Skip to content Skip to footer

History Of Crime Scene Cleanup in the United States: An Overview

History Of Crime Scene Cleanup in the United States: An Overview

Crime scene cleanup is a vital profession that has evolved over time to become an essential part of public safety and health. The history of crime scene cleanup in the United States is a fascinating one, with its roots tracing back to the early 20th century. In this section, we will delve into the history of crime scene cleanup in the United States, highlighting its significance and evolution over time.

The initial stages of crime scene cleanup were characterized by police departments handling the cleanup themselves, which often led to inadequate results. It became apparent that crime scene cleanup required a specialized and trained team to handle it effectively. As a result, the first crime scene cleanup companies emerged in the 1980s, transforming the industry and paving the way for growth and expansion.

Initial Stages of Crime Scene Cleanup

The initial stages of crime scene cleanup were not as organized or specialized as they are today. In the past, it was common for the police to handle the cleaning process themselves, using basic cleaning supplies and equipment. However, as crime scenes grew more complex and dangerous, it became apparent that a specialized team was needed to handle the cleanup process.

In the early stages, police departments were ill-equipped to handle the aftermath of a crime scene, often leaving behind dangerous and hazardous materials. This left victims and their families exposed to potentially life-threatening pathogens and other biohazards. This is where crime scene cleanup companies came into existence.

Specialized Crime Scene Cleanup Teams

As the need for more specialized and trained teams grew, crime scene cleanup became a vital profession. Crime scene cleaners are now trained to handle a variety of situations, from hoarding and biohazard cleanup to meth lab decontamination. These teams are equipped with the necessary tools, equipment, and training to properly handle hazardous materials and dispose of them safely.

Why Police Use Crime Scene Cleanup Teams Today
Police departments now recognize the benefits of using trained crime scene cleanup teams. They understand the importance of removing all traces of a crime scene, including blood, bodily fluids, and other biohazards. Not only is it important for health and safety reasons, but it also allows victims and their families to begin the healing process. By hiring crime scene cleanup services, police departments can ensure that the area is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and restored to its pre-crime state.

Crime scene cleanup companies have become an essential part of the legal process, helping to ensure that justice is served while also protecting the health and well-being of the community.

First Crime Scene Cleanup Companies

In the 1980s, the first crime scene cleanup companies began emerging in the United States. These companies provided specialized services that were previously handled by police departments or local authorities. Initially, crime scene cleanup was not considered a legitimate profession, and it was often left to untrained individuals to clean up the scene of a crime or accident.

Early crime scene cleanup companies were primarily small, family-owned businesses that provided cleanup services for homicides, suicides, and accidents. These companies were often run by individuals who had experience in cleaning and restoration services and recognized the need for specialized crime scene cleaning.

Company Name Location Year Established
Bio Recovery Corporation Long Island, NY 1985
ACT Remediation Services Orlando, FL 1988
Aftermath Services Aurora, IL 1996

The early crime scene cleanup companies provided basic cleaning services using standard cleaning products and equipment. As the industry grew, these companies began to develop specialized equipment and cleaning products designed explicitly for crime scene cleanup. This equipment include air scrubbers, foggers, and specialized cleaning agents that could remove blood, bodily fluids, and other biohazardous materials.

These companies also began to establish procedures and protocols for the safe and effective cleaning of crime scenes. This included the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks, and hazmat suits, to protect workers from exposure to hazardous materials.

Growth and Expansion

As the demand for crime scene cleanup services increased in the United States, crime scene cleanup companies began to grow and expand their range of services. In addition to providing traditional crime scene cleanup services, such as blood and bodily fluid cleanup, these companies began to offer biohazard cleanup services for situations involving hazardous materials, such as tear gas or asbestos. They also began to offer hoarding cleanup services to help individuals dealing with hoarding disorders.

With the expansion of services, crime scene cleanup companies also began to expand their geographic reach, opening offices and hiring teams in major cities across the country. This allowed them to respond quickly to emergency situations and provide efficient, high-quality services to clients.

Regulation and Standards

The crime scene cleanup industry has evolved significantly over the years, and this evolution has brought about the need for regulations and standards to ensure that the work is conducted safely and effectively. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established guidelines for crime scene cleanup, which include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), proper cleaning procedures, and safe handling and disposal of biohazardous materials.

Professional organizations, such as the American Bio-Recovery Association (ABRA), have also been established to promote best practices and high standards in the industry. ABRA provides education and certification programs for crime scene cleanup professionals, ensuring that those who work in the industry are trained to the highest level.

