Virtual reality enters the realm of justice and crime scene clean-ups

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Virtual reality has already proven its potential and worth in healthcare and training. Now the technology is being applied to create awareness among the public of the rigors of responding to and cleaning up a crime scene. The technology is also being considered for use in courts to solve crimes.

Last month it was reported that researchers at the Centre of Archaeology and Forensic and Crime Science department at Staffordshire University had received a grant which will allow them to research ways to record and present crime scenes in virtual reality.

Last week, the National Crime Scene Cleanup Association in the US announced its intention to employ virtual reality and 360 video to inform the public on how it operates. If the popularity of the TV shows NCIS and CIS is anything to go by, this initiative is likely to be popular with VR consumers.

Virtual reality technology is ideal for recording a crime scene in 3D detail. Wearing virtual reality headsets, jurors and other court officials can then virtually enter a crime scene and get a first-hand impression of what happened instead of listening to someone reporting about what happened. However grisly, re-enacted crime scenes will be a more realistic way to understand the incident. With this completely new method of presenting evidence, there can also be no disagreement or confusion about details at the scene, as all will be clear for everyone to see.

While it will take time before we actually see virtual reality applied in the justice system, it might not take so long before we will come face-to-face with the horrific scenes law enforcement personnel and emergency services and industrial emergency professionals are met with when they respond to an emergency situation. In the coming months viewers will be able to see a series of shorts produced by The National Crime Scene Cleanup Association in the US. These shorts will put viewers at the scene with the company’s crews where they observe the clean-up operations and everything that entails. The shorts will be on YouTube as well as vr.crimescenecleanup.com where they can be viewed with the help of a virtual reality headset. For those who don’t own a headset, the Crime Scene Cleanup virtual site can be visited by using JanusVR, an application that enables users to immerse themselves in virtual reality websites.

"Shorts like this will produce awareness and insight into our industry and what our men and women go through when we go out to help families in need," says James Michel, CEO of Crime Scene Cleanup.