What to Do When a Crime Scene is Found on your Property
No one wants to face the realities of a crime scene. Even the most devoted fan of crime dramas would rather not deal with the aftermath of a violent crime on their property. If you are a landlord and one of your tenants has been involved, you are responsible for restoring the property to its original condition. Follow this 3-step process as soon as you discover the crime scene:
- Call the authorities
- Call your insurance agent
- Hire a trauma cleanup service
Do not attempt to clean a crime scene yourself, or have your regular building maintenance employees take care of it. A crime scene is a unique situation that calls for specialized attention.
First: Call the Authorities
Your first step should always be to call the authorities. Do not enter or alter a crime scene in any way, unless someone’s safety is at risk. If you find the victim and can perform first aid or CPR without risking your own safety, use your best judgment. Otherwise, wait for the police and paramedics to arrive.
You are obligated to cooperate fully with the police investigation, despite the inconvenience that may cause. If the police seal the building, you may be required to assist your other tenants in finding temporary housing, or allow them to break their lease and refund their deposits.
Second: Call Your Insurance Agent
Once the police have left the scene and have given you permission to re-enter, it’s time to think about restoration. Call your insurance agent to find out how much of the cleaning and restoration is covered under your policy, and whether they have a preferred crime scene cleanup company.
Third: Call Trauma Cleanup Service
Never attempt to clean a crime scene yourself. If there are biological contaminants, such as blood or bodily fluids, you could expose yourself to dangerous pathogens. A qualified trauma scene cleaning service, such as ServiceMaster Complete, is highly trained to decontaminate and deodorize the scene, and will dispose of biohazard waste in a licensed facility.
Trauma scene cleanup involves more than simply deep cleaning a potentially hazardous area. Violent crime, drug manufacture, and even terrorism activities can damage survivors’ and residents’ sense of safety and security. In many instances, the victim is someone your tenants knew and loved. A qualified trauma scene cleaning service will be trained to handle this difficult situation with discretion and respect. Some crime scene cleaners include family assistance and support services, which puts survivors in touch with local counselors and community resources. If your property was involved in a crime that is being covered by local or national media, look for a trauma scene cleaning crew that is experienced in handling and diverting the media.
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