The Importance of Regulation

Regulations and standards are critical in the crime scene cleanup industry as they help to ensure that the work is conducted safely and effectively, protecting both the workers and the public. Without these guidelines, there is a risk that crime scene cleanup companies may cut corners or fail to follow proper cleaning procedures, which could result in the spread of disease and contamination.

By establishing regulations and standards, the industry can ensure that all crime scene cleanup companies are held to the same high standards, and that the public can have confidence in the work being conducted.

High-Profile Cases

Over the years, crime scene cleanup has gained attention from some of the most high-profile cases in the United States. These cases have showcased the importance and complexity of the work of crime scene cleaners, leading to increased public awareness and recognition for the industry.

O.J. Simpson Trial

One of the most infamous cases that brought national attention to crime scene cleanup was the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995. The crime scene was considered one of the most gruesome in history, with blood spatter and other bodily fluids found throughout the scene. After the trial, a crime scene cleaning company was brought in to restore the scene to its original state, highlighting the importance of specialized cleaning services for crime scenes.

Virginia Tech Shooting

The Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 was another high-profile case that brought attention to crime scene cleanup. The shooting resulted in the deaths of 32 people and left the campus in disarray, with blood and other bodily fluids throughout the scene. Crime scene cleaners were brought in to restore the scene, which further emphasized the critical role of crime scene cleanup in maintaining public safety and health.

Other High-Profile Cases

Other high-profile cases that have brought attention to crime scene cleanup include the JonBenét Ramsey case, the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. These cases have highlighted the importance of specialized cleaning services that are needed to handle the aftermath of violent crimes and traumatic events.

The Role of Technology

Technology has played a critical role in the evolution of the crime scene cleanup industry. With advancements in cleaning and decontamination equipment and tools, crime scene cleanup companies are able to efficiently and effectively clean and restore crime scenes.

Advancements in Cleaning Equipment

New technologies have allowed for more thorough and efficient cleaning of crime scenes. For example, ultraviolet (UV) light technology is now commonly used to detect and remove biological contaminants, such as blood and bodily fluids, that may be invisible to the naked eye. Additionally, ozone generators and hydroxyl generators are used to neutralize odors that may be present at a crime scene, providing a safer environment for cleanup crews and future occupants.

Decontamination Equipment and Tools

Cleaning up after a crime scene requires specialized equipment and tools. Crime scene cleanup companies use personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hazmat suits and respirators, to protect their workers from potentially harmful pathogens and chemicals. Additionally, specialized cleaning solutions and decontamination equipment, such as foggers and vaporizers, are used to sanitize and deodorize the affected area.

The Future of Crime Scene Cleanup Technology

The crime scene cleanup industry is constantly evolving, and new technologies are being developed to improve the efficiency and safety of cleanup operations. Some of the technologies currently in development include cleaning solutions that can break down biological matter more effectively and quickly, and robotic systems that can assist in the cleanup process.

Training and Certifications

Training and certifications are crucial in the crime scene cleanup industry, ensuring workers have the necessary knowledge and skills to handle hazardous situations safely and effectively.

Professional Organizations

Several professional organizations offer certifications and training programs for crime scene cleanup technicians. The American Bio-Recovery Association (ABRA) is a non-profit organization that sets industry standards and provides training and certification for members. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also provides guidelines for the industry, including the Bloodborne Pathogen standard.

Certifications

The most recognized certification in the industry is the Certified Bio-Recovery Technician (CBRT) offered by ABRA. This certification requires passing a comprehensive exam and completing continuing education courses to maintain certification. Other certifications include the Certified Crime Scene Technician (CCST) and the Certified Restorer (CR).

Training Programs

Training programs are offered by various organizations and can range from online courses to hands-on training. Some programs provide a combination of both. The courses cover topics such as personal protective equipment (PPE), bloodborne pathogens, and the proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials.

Certification Organization
Certified Bio-Recovery Technician (CBRT) American Bio-Recovery Association (ABRA)
Certified Crime Scene Technician (CCST) International Association of Trauma Scene Cleanup (IATSC)
Certified Restorer (CR) Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)

Crime scene cleanup companies also offer their own training programs to ensure their employees are properly trained and certified.

Importance of Crime Scene Cleanup

Crime scene cleanup is a critical service that plays a vital role in maintaining public safety and health. When a crime scene is not properly cleaned, it can pose significant health hazards and increase the risk of disease transmission.

