Tag Archives: crime analysis

Managing Major Cases Part Two: What puts the ‘Major’ in Major Cases?

In Part One of this series, I provided my definition of Major Cases and went into some detail about some of the attributes that differentiate a Case from a Major Case. Moving ahead now, I want to take a look at the different ‘types’ of Major Cases.

One of the problems in dealing with Major Cases is that, because of the varying types of cases, there’s no firm blueprint for investigating them. Major Cases move in real time, and – based upon interviews I have conducted with Major Case Investigators – can generally fall into one of two categories – Single Incidents and Multiple (serial) Incidents.

This article tackles Single Incident Major Cases.

Single incident Major Cases are defined by one single criminal act so abhorrent to the socio-economic environment, that it alone creates intense pressure to apprehend the perpetrator(s). What makes the incident so abhorrent ranges from factors such as:

The identity of the victim: In September of 1996, at the height of tensions between The Bloods and The Crips, a 25 year old African American man is shot in a drive-by shooting on the streets of Las Vegas and dies a few days later. Unfortunately, young black men die far too frequently in times of gang tensions, and few of these cases ever elevate to the status of a Major Case. The victim here, however, was Tupac Shakur.

Tupac was an American rapper and actor who came to embody the 1990s gangsta-rap aesthetic, and was a key figure in the feud between West Coast and East Coast hip hop artists. Simply put… he was famous as hell. Hence, a far-too-routine shooting became a Major Case in the blink of an eye. The case remains unsolved.

The identity of the suspect(s): “We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder.” Thus ended the double murder trial of former NFL player and Heisman Award winner OJ Simpson. In what was deemed ‘The Trial of the Century”, Simpson had been charged with the June 13, 1994 killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.

After weeks of testimony, and a clear nation-wide division between those who believed Simpson to be innocent and those who believed him guilty, Simpson was acquitted of the murders on October 3, 1995.

While the case of two relatively young and affluent Caucasians being killed in the generally safe area of Brentwood may have been newsworthy, it was the identity of the suspect that was the catalyst in this becoming one of the most famous single-incident Major Cases in American history.

The location of the crime: When a half-naked corpse, covered in cuts, bruises and bite marks, is found behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York’s Central Park, you have the makings of a Major Case. The corpse was that of 18-year-old Jennifer Dawn Levin. Levin was murdered during the early morning hours of August 26, 1986.

The ‘Met’, as the museum is known, is one of the most-visited and famous museums on the entire planet. Murders don’t happen in world-famous places like this, and the case became the top story on the evening news for months and months. That is one major single-incident Major Case.

After an investigation into what the press dubbed “The Preppie Murder”, college student Robert Chambers was charged and tried for murder. The jury, however, remained deadlocked for nine days and a plea bargain was struck. (Chambers’ defense, you may recall, was that he had killed Ms. Levin during consensual ‘rough sex’.)

The uniqueness of the crime itself: Six year old girls in upscale Colorado neighborhoods aren’t supposed to die. They’re certainly not supposed to be murdered… especially in their own home while the rest of the family slept. Uniqueness has always surrounded the December, 1996 killing of young beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey in Boulder, CO.

On the morning of December 26, 1996, John Ramsey found his daughter’s body with duct tape over her mouth and a cord twisted around her neck in the basement of the family home. John’s wife, Patsy, says she found a ransom note demanding $118,000 for JonBenét’s return – an amount that is purported to match exactly a recent work-related bonus that John Ramsey had received. Despite these odd circumstances, the couple retained lawyers and were not formally interviewed by police for over 4 months. (The case has never been solved, and Boulder Police have cleared the couple of any wrongdoing.)

Tragically, it’s estimated that over 1500 children are murdered each year in America. JonBenét’s case may have been just another number in that truly sad statistic were it not for unique circumstances that surrounded it; it occurred in an upscale neighborhood, the victim was a young beauty queen, the ransom note matching the bonus, a possible crime scene contamination by father John, and ‘seemingly’ uncooperative parents that made this a single-incident Major Case.

In Part Three of this series, we examine some examples and problems associated with Multiple Incident Major Cases.

