Crime-Scene Investigation and Examination: Collection and Chain of Evidence

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Evidence control (Police administration)


Forensic Science and Technology


Crime-scene investigation is an integral component of many aspects of more general investigations. It can provide investigative leads, aid in the identification of suspect(s) or victim(s), prove or disprove alibis, identify a modus operandi, establish the corpus delicti, and create linkages and associations among the victim, suspect, scene, and evidence. Evidence may consist of transient, conditional, pattern, transfer, or a diverse variety of physical evidence. If the full potential of physical evidence is to be achieved there are certain safeguards and standards that must be met. Evidence must be collected in a manner that will preserve the integrity and evidentiary value. In addition, each piece of evidence must be collected and maintained in such a manner that it can be authenticated and proven to be in the substantially same condition as when initially collected. This so called chain of custody must be established from the moment evidence is first in custody until the conclusion of analysis and legal proceedings.


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Publisher Citation

Palmbach, T. (2005). Collection and Chain of Evidence. In Payne-James, J., ed. Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.