Bloodborne pathogens, bacteria, and other infectious materials can be present at a crime scene and can remain on surfaces even after visible contaminants have been removed. It takes specialized training and equipment to properly clean and decontaminate a crime scene.

Crime scene cleanup companies follow strict protocols to ensure that all biohazardous materials are safely removed and disposed of in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations. Failure to properly clean and dispose of these materials can result in significant penalties and legal action.

Furthermore, crime scene cleanup companies also provide a valuable service in restoring a property to its pre-incident state. This includes removing blood stains, disposing of biohazardous waste, and thoroughly cleaning and deodorizing the affected area. Their work allows families and property owners to begin the process of moving on and healing after a traumatic event.

It is important to hire a reputable, experienced crime scene cleanup company for any biohazardous situation. Attempting to clean up a crime scene yourself can be dangerous and can lead to further contamination if not done properly.

Future of Crime Scene Cleanup

The crime scene cleanup industry shows no signs of slowing down, with the increasing need for specialized services and advancements in technology. Here are some current and future trends to watch:

  • Greater emphasis on environmental sustainability: Crime scene cleanup companies are exploring ways to reduce their environmental impact, such as using eco-friendly cleaning products and implementing more sustainable waste disposal practices.
  • Increased use of automation: The use of robots and other automated technologies is becoming more prevalent in crime scene cleanup, improving efficiency and reducing the risk of worker exposure to hazardous materials.
  • Expansion of services: Crime scene cleanup companies are expanding their services to meet the growing demand for specialized cleanup, such as infectious disease outbreaks, drug lab cleanup, and animal hoarding situations.
  • Better training and certifications: The industry is placing a greater emphasis on training and certification programs to ensure a high level of professionalism and competence among workers.
  • Improved safety measures: Companies are implementing better safety measures, such as personal protective equipment and proper ventilation systems, to protect workers from exposure to hazardous materials.

Challenges Facing the Industry

Despite the many positive developments in the crime scene cleanup industry, there are still several challenges that need to be addressed:

  • Public perception: Many people still view crime scene cleanup as a taboo or stigmatized profession, which can make it difficult for companies to attract workers and clients.
  • Costs: Crime scene cleanup can be expensive, particularly in cases involving extensive damage or hazardous materials. This can be a barrier for some individuals and families who are in need of cleanup services.
  • Compassion fatigue: The emotional toll of crime scene cleanup can be significant, leading to burnout and compassion fatigue among workers. Companies need to provide adequate support and resources to help workers cope with these challenges.

Specialized Crime Scene Cleanup Services

Crime scene cleanup companies offer a wide range of services beyond the standard cleaning and disinfection of crime scenes. These specialized services require additional training and equipment to handle the unique challenges they present.

Biohazard Cleanup

Biohazard cleanup involves the cleaning and removal of potentially hazardous biological materials, such as blood, bodily fluids, and tissues. This type of cleanup is crucial for preventing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting public health. Crime scene cleanup companies trained in biohazard cleanup follow strict protocols to ensure the area is thoroughly disinfected and safe for occupancy.

Hoarding Cleanup

Hoarding cleanup involves the removal of excessive clutter and debris from a home or property. This type of cleanup is often necessary for the safety of the individual hoarding and for the health of other occupants of the space. Crime scene cleanup companies trained in hoarding cleanup understand the emotional complexities of hoarding disorder and work with clients in a compassionate and non-judgmental manner to help them navigate the cleanup process.

Meth Lab Cleanup

Meth lab cleanup involves the cleaning and removal of hazardous materials left behind after the production of methamphetamine. These materials can include chemicals, drug paraphernalia, and contaminated surfaces. Crime scene cleanup companies trained in meth lab cleanup follow strict protocols to prevent exposure to dangerous chemicals and thoroughly remediate the affected area.

Dealing with Trauma and Compassion Fatigue

Crime scene cleanup work can be emotionally taxing on workers who are often exposed to traumatic situations. The emotional toll of the job can lead to compassion fatigue, a form of burnout that can negatively impact a worker’s mental and physical well-being. It’s crucial for companies to address these issues to support their employees and provide the best service possible.

The Importance of Emotional Support

Companies that offer crime scene cleanup services should provide emotional support to their workers. This support can come in the form of counseling services and support groups. It’s important for workers to have a safe space to talk about their experiences and process their emotions.

Some companies also offer training on how to manage the emotional toll of the job. This training can include information on recognizing the signs of compassion fatigue and strategies for coping with the stress of the job.

