Dear America: Crime scene Investigators are underpaid

Crime Scene Investigators should at least have equal pay to police officers.


Rachel Stewart

Crime Scene Investigators collecting evidence found at the crime scene.

Ava Spokis, Staff Writer

Investigating crime shows the human suffering that accompanies criminal behavior.

The first case I saw was Ted Bundy; his case is one many know. He was an American serial killer who kidnapped, raped, and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s. This case was one of the first cases I saw that drew me into the fascination that really goes on with crime that may not be seen to the world.

Ted Bundy waving to camera’s during trial.(Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)

What is the job of a Crime scene investigator?

Crime scene investigators document the crime scene. They take photographs and physical measurements of the scene, identify and collect forensic evidence, and maintain the proper chain of custody for the evidence.

Not only are they being put into dangerous situations of crime scenes but they are also diving into the more in-depth investigation of how and why this criminal committed the act they did.

Whether you’re within the CSI or FBI I believe for the line of work they are conducting they are underpaid. The BLS reported the median salary of a crime scene investigator as of May 2020 is $60,590.

Their line of work deserves at least an equal salary of a police officer. Police officers make around $76,340 per year in Massachusetts.

The highest paying salary according to the career guide is New York with a salary of $95,678 per year.

The more experience you acquire results in a higher paycheck but rather all workers are contributing a major amount of tasks such as talking with victims and witnesses, looking for weapons and other physical evidence, and collecting and taking samples from crime scenes.

So why shouldn’t everyone have an equal chance to higher pay, not just based off of degree’s and education? Yes, books and education are important but so is first hand work to become an even better worker and the determination to do it well.

As I am going into the line of work of forensic analysis and/or a Crime scene investigator, the work they are devoted to proves their dedication and amount required for them.

When I am done with college and searching for a job in this field I hope to see a difference in pay and support for how much they really do.

Although I have not stepped onto a crime scene myself yet, watching crime shows such as Criminal Minds and True Crime fascinated me with the behind the scenes work they perform. As I will be going to college to study forensic science, the in-depth observation and analysis of crime scenes and criminals has always fascinated me.

An example of a homicide crime scene.(Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Image)

Along with being underpaid there are a few disadvantages such as the work environment and work hours which depend on employer and specific role.

Why are they so underpaid?

It is government work and they set the salaries, but it also depends where you work. Depending on your degree and being raised higher within positions can also be a contributing factor. Science overall is typically a low paying field due to their intelligence and skills.

I think that these factors make sense but if all the workers are completing the same tasks, how do employers or the government decide who should get a raise and who shouldn’t? I don’t believe a degree is the main factor but rather work ethic show their devotion to the line of work.

The bigger the agencies, the better the pay.

Crime scene investigator jobs continue to rise in demand and are projected to grow 5% from 2018 to 2028.

Being a crime scene investigator you are going into the job aware of lower pay but rather something should change. I think that the line of work they are doing deserves to be shown how much they truly do and as a result should allow for higher pay. You aren’t only just collecting information but are making a difference to just get one less criminal out there with a conscience of their actions.

Is scientific analysis just as important?

Forensic scientist in a lab analysis evidence. (Photographer: Zack Lane, Hofstra University Photographer) (Zack Lane – Hofstra University P)

I believe that yes science is a very important aspect in solving crimes especially murders as they uncover the evidence to convict and identify information of how, who, where, and when this crime took place.

Analyzing the results of an experiment is essential as it helps scientists determine if the data collected from the experiment will support their hypothesis. Overall the forensic science piece is a critical element of the criminal justice system. They examine and analyze evidence from crime scenes with developed objective findings to assist within the investigation.

How is scientific analysis seen as less important as the people catching the criminals?

They analyze and interpret the information from the scene to gather the evidence to prove them guilty but also the more in depth understanding of the motive and what actually happened when this crime took place.