How Much Does Crime Scene Cleanup Cost?

When a violent crime happens, the damage that it leaves behinds can impact many people, both physically and psychologically. One aspect that many do not think about is the mess that a violent crime leaves behind.

The victims of a violent crime are only one part of the damage. The crime scene location also suffers damage that can linger for a long time. That is why it is so important to turn to a professional when it comes to crime scene cleanup.

What is Crime Scene Cleanup?

A violent crime can cause damage in different ways. Property damage is only one aspect of what may require a professional cleaning. The scene may also contain biological hazards that are left behind in cases where violence or a death occurred. The investigation by the police leaves more of a mess to clean up, such as fingerprint dust or tear gas. It is important to make sure that the entire crime scene is properly cleaned and all the hazards from the crime scene are completely removed. Professional crime scene cleaners have the knowledge and the tools to make this happen.

What Goes into the Cost?

There are many factors that go into determining the cost of cleaning up the crime scene. It’s not possible to list all these factors as each crime scene and every situation is unique with many variables to take into consideration.

Most of the factors are out of the control of the person or place affected by the crime. The amount of time that goes by before cleanup starts will depend on when the crime is discovered and when the authorities complete their investigation. The amount of physical damage at the scene depends on the crime that took place. Each crime scene cleanup is different and that is why it is important to get the professional out to the site as soon as possible.

Paying for the Cleaning

There is a cost for the cleaning of a crime scene, there is a common misconception that police or forensic investigators clean up once the scene has been released. In reality, the burden falls on the owner of the property. It is possible for insurance to cover all or part of the cost. If unsure, it’s advised that the property owner contact their insurance company to get the details of their insurance policy. Here at Advanced Bio-Treatment, we help our clients during this difficult time and will be happy to deal directly with their insurance company.

There are also several other ways we assist our customers with the cost of crime scene clean up:

  • We usually do not require a deposit to begin work, even if the customer has insurance.
  • We offer assistance with the deductible when applicable.
  • For customers that need financing, we offer payment plans if needed.
  • Finally, we have a couple discount options:
    • We offer discounts for “Preferred Vendors” as well as repeat customers.
    • We also offer “quick pay” discounts for those who pay at the time of service or within a short timeframe.

Choosing a Crime Scene Cleanup Company

Since it is hard to give an exact cost of the cleanup of the crime scene, we recommend that those in need of our services give us a call to speak with one of our representatives. We answer the phone 24 hours a day, every day of the year, crimes and accidents don’t take days off and neither do we.

It is normal for people to shop around for the best price, but for some things, cheapest isn’t always best. As with many industries, you get what you pay for. Here at ABT, we aren’t the cheapest, but we’ll certainly be the best. We take pride in working with our customers and their schedules.

Crime Scene Cleanup & Recovery Guide for Houston

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

Houston Police Department Headquarters
1200 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002
(713) 884-3131
https://www.houstontx.gov/police/

Additional Houston Police Stations

9455 W Montgomery Rd, Houston, TX 77088
(832) 394-3800

8301 Ley Rd, Houston, TX 77028
(832) 395-1500

8751 Broadway St # 3102, Houston, TX 77061
(713) 847-4155

8605 Westplace Dr, Houston, TX 77071
(832) 394-4700

Claire Brothers Funeral Home
7901 Hillcroft St, Houston, TX 77081
(713) 271-7250
http://www.clairebrothersfuneral.com/default.asp

Woodlawn Funeral Home & Cemetery
1101 Antoine Dr, Houston, TX 77055
(844) 586-4511
https://www.woodlawnfh.com/

Felix H. Morales Funeral Home
2901 Canal St, Houston, TX 77003
(713) 223-1167
https://www.moralesfuneralhome.com/

Compean Funeral Home
2102 Broadway St, Houston, TX 77012
(713) 924-6900
http://www.compeanfuneralhomes.com/

Mental Health America of Greater Houston
2211 Norfolk St, Suite 810, Houston, TX 77098
(713) 523-8963
https://mhahouston.org/

The Anxiety Center of Houston
13333 Dotson Rd #160, Houston, TX 77070
(346) 206-3992
https://www.anxietycenterhouston.com/

Northeast Mental Health Crisis Clinic
18838 S Memorial Dr Ste 106, Humble, TX 77338
(713) 338-6422
http://www.memorialhermann.org/locations/northeast-mental-health-crisisclinic/

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.

Understanding Biohazards

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.

Crime Scene Cleanup & Recovery Guide for Tampa

The reality of crime scene cleanup is rarely something with which people are familiar with. When they are faced with the cleanup of what remains at the scene after law enforcement has completed their job, the disruption and emotional upheaval often comes as a surprise. If your home or business becomes the scene of a crime, it’s important to understand what, exactly, forensic cleaning and death cleanup mean and what you can expect.