Compassion Fatigue in the Workplace

Compassion fatigue can affect anyone who works in a helping profession, including crime scene cleaners. Symptoms can include feeling emotionally numb or detached, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Over time, untreated compassion fatigue can lead to depression and other mental health issues.

To avoid compassion fatigue in the workplace, companies should encourage workers to practice self-care and take breaks when needed. This can include taking time off work, practicing mindfulness and meditation, or engaging in activities outside of work that bring joy and relaxation.

Conclusion

Dealing with trauma and compassion fatigue is an important aspect of the crime scene cleanup industry. Companies must provide emotional support to their workers and take steps to prevent compassion fatigue in the workplace. By doing so, they can ensure their employees are well-equipped to handle the demands of the job and provide the best service possible.

Cost of Crime Scene Cleanup

The cost of crime scene cleanup services can vary depending on a variety of factors. One of the main factors that can affect pricing is the severity of the situation. The more extensive and complex the cleanup is, the higher the cost will likely be.

Another factor that can impact the cost of crime scene cleanup is the location of the crime scene. If the location is in a remote or hard-to-reach area, this can increase the cost of transportation and other logistical expenses.

It’s important to note that many insurance policies will cover the cost of crime scene cleanup. If the crime scene is part of an insurance claim, be sure to check with the insurance company to see what is covered and how the billing process works.

When choosing a crime scene cleanup company, it’s important to ask for a detailed estimate of the cost of services. This should include a breakdown of all expenses involved in the cleanup process, as well as any additional fees or charges that may apply.

Choosing a Crime Scene Cleanup Company

When faced with the daunting task of cleaning up a crime scene, it’s important to choose the right company to handle the job. Here are some important factors to consider:

Factor Considerations
Licensing Make sure the company is licensed and insured to provide crime scene cleanup services in your state.
Certifications Look for companies that have certifications from reputable organizations such as the American Bio-Recovery Association (ABRA) or the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC).
Experience Choose a company with years of experience in crime scene cleanup, as they will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to handle the job safely and efficiently.
Reputation Read reviews and testimonials from previous clients to get a sense of the company’s reputation and level of customer satisfaction.

Choosing a Local Company

It’s also important to choose a crime scene cleanup company that is located near the scene of the crime. This will ensure that the company can arrive quickly and begin the cleanup process as soon as possible. Additionally, a local company will be familiar with local regulations and disposal procedures, making the process more efficient and effective.

Getting a Written Estimate

Before choosing a crime scene cleanup company, make sure to get a written estimate outlining the scope of work and the associated costs. This will help you avoid any surprise charges or hidden fees.

By considering these factors, you can choose a crime scene cleanup company that will provide the necessary services with professionalism, compassion, and efficiency, allowing you to focus on the healing process.

FAQs about Crime Scene Cleanup

Crime scene cleanup can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. Here are some frequently asked questions about crime scene cleanup:

What services are offered by crime scene cleanup companies?

Crime scene cleanup companies offer a range of services, including:

  • Blood and body fluid cleanup
  • Unattended death cleanup
  • Biohazard cleanup
  • Trauma and crime scene cleanup
  • Hoarding cleanup
  • Meth lab cleanup

How long does the cleanup process take?

The duration of the cleanup process depends on various factors, such as the size and severity of the crime scene, the type of cleanup required, and the amount of specialized equipment necessary. However, a cleanup typically takes several hours to a few days.

Can I clean up a crime scene myself?

We strongly advise against attempting to clean up a crime scene yourself, even if you believe you have the necessary equipment and experience. Crime scene cleanup involves handling hazardous materials, like blood and body fluids, that can spread dangerous diseases if not handled appropriately. Crime scene cleanup professionals are trained and certified to handle these materials safely and effectively.

How do I choose a crime scene cleanup company?

When choosing a crime scene cleanup company, consider the following factors:

  • Licensing and certification
  • Experience and reputation
  • Availability and response time
  • Services offered and equipment used
  • Client testimonials and reviews

What are the costs associated with crime scene cleanup?

The cost of crime scene cleanup varies depending on the location, size, and severity of the crime scene, as well as the services required. Some insurance policies may cover the cost of crime scene cleanup, but it’s essential to check with your provider beforehand. A reputable crime scene cleanup company should provide a clear and transparent pricing structure upfront.

Categories

Popular Posts

What Is A Wood Shingle Roof?

Wood shingle roofs are a popular roofing option for homeowners who want a natural and rustic look for their homes. Made from thin, flat pieces of wood that are sawn

Read More »

Need Help?

+1 720 309 5679
Skip to content