Capturing detailed and accurate aerial images of crime scenes under the cover of darkness can be challenging at times, but drone technology can be incredibly useful for law enforcement, and it’s a fascinating process. Drones are used not only to help catch and apprehend criminals, but to help provide victims and their families with some degree of justice.
Coordination between drone pilot and law enforcement is vital:
Unlike other forms of aerial photography, forensic photography is highly specialised and law enforcement may have several very specific areas of a crime scene that they want to be captured from above, making coordination between operator and lead investigator, essential.
Maintaining a sterile crime scene:
Drone operators involved in an ongoing investigation will need to work outside of the boundaries that the investigative team have initially set, then as the work progresses, they can move between the relevant markers and paint placements.
The right drone, the right lighting and the right post-processing:
A drone that can capture clean images at a crime scene even in windy conditions is important, and lighting is another crucial element for aerial photography. The lighting should ideally be evenly matched, with no shadows (or minimized at the very least), true colour and with all areas of the crime scene illuminated wherever possible. Prior to capturing the aerial shots, all vehicle headlights must be dimmed while stationary, and ideally all other light sources should be still and not moving around.
Live streams and instant data:
For the investigative team to access the data from the crime scene as quickly as possible, it must be streamed live, which enables the team to request different shots wherever necessary. 2D maps are produced very quickly (not quite instantly but in a matter of minutes) using any computer equipment that’s available, and no internet connection is required. These images can then be processed using 4D full solution to create 3D modelling.
The drone must capture accurate aerial imagery so that the data can be used to its best advantage, as was recently the case when drones were used to capture a huge crime scene at a mass shooting event. Law enforcement teams were able to use the data from the aerial imagery to better assess the range of the shooter and even uncover new evidence that was to prove vital to the case.
Drones are being used in so many industries these days that it’s hard to keep up with, and their uses seem to be limitless. Crime fighting is just one field in which drones are now proving their worth, and if this leads to more crimes being solved and solved quicker, it’s hard to imagine anyone being resistant to their use.