Who Cleans Up Crime Scenes?

The term “crime scene cleanup” is applied to addressing the aftermath of a violent crime. Following a violent crime, the cleanup or remediation of potentially hazardous substances like blood, bodily fluids, and other types of biological and infectious materials must be addressed.

Misconceptions exist about who is responsible for crime scene cleanup. Many people presume that law enforcement, or associated officials, engage in crime scene cleanup once their investigation of that scene is completed. For example, you might imagine that if a violent crime occurred in your home, law enforcement or related officials clean up the crime scene as part of their overall duties. In fact, this is not correct. The owner of the residence where the crime occurred bears responsibility for the cleanup, no matter how significant the task.

When Can Crime Scene Cleanup Commence?

Like many people, if a violent crime occurs in your home, your desire may be to start the clean up process immediately. The reality is that you won’t be able to undertake a crime scene cleanup, even at your own home, until law enforcement officials or the coroner’s office “release” the scene back to you.

Law enforcement or the coroner’s office undertake a thorough investigation of the crime scene. There is no specific timeframe in which this investigation must be completed. With that said, in the interests of preserving evidence, investigators work as efficiently as possible to process the crime scene.

In the case of a homicide, the removal of the body is part of the overall efforts of investigating the scene. The body will be transported to the coroner’s office at some point to begin the forensics examination process, which likely will include an autopsy. The removal of the bottom does not mean the work of investigators is complete at the scene.

It’s Your Residence, But You Don’t Have to Clean the Crime Scene

Once the crime scene is released back to you, the responsibility is yours to get the crime scene cleaned up. Although the burden is on you to see that this daunting task is undertaken in an appropriate way, that most definitely does not mean that you must take this challenging task on yourself. In fact, you must seriously consider engaging the professional assistance of a skilled, experienced, compassionate crime scene remediation service.

There are several primary reasons who you should elect not to undertake a crime scene cleanup in your home (or business) on your own.

  • First, the reality that a violent crime has occurred in your home is a traumatic experience in and of itself. You need not compound that horrific reality by cleaning up the aftermath yourself. You need to devote your time and emotional effort to beginning and pursuing a healthy grieving process.
  • Second, it’s highly unlikely you have the experience or training needed to appropriately remediate a crime scene. This includes a background in and understanding of eliminating dangerous biohazards that can be found at the scene of a violent crime.
  • Third, you almost certainly lack access to the types of chemicals that must be utilized to remediate fully the scene of a violent crime. This includes chemicals designed to fully clean, completely sanitize, and thoroughly deodorize a violent crime scene to restore it to a habitable (or usable) condition.
  • Finally, although you can obtain this gear, you undoubtedly do not have immediate access to the personal protective equipment necessary to keep you safe in undertaking a crime scene cleanup. The time spent trying to track down appropriate gear is time wasted on remediating the crime scene in your home.

Hire a Skilled, Experienced, Compassionate Crime Scene Remediation Service

In the aftermath of a violent crime at your home (or business), retaining the services of a crime scene cleanup service should be undertaken as soon as possible. You can reach out to this type of professional even before the crime scene is released to you to best ensure that specialists will be available to commence the cleanup process as soon as possible.

Who Pays for Professional Crime Scene Cleanup or Biohazard Remediation?

Crime scene cleanup at your home (or business) is your responsibility. However, you likely will have financial assistance in paying the costs associated with hiring a biohazard remediation (crime scene cleanup) professional in California. Resources include:

  • The California Victim Compensation Board provides up to $1,000 for professional crime scene cleanup. The Board also offers compensation for an array of other types of losses associated with being a crime victim.
  • Your homeowners insurance may provide coverage for crime scene cleanup in your home. Some homeowners insurance policies include at least some coverage for professional crime scene cleanup.