SAN ANTONIO – Thanksgiving is typically a lower-crime holiday but it’s still vital for SAPD’s Crime Scene Unit investigators to stay on the streets to collect evidence from any possible scene.
News 4 WOAI rode along with CSI tech Joe Rodriguez as he stayed on the clock on the holiday.
He walked us through the vehicle checklist, starting with evidence bags.
"For the most part we use paper bags, paper envelopes,” Rodriguez said.
Next: antibacterial spray.
"After each call we try to decontaminate our equipment and shoes and stuff,” Rodriguez said.
And of course: the fingerprint kit.
"The reason I carry it this small is so it can fit in my pocket,” Rodriguez said about the pencil case he uses to carry the equipment.
He patrolled the east side with scanners blaring inside the vehicle.
"They like for us to stay in our areas we're assigned to,” Rodriguez said. “That way, if we're needed, we can respond."
The eleven-year SAPD veteran called car burglaries the most common crime during the holidays.
"The number one thing I could say is don't touch anything,” Rodriguez advised future car break-in victims. “Don't move anything. Wait until we get there. The more the scene is undisturbed, the better. It helps us do our jobs."
For all the fans of “CSI,” the TV show, he said what it gets wrong is the timeline: for example, DNA results don’t come back the same day.
What the show gets right: the technology. During the holiday downtime, Rodriguez and his colleague Annie Campos learned more about the department’s new crime scene scanner.
"It allows you to have any vantage point in the crime scene you would need,” Campos said.
The pictures are uploaded to a computer, giving investigators a 3D perspective.
"This is between the alley so I can go all around the crime scene,” Rodriguez says while maneuvering the computer rendering of the scene.
It’s just another tool the Crime Scene Unit has at its disposal to keep San Antonio safe this Thanksgiving.