Driving Down Memory Lane
There is an interesting condition among seasoned criminal investigators. Long after the crime scene tape comes down criminalists still associate locations by crime scene events. You know how you drive past a beautiful city park and remember that wonderful first date picnic there? Well, in a similar manner, a criminalist might pass by the same park and remember the suicidal hanging on the the large oak tree over your picnic spot. Most of the time its innocuous. Just a matter of fact recognition. Sometimes it can be more but if a location produces strong emotions the criminalist likely will avoid the area.
As the years go by it’s amazing how many crime scenes one can pass just doing errands. “Oh, that’s where we had that double homicide, that’s the intersection with the officer involved shooting, that liquor store was where the rape victim was abducted”; and so on, and so on. As a writer you may already be aware of this type of associations. As I stated in the beginning of the article we all associate places with events. It’s no surprise then that criminalists might just associate different events. Its all relative to the individual.
So when you are constructing your detective or CSI consider how their experience and age might affect their associations. If they’ve been on the job twenty years they’ll likely have been in every seedy bar, every gas station, and bank in the city. Probably more than once. They’ll know the streets and they’ll know who has good security cameras and who doesn’t. Think of them like that old retired neighbor down the street. You know, the one who’s lived on the block for 50 years. They can tell you story after story of how the neighborhood has changed. The same is true of old detectives and CSIs.