The following guide is designed to help answer some of the most common questions people have about the topic, provide local resources, as well as how to pick the best Tampa crime scene cleanup company.

Tampa Crime Scene Recovery Resources

3818 W Tampa Bay Blvd, Tampa, FL 33614
(813) 231-6130
https://www.tampagov.net/police

411 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 276-3200
https://www.tampagov.net/police

9330 N 30th St, Tampa, FL 33612
(813) 931-6500
https://www.tampagov.net/police

Blount and Curry Funeral Home Oldsmar West Hillsborough Chapel
6802 Silvermill Dr, Tampa, FL 33635
(813) 814-4444
dignitymemorial.com

Gonzalez Funeral Home
7209 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33614
(813) 931-1833
dignitymemorial.com

Wilson Funeral Home
3000 N 29th St, Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 248-6125
wilson-funeralhome.com

Ray Williams Funeral Home
301 N Howard Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 253-3419
http://www.raywilliamsfuneralhome.com/

Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
1106 Nikki View Dr, Brandon, FL 33511
(813) 264-9955
crisiscenter.com

Rogers Behavioral Health
2002 N Lois Ave #400, Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 498-6400
rogersbh.org

BayCare Behavioral Health – Life Management Center
2727 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd #640, Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 872-7582
https://www.baycare.org/locations/b/baycare-behavioral-health-life-management-center-tampa

How are crime scenes handled?

Forensic experts and police investigators will handle the crime scene processing itself. In fact, you’ll likely find your home or business cordoned off while they go over every inch of the property to collect as much evidence as possible. They’re looking for physical evidence and samples that can help them in their investigation.

There are a few routine steps that law enforcement usually takes as they process a crime scene. This includes:

  1. Securing the scene of the crime.
  2. Locating the location of the crime and determining its perimeter.
  3. Conducting a walkthrough.
  4. Gathering samples and documenting the scene.
  5. Recording all evidence recovered from the scene of the crime.

Law enforcement and forensic investigators will be looking for a variety of evidence. This includes biological evidence like hair or blood, latent evidence like fingerprints, and shoe and tire tracks. They’ll also be searching for digital evidence like cellphones, drugs, weapon marks, and trace evidence like fibers, soil, and cigarettes. This doesn’t mean that investigators will be able to recover all of the above, of course. But they’ll be searching for many different things to help them as they move through their investigation.

Once the investigation has moved on, the time for crime scene cleanup has arrived. This includes anything left behind by law enforcement, including remaining bodily waste and possibly tear gas or fingerprint dust. Any biological and chemical substances that aren’t necessary for their investigation will, in all likelihood, be left behind for you to clean.

Who is responsible for cleaning the scene of a crime? Is crime scene cleanup important?

Law enforcement is not responsible for the cleanup, and they will not do anything to restore the crime scene to its former condition. That responsibility, unfortunately, falls squarely on the property owners. That’s a difficult concept to understand, especially when the crime scene was particularly violent. You’re probably still trying to process the details of the crime, especially if you lost a loved one in the process.

Despite the emotional upheaval you’re experiencing, it is vital that forensic cleaning is conducted as quickly as possible. The longer the biohazard matter stays in place, the more dangerous it becomes. The health hazards become even more marked if you live with young children, elderly adults, or individuals with immune system disorders. These individuals might be more vulnerable to health risks than others.

What is considered a biohazard?

There are many different types of biohazards. By definition, any biological substance that is dangerous to the environment or to people is considered a biohazard. This includes bodily fluids like blood and saliva, as well as human and animal waste.

If a death resulted from the crime in question, be it via homicide or suicide, it’s important to note that decomposition begins immediately. There are four stages of decomposition to keep in mind:

  1. Autolysis. This is the first stage of decomposition and includes rigor mortis, which usually sets in about six hours after the time of death.
  2. Bloating. During this phase, bacteria and gas are produced by enzymes that eat the body’s cells as they are deprived of oxygen.
  3. Active decay. During active decay, the body’s tissue liquifies.
  4. Skeletonization. As the name implies, the body begins to be reduced to a skeleton during this phase.

Airborne and bloodborne pathogens alike will begin to spread as soon as decomposition begins. They can contaminate clothing, flooring, furniture, and even subflooring. Once this has happened, the materials must be disposed of according to EPA and OSHA standards.

Crime Scene and Death Cleanup Defined

A space is only considered a “crime scene” when it is being investigated and evidence is being collected and processed. After the investigation moves on, a professional cleanup can be started. However, it cannot be emphasized enough that the company hired to do crime scene cleanup (aka forensic cleaning) must be experienced in those types of cleanups, have properly trained personnel, and know how to observe proper compliance (rules, regulations, and laws) for dealing with biological waste (feces, urine, blood, and tissues).

It is also imperative that the company hired has the proper knowledge, experience, and skill to return the premises to a safe condition for inhabitants. A compassionate and experienced Tampa crime scene cleanup team can help. They can take on the burden so that you can focus on recovering with your loved ones.

