup are often done in advance and happen fairly quickly.
When a person dies in their home or business unattended, they may or may not be found for days or weeks. This changes the types of biohazards that are at the scene and require different methods to clean up after. It also means that there was probably no time to plan ahead to find a company that offers death cleanup services.
If the crime scene involves a violent death, the cleanup can be more difficult. There is often more blood involved and other biohazards that come from criminal activity that took place. There is also the need to clean up after the investigators from this type of crime scene, such as tear gas and fingerprint dust.
Accidental death leaves another type of death scene. Investigators need to collect the evidence from an accident to determine what happened and that can delay the cleanup. No one plans for an accident and all the delays can make the cleanup of the scene that much more difficult. It is something that requires the help of professional services.
The reason that a professional is best for crime scene cleanup is the danger of biohazards. Some may think that they can simply come in with soap and water and a little bleach to remove the biohazards left at a crime scene. They do not realize that cleaning the surface does not get rid of all the biohazards found at a crime scene. Some of the biohazards that the professional crime scene cleaners deal with include:
- Animal and Human Waste – A crime scene is a place where violent activity can happen. When a person dies a violent death, they often discharge human waste. Human and animal waste can contain microbes that cause many different types of infectious diseases that require cleaning such as hepatitis, polio, typhoid, and cholera. Removal of the waste products and sanitizing of the area is a very important step in the cleanup of a crime scene.
- Forensic Cleanup – The forensic investigators at a crime scene leave behind a variety of equipment that has dangerous microbes on it. Forensic cleaning involves removing the equipment and disposing of it in a manner that is safe for anyone that returns to the crime scene later.
- Blood – The most common type of mess that people think about when looking at a crime scene is blood. Blood is spread throughout the crime scene. The investigators collect the samples they need, but they leave much of the blood behind for the cleanup crew. The blood that is left can seep into cracks and crevices. Cleaning up all the blood requires getting into all the areas where blood is left. Sometimes, this means under floors and inside of walls.
- Bodily fluids – This includes saliva, semen, brain fluid and other fluids found in a body that can end up in the area around the crime scene. Making sure all these fluids are removed and sanitized is an important part of the cleanup at a crime scene.
If the biohazards are not cleaned up properly, they can put anyone that is in the area where the crime scene was at risk for future problems. Those problems can emerge shortly after people return to the area where the crime happened, or they can take months or years to show up. The key to making sure this does not happen is with professional crime scene cleaning.
What is Crime Scene Cleaning?
Crime scene cleaning can cover many different things. It is not only about a place where a murder happened. Crime scene cleaning involves any place where violent or illegal activity occurred. While some crimes may not leave behind a mess, there are plenty of crimes that can lead to the need for professional cleaning. Some of the criminal activities to clean up after include:
- Homicides and traumatic incidents – These can include assaults, rape, and suicides.
- Burglaries and break-ins – This includes homes and places of business.
A crime not only affects people physically, it also affects people emotionally. Cleaning up after a crime not only involves cleaning the physical site, it also can involve cleaning up the emotional mess that the crime leaves behind. There are services in Houston that can help people with cleaning the physical mess and can help deal with the emotions of a crime scene.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does Insurance Cover Crime Scene Cleanup?
A: There are times when homeowner’s insurance and the insurance for a business will cover the cost of professional cleanup. It is a good idea to check with your insurance to find out if your insurance covers the cleanup.
Q: How to Find a Cleaning Company?
A: There are companies that specialize in cleaning up crime scenes. Like with any other business, look for experience and certifications that a company has in this area.
Q: Are special certifications required for crime scene cleanup?
A: Some of the certifications to look for include:
- Crime Scene Cleanup Decontamination (issued by the AMDECON)
- API Worksafe
- Odor control (issued by the IICRC)
- Code of Safe Practices (issued by the OSHA)
Q: Does the smell ever go away?
A: People talk about the distinct smell of a crime scene and wonder if it will ever completely disappear. Decomposition odor removal is a key element in death scene cleanup services by an experienced remediation company with the proper training. Here at Advanced Bio-Treatment, not only will we remove the odors of a crime scene entirely, our unique process ensure all surfaces are cleansed and disinfected, as well as any affected structural elements disposed of appropriately.
We hope you never have to use our services. Unfortunately, in real life, people get hurt and crimes are committed. Here at Advanced Bio-Treatment, our professional services clean up the physical mess left behind and we do our best to heal emotional distress after such an event. We are here to make sure you and your family are safe and protected, helping everyone return to their normal life and put this chapter of their lives behind them.