 

Douglas Wood is CEO of Crime Technology Solutions | Case Closed Software, a leading provider of serious investigation software to law enforcement, state bureaus, DA offices, and other investigative units. Doug can be reached directly HERE.

Case Closed Software user HCSO featured on Investigation Discovery Network

When the sleepy town of Mooresburg, TN receives news that beloved teacher Margaret Jack Sliger is murdered on her farm, Hawkins County detectives are charged with finding the sinister perpetrator to bring their community justice.
ID Network (Investigation Discovery) recently aired an episode of the popular program “Murder Comes To Town” featuring Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) in Tennessee. The story surrounds the 2015 murder death of 79 year old Margaret Sliger in Mooresburg, TN and the 2 year effort to solve and prosecute the crime.
Case Closed Software® is proud to be the investigation case management software provider for HCSO, and to be associated with the agency.
If you subscribe to ID Network, you can view the episode HERE.
 

Big Data Policing – Pieces of Needles across Many Haystacks

A new solution for big data policing is answering the question “Can my agency afford big data policing?“. Strategic partners Visallo™ and Case Closed Software™ have built an affordable alternative to the types of solutions sold by Palantir Technologies™, IBM, and other massive tech companies.
The Visallo | Case Closed offering is the only affordable alternative for law enforcement agencies who know that the practice of crime analysis and criminal investigations management can be much worse than looking for a needle in a haystack. It’s actually pieces of needles hidden across many haystacks.
Finding those pieces and putting them together requires a metal detector and soldering gun. Visallo is the metal detector. Case Closed Software is the soldering iron.
Download our Pieces of Needles and Many Haystacks synopsis now, and contact us through the form below for more information:


 

Case Closed Software® Announces Cloud Version of Industry Leading Investigation Case Management Software.

November 29, 2017 (Austin, TX)   Case Closed Software®, a leader in the development of investigation software for law enforcement and commercial agencies, today announced the upcoming availability of Case Closed Cloud™, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of the company’s industry-leading investigative case management software.
The new offering comes on the heels of the company’s recent announcement regarding a strategic partnership with big data investigation analytics provider, Visallo®, to become the only true alternative to investigation software offered by large multinationals and Silicon Valley ‘unicorns’.
Case Closed Software is widely deployed in North America and abroad, and is generally considered to be the most feature-rich investigation platform available on the market.

“The time is right for a hybrid cloud-based investigation management platform. The software can either be accessed via the cloud or installed on premise.”

“The new version is designed to be hosted either in our secure cloud or behind the customers’ firewall”, said Douglas Wood, President of Case Closed Software. “More than half of all law enforcement agencies in the U.S. already use some type of cloud-based technologies, and the time is right for a true cloud-based investigation management platform. Through the Case Closed Cloud delivery model, our clients can access the software on any device, from any location. Customers can expect to see lower upfront costs, reduced infrastructure requirements, and a much faster deployment model.”
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According to the company, Case Closed Cloud is extremely secure, and allows agencies to manage, investigate, and close more cases, more quickly. The platform is designed to integrate with existing systems, both internal and external, that assist investigators in gathering the information that helps them throughout the investigative process.
Case Closed Cloud is developed using cutting-edge technologies, and includes specialized functionality for investigation workflow management, task and assignment support, ad hoc reporting, integrated visual link analysis, high powered big data and text analytics, confidential informant management, evidence and property tracking, a gang database module, and much more.

We expect to be live with our first SaaS customers before the end of the year.

“Case Closed is designed by former law enforcement investigators, specifically for this market”, added Tyler Wood, the company’s Director of Operations. “Over the past year, we have been approached several times by customers and business partners looking for us to deliver our functionality via the cloud.  We expect to be live with our first SaaS customers before the end of the year.”
The company said that Case Closed Cloud allows organizations to quickly implement and utilize the investigation management solution without large upfront licensing fees, and with less strain on IT resources.
About Case Closed Software
imageedit_12_9184783838Case Closed Software is the Texas-based leader in delivering investigation software to law enforcement and other investigation agencies. Developed by former law enforcement officials, the company’s software is used by dozens of agencies across the U.S. and beyond for investigation management, criminal intelligence, and powerful investigation analytics. For more information, visit https://www.caseclosedsoftware.com

Investigative Link Analysis: Consider the Source

Posted by Tyler Wood, Operations Manager at Case Closed Software and Crime Tech Solutions
Investigative link analysis and visualization software is a powerful tool for both law enforcement agencies and the private sector investigators alike. It allows investigators to visualize the hidden, non-obvious connections that would likely otherwise go undetected. After all, we know that the human brain is much more easily able to make connections when information is presented via images rather than text.