Crime Scene Cleanup and Homeowner’s Insurance

Now that you understand how crime scenes are processed and what forensic cleaning looks like, you might be wondering how much the cost to clean might be and how you can secure funding. Will your homeowner’s insurance cover your expenses?

It’s important to note that some insurance policies actually do cover cleanup costs. That means that one of your first calls should be to your insurance adjuster. You’ll want to ask them exactly what kind of crime scene cleanup services they offer. This might be a difficult call to make, but the adjuster should be able to professionally and compassionately walk you through exactly what is (or isn’t) covered in your policy.

As difficult as this might be, you have to be certain to explain exactly what happened to your adjuster. Homeowner’s insurance coverage can vary depending upon exactly what happened. One policy might cover the cleanup related to traumatic events in general, for example, while another might be more closely focused on homicides. And, unfortunately, some policies won’t cover anything at all.

Keep in mind that even if your policy covers cleanup, they likely won’t be able to find a company for you. You will be responsible for taking the coverage they provide and finding the best cleaning team to suit your needs. Some organizations, like the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards, are dedicated to helping locate and allocate funding for cleanup. You can always reach out to this resource as well as any state resources at hand, but this kind of compensation will likely come in the form of a refund or credit of some type after cleanup has already been completed.

Crime Scene Cleanup FAQ

Q. What can a crime scene company do for me?
A. It is important to understand that a good crime scene cleanup company will make your home livable again (or your business usable again). The cleanup crew might not be able to restore your home or business to its original condition. That means if paint was stained and had to be scraped off the walls, if carpeting was heavily soiled and had to be removed, if windows were broken, doors were kicked in, and cabinet or refrigerator doors pulled off, you’ll have to hire someone else to repair or replace things. You may have to make an additional claim, and deal with your insurance company again.

Q. How should I pick a cleaning company?
A. Crime scene cleanup is something that needs to happen quickly – but not so quickly that you can’t take a moment to weigh your options. Make sure that the cleaning company you pick is experienced specifically with crime scene cleanup. This includes forensic cleaning experience and unattended death cleanup. Your time is important, so you’ll want to choose a company that can work around your schedule—with the ability to restore your home or business day or night. You should also look for a company that offers its clients compassion and care. You’ve just been through a traumatic experience, and you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

Q. What certifications or training should a crime scene cleanup team have?
A. Crime scene cleanup companies must be able to follow state and federal regulations. This is absolutely vital. Biohazards can become serious health threats to anyone who comes into contact with them, and as we’ve discussed, crime scenes are often full of biohazards. The certifications to keep in mind when finding the right crime scene cleanup crew, then, include the following:

  • API Worksafe Certification
  • IICRC Odor Control Certification
  • AMDECON Crime Scene Cleanup Decontamination Certification
  • Meth Lab Decontamination License #CML 0805-05 State Certification
  • Code of Safe Practices Certification by OSHA

Q. Will my privacy be protected?
A. Crimes that are committed on your property, whether in your home or your office, tend to be personal. Understandably, you’d probably like to keep those details to yourself. Experienced and compassionate death cleanup teams will understand this and treat you with respect. Your privacy should be of the utmost importance, and you deserve skilled technicians who do their jobs professionally and carefully. That means that your privacy is an important consideration and will be maintained by workers.

Q. Do crime scene cleanup crews receive training?
A. Crime scene cleanup crews should receive extensive training. There are many aspects to forensic cleaning, and a good team will be thoroughly trained in all of them. That includes how to locate, contain, clean, and dispose of biohazardous materials. Opting for a team of hospital-grade cleaners is a good option that will help ensure that you receive comprehensive cleaning services. The company you pick must be able to identify and remove even the smallest hints of trace evidence as well as any materials that were left behind by investigators and first responders.

Customer service training is also important, particularly in death cleanup services. The cleanup crew you pick should have plenty of training in how to provide compassionate care to clients.

Q. Is odor removed during cleanup?
A. Yes, odors are removed during crime scene cleanup. It’s a vital part of the cleanup process, in fact. This is especially true if decomposition or death was part of the scene as bloodborne and airborne pathogens can be part of the odors left behind. Cleanup services should remove all scents and biohazards to return the property in question to its previous condition.

Q. Can your team help with my insurance claim?
A: Yes, our team can help you! We will be happy to work directly with your insurance company, as well as provide assistance in filing a claim.

The most satisfying part of being part of a crime scene cleanup crew is the ability to provide comfort and closure to the living. As part of a professional crime scene cleanup crew, we are there to get the job done promptly and discreetly, and to exercise sound and professional judgment in everything you do. Our client testimonials are a testament to our dedication to being the compassionate cleanup company. Our mission is to remove the hardship and burden of crime scene cleanup – and everything it represents – from your life so that you can return to some semblance of normalcy.