What is a Crime Scene Diagram?
A crime scene diagram visually documents the setting of a crime as it appeared when it was discovered. It typically includes a layout of the environment, location of the victim(s), blood splatter, possible items of interest like weapons, footprints, dirt, clothes along with written details and pictorial evidence. A properly prepared crime scene diagram is very useful for investigative and forensic work in the criminal justice system. A supplemental vehicle diagram may be used in the event the crime took place in or involved a car, truck, van, or other type of vehicle.
How to Make a Crime Scene Diagram
Any crime scene diagram starts with a floor plan of where the crime was committed: a home, office, street, or business.
Set the Crime Scene
Start with a crime scene template.
Easily edit the scene using SmartDraw's powerful floor plan features. Add walls, windows, and doors more with just a few clicks. Resizing and editing walls is just as easy. And everything is exactly to scale, complete with industry standard dimensions. Learn more about drawing floor plans.
Add Symbols to the Crime Scene Diagram
SmartDraw includes hundreds of symbols for everything you need in your crime scene—furniture, body outlines, footprints, weapons, and more. Select the items you want from the library, and drag or stamp it onto your diagram.
Watch a quick crime scene diagram tutorial video.
Seven Quick Tips for Drawing Effective Crime Scene Diagrams
Follow these best practice tips to create effective crime scene diagrams that convey information quickly and accurately.
- Set the scope of your diagram. Before beginning, determine how much of the area to illustrate: one room, multiple rooms, or the entire house. You should only illustrate relevant rooms and areas.
- Gather information. Crime scene diagrams have to be as accurate as possible to be a useful resource when looking back on details of a crime long after the area has been cleaned up. If you were not there yourself, speak with anyone who either has first-hand knowledge or investigated the scene. Good sources would be the police, detectives, and any witnesses involved with the case, either directly or indirectly. If possible, visit the scene yourself in order to gather the most accurate information. Take accurate measurements between objects in the scene and their relative position to furniture or other landmarks.
- Create the background floor plan or landscape. Recreate the parts of the scene as they would appear on a normal day. For a crime that occurred inside, this includes adding the walls within which the crime occurred, as well as furniture, doors, windows, closets, appliances, etc. For an outside scene, begin with streets, sidewalks, and buildings, before adding plants, benches, lights, cars, signs, and so on.
- Add details. Now add objects that were specific to the crime scene. If there was a victim, or anyone present, they should be added into the drawing as they were found directly after or during the crime. Also add anything the perpetrator may have left behind, used, or disrupted while in the area.
- Label. Label each potential piece of evidence with a number or symbol. Then use arrows and text to show additional details or give information about that item. Also, give measurements for enough of the area that an observer could easily deduce the dimensions of anything on the diagram.
- Verify accuracy. Consult with witnesses and authorities who are knowledgeable about the crime to confirm that the information depicted in the diagram coincides with theirs.
Crime Scene Examples
Need some inspiration on how to get started with your own crime scene, you can browse some examples created with SmartDraw.
Click on any of these crime scenes included in SmartDraw and edit them:
Browse SmartDraw's entire collection of crime scene examples and templates