The language at the scene of the crime -Analysing Crime-Scene reports

TitleThe language at the scene of the crime -Analysing Crime-Scene reports
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsPastra, K, Saggion, H
Conference Name5th Biennial Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Linguistics
Conference LocationValetta, Malta
Abstract

The Scene of the Crime has long been investigated in the literature (Buckwalter, 1984; Fisher, 1992; White, 1998; FBI, 1999; Baldwin, 2000); nevertheless, the language used by scene of crime officers to describe crime scenes has not been thoroughly examined.
In this paper, we will present on-going work on the analysis of this special language in terms of both its morphosyntactic and semantic features. In order to do that, a collection of formal reports produced by scene of crime officers has been studied. The reports provide, among other things, information on the offence, the scene of the crime, the physical evidence and the photographs / sketches taken to document the scene. This information is revealed through descriptive, concise and mostly unambiguous expressions; it is the accuracy and objectivity obtained this way, that is vital for the whole criminal investigation process. The long term objective of our research is to develop an information extraction system that will automatically identify key information in the scene of crime reports and it will form the basis for more advanced tasks, such as automatic report generation. This system will form part of SOCIS, a joint research project involving the University of Sheffield and the University of Surrey.