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An example of sophisticated investigative link analysis software, courtesy of Visallo

The software does, however, need a human to tell it what to look for, and where to look for it. Information is visualized in link analysis software by importing or querying a set of data, and then organizing that data according to parameters set by an investigator. The investigator is responsible for telling the software how to organize the data, and where to gather it from.
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There are many sources of data for an investigator. Considering the source is key.

A smart investigator will utilize multiple sources when visualizing software. The majority of the time, not all the information needed for an investigation will come from the same source.
Law Enforcement investigators may need to pull RMS data, cell phone records, case management records, and even third party data, etc, to fully understand the big picture in a scenario. By using link analysis to cross-reference these data clusters against each other, the investigator is able to see even more connections, and find even more relevant data that may be crucial in solving a case.
It is important for investigators to exhaust all their resources so they can paint the clearest picture possible. This marriage of intuition and technology ensures that no connections stay hidden from investigation.
The key, as in all of life, is considering the source.
Contact us for more information about how powerful investigation big data link analysis can help your agency today.


 

A Look at Digital Policing

For law enforcement and other police service agencies, the ability to rapidly manage and interpret massive amounts of data is of paramount importance. Front line officers require timely and accurate data that enables intelligence-led decision making, and officers must be deployed proactively in order to deter and prevent criminal behavior.
abmpegasus-intelligence-led-policingAs we have written before, the true lifeblood of effective policing is data. With disparate and poorly integrated systems, however, the intelligence that can be gleaned from that data is mitigated. The information is too often hidden or lost.
In order to better utilize data – coming from sources such as Records Management Systems, Computer Aided Dispatch, Criminal Intelligence Systems, and other such repositories – innovative law enforcement agencies turn to technology-agnostic, scalable analytics platforms which blend historical and real-time data to both solve today’s crimes and predict tomorrow’s. Supported by purpose-built law enforcement analytics, agencies can keep pace with growing volumes of data and stay one step ahead of the criminals via actionable insights.
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For disparate data to be transformed to actionable insights, law enforcement agencies must deal with several challenges:

  • Timeliness – Unlike fine wine, data tends to lose value over time. Crime happens in real time, and what was the case six months ago may not be the case today.
  • Reliability – The data absolutely must be trusted by the officers entrusted with using it.
  • Fragmentation – If the data is overly fragmented or otherwise unavailable, it becomes cumbersome to use and holds little value.
  • Auditability – Without a clear and recognized audit trail, agencies are not able to effectively track the decisions made in the field versus what the analytics pointed to.

5WAn analytics solution helps blend data from disparate sources in order to provide officers with a trusted, single view of the truth. Simply put, the right analytics software will help agencies manage the challenges above.

While there has been a ton of negative news related to predictive policing, recently, using an analytics platform approach allows agencies to consolidate, analyze, and utilize ALL of their data. This analysis can – and does – help agencies become more efficient and more effective.

Overland Park senior crime analyst Jamie May joins Crime Tech Solutions

September 16, 2016 – (Leander, TX)  Crime Tech Solutions, a fast-growing provider of low cost / high performance crime fighting software and analytics is delighted to announce the addition of Jamie May as senior analyst and strategic advisor to the company.

jamiemayMs. May has spent over 17 years as a crime and intelligence analyst for Overland Park Police Department in Kansas, and is a recognized expert in crime analysis, mapping, and criminal intelligence. She has sat on critical crime analysis committees including the International Association of Crime Analysts’ Ethics Committee (IACA) and is a past Vice President / Secretary at Mid American Regional Crime Analyst Network (MARCAN).

