Drones Used to Map Crash and Crime Scenes

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Following a crash or crime, law enforcement agencies sometimes have to cordon the scene for proper investigations to take place, but today’s technology is increasingly proving to be useful in helping to provide clarity into what happened in less than half the time.

Surveillance and crime fighting are two words that quickly come to mind when the usage of drones (UAVs) pops up in a discussion. However, this technology is also super effective for crash reconstruction, a feature that can help law enforcement agents quickly and accurately document vehicle crash scenes, especially when there are big property damages or loss of life. Drones can be used to map crash and crime scenes quickly to gather accurate data and help investigators recreate the event and understand all of the factors involved.

Here are some of the key benefits of drones in mapping crash and crime scenes:

·         Quicker Cleanup Times

After a crash or crime has occurred, it is in the best interest of everyone involved for the area to be cleared as soon as possible, but it is equally important that the scene is documented first. Accident responders and law enforcement agents typically use photography, scanners, and notebooks, or a mixture of all three and more to gather measurable data in order to produce a 3D point cloud of the scene.

However, these methods require a lot of time and even personnel trained in different fields, who may not be readily available at the time of the unexpected. Drones cover large distance – quickly and accurately, and collects data more efficiently. Time is important – and drones help security agents better manage their time for quicker cleanups.

·         Lower Human and Financial Demands

Reducing traffic flow or totally shutting down road networks in order to document a scene is not only financially costly to the road users, but puts people’s lives in danger. Reports have shown that traffic related fatalities are an increasing cause of officer death, and this risk can only be minimized by reducing the amount of time law enforcement agents and responders spend gathering crash site data. By deploying drones to clean up accidents more quickly, economic losses where highway accidents occur can be eliminated.

·         Less Training of Personnel Required

With the increasing entry of automated drone flight planners like photogrammetry software, Pix4Dcapture, and Pix4Dmapper in the crash and crime investigation process today, less specialization is required to ensure accurate documentation of a scene. Not only does this make for smoother workflow, it is a perfect tool for situations with equipment, personnel, or time restrictions. Drone imagery does not have the kind of sensitivity to moving objects or obstacle inclusions that total station or laser scanning does. This makes it easy for responders at a crash or crime scene to be able to produce clean and complete images that reflect the true situation of a scene.

While drone usage in crashes and certain crime scenes is still not completely free from controversy, it is a savvy tool that helps to save time, costs, and provides immediate and accurate outputs. It has proven to be very beneficial when used – and it is set to revolutionize the way we manage crimes and crashes.