“Jamie brings an incredible amount of user experience and innovation to the company”, said Kevin Konczal, Crime Tech Solutions’ VP of Sales. “She’s been active in this community for years, and co-authored the ground-breaking guide, GIS in Law Enforcement: Implementation Issues and Case Studies.”

“To me, Crime Tech Solutions represents a truly innovative company that understands how to develop and market very good technology at prices that most agencies can actually afford”, said Ms. May. “I’m looking forward to being part of the continued growth here.”

In her role with the company, Ms. May will interact with customers and prospects to help align the company’s solution strategy with market and user requirements.

black versionCrime Tech Solutions, who earlier this year acquired TN based Case Closed Software, delivers unique value to customers with comprehensive investigative case management software, sophisticated link analysis tools, criminal intelligence management software, and crime mapping technology that includes some of the industry’s best analytics and reporting capabilities.

 
 
 
 

Using crime analysis solutions to take a ‘Byte’ out of crime

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Law enforcement agencies everywhere are tasked with reducing and investigating crime with fewer and fewer resources at their disposal. “To protect and serve” is the highest responsibilities one can sign up for, particularly in light of recent well-publicized criticisms of police by activists in every city.
That responsibility weighs even heavier in a world with no shortage of criminals and terrorists. There’s never enough money in the budget to adequately deal with all of the issues that face an individual agency on a daily basis. Never enough feet on the street, as they say.
New Tools for Age-Old Problems
Perhaps that’s why agencies everywhere are moving to fight crime with an evolving 21st century weapon – law enforcement software including investigative case management, link and social network analysis, and, importantly, crime analytics with geospatial and temporal mapping.
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Crime analytics and investigation software have proven themselves to be valuable tools in thwarting criminal activity by helping to better define resource allocation, target investigations more accurately, and enhancing public safety,
According to some reports, law enforcement budgets have been reduced by over 80% since the early 2000s. Still, agencies are asked to do more and more, with less and less.
Analytics in Policing

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Predictive Analytics for Policing

Analytics in law enforcement  play a key role in helping law enforcement agencies better forecast what types of crimes are most likely to occur in a certain area within a certain window of time. While no predictive analytics solution offers the clarity of a crystal ball, they can be effective in affecting crime reduction and public safety.
Predictive analysis, in essence, is taking data from disparate sources, analyzing them and then using the results to anticipate, prevent and respond more effectively to future crime. Those disparate data sources typically include historical crime data from records management systems, calls for service/dispatch information, tip lines, confidential informant information, and specialized criminal intelligence data.
The Five W’s of Predictive Analytics
Within this disparate data lie the 5 W’s of information that can be used by crime analysis software to build predictions. Those key pieces include:

  1. Arrest records – who committed crimes
  2. Geospatial data – where crimes have occurred
  3. Temporal data – when crimes have occurred
  4. Statistical data – what crimes have occurred
  5. Investigation data – why (and how) the crimes occurred

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Using the 5 W’s, agencies are able to gain insight and make predictions about likely future criminal behavior. For example, if a certain type of crime (what) tends to occur in ‘this’ area (where) at ‘this’ time (when), and by ‘this’ type of individual (who) for ‘this’ reason (why)… it would be wise to deploy resources in that area at that time in order to prevent the incidents from ever occurring. This, of course, is a dramatic over-simplification of the types of analytics that make up predictive policing, but illustrates the general concept well.
Although criminals will always try to be one step ahead of the law, agencies deploying predictive analytics are able to maximize the effectiveness of its staff and other resources, increasing public safety, and keeping bad guys off the street.
More about Crime Tech Solutionsblack version
Crime Tech Solutions is an Austin, TX based provider of crime and fraud analytics software for commercial and law enforcement groups. Our offerings include sophisticated Case Closed™ investigative case management and major case management, GangBuster™ gang intelligence software, powerful link analysis software, evidence management, mobile applications for law enforcement, comprehensive crime analytics with mapping and temporal reporting, and 28 CFR Part 23 compliant criminal intelligence database management systems.

Data continues to influence policing

Great article by Megan Favignano at New Press Now. Original article at http://www.newspressnow.com/news/local_news/data-continues-to-influence-policing/article_ef968ba2-389c-5289-b341-a9818ae231d7.html
A copy of the article follows:
5WA recent report questions how some police departments are using data to forecast future crimes.
The report examined how departments are utilizing predictive policing, a computer software that uses data to forecast where crime may happen, who may commit it and who could be potential victims.

Logan Koepke, an analyst who coauthored the report, said the handful of departments that use the software don’t appear to give patrol officers much guidance on what to do with the information provided.
“One problem we’ve seen is there is not a lot of direction from police departments or from vendors about what officers in the field should do once they look at a prediction,” Koepke said.
Upturn, an analysis organization out of Washington, D.C., that works with a variety of groups, published the report “Stuck in a Pattern” last month. “Predictive policing,” the report states, is a marketing term popularized by vendors who sell the software.
The group’s research showed areas that use the software often don’t engage the public in discussion about predictive policing and questioned whether or not departments who use it are measuring the impact the data-driven tool has on policing and crime rates.
AnalyticsHow police departments nationwide utilize crime statistics and the software available to patrol officers monitoring incidents has evolved a lot in the past couple decades, Sgt. Tracy Barton with the St. Joseph Police Department said. Barton started as a patrol officer 20 years ago. He said having software like police have today would have been useful.
“I was in District 7, which is the Midtown area. It would have been really cool to know where crime is occurring in District 7 and that I could look that up on a computer and have it at my fingertips where I could see it on an up-to-date basis,” Barton said.
In the past, crime analysts used physical maps and mathematical algorithms to do what software does instantly today. Barton, the St. Joseph Police Department’s crime analyst, uses software that takes into account crimes reported to police to show crime hot spots in the city. A map of those hot spots is available online. Officers, he said, have access to a more in-depth version of that hot spots map, which includes extra details about the area and the crimes occurring.
The hot spots approach St. Joseph police use is most helpful in preventing crime when a series of crimes occur or when there is a crime pattern in a given area, he said. St. Joseph’s small size, Barton added, poses an extra challenge.
Crime analytics Mapping Predicitive Policing
The St. Joseph Police Department has had its current software for just a few years. It doesn’t fit the definition of the predictive policing software Upturn outlines in the recent report. The software used locally depends on crime reports police receive. Predictive policing also looks at what types of business are located in an area, if repeat offenders live nearby and other information to predict where crimes may occur. Typically, according to the recent report, predictive policing takes one of two approaches, focusing either on place-based data or person-based data to make predictions.
Kevin Bryant, sociology and criminology professor at Benedictine College, said when people hear predictive policing described, they often think of the movie “Minority Report.” The software, he said, is nothing like in the movies.
“Predictive policing now has kind of morphed into better proactive methods that are based on prediction to some extent in forecasting risk,” Bryant said of how data-driven policing has changed over time. “But what we’ve learned through evaluation studies is that it’s really more important what the police do when they’re in a crime hot spot.”
Ba10ryant worked with the Shawnee, Kansas, Police Department on research that looked at what he calls “smart policing.” In his research and in other work he has read, Bryant said it’s important for police to have a high visibility in crime hot spots, for officers to make connections with the public and for them to avoid staying in crime hot spots for extended periods of time.
When police are in a hot spot for too long, public surveys show area residents feel like they are being picked on rather than protected, he said. Predictive policing takes into account businesses in a given area. Bryant said some types of facilities are at a higher risk of victimization and others can attract crime to an area.
“Knowing where bars, taverns, restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores are, we can actually use their locations as a means of forecasting where crime might emerge at a later date,” Bryant said. “Part of predictive policing is predicting who the risky offenders are and that can be controversial.”
Upturn’s report also explored an ongoing debate among criminologists on the impact of using crime reports when determining patrol.
“Criminologists have long emphasized that crime reports and other statistics gathered by the police are not an accurate record of the crime that happens in a community,” the report states.
Police statistics, Koepke said, reflect officer enforcement efforts, not just crime.
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Police Data: Beyond 'black' and 'white'?

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Beyond ‘black’ and ‘white’?

Published by Crime Tech Solutions

The notion of predictive policing is hotly debated. Some suggest that the technology removes the elements of racial bias in policing. Others claim that it does little to improve public safety. In fact, the predictive policing world took a hit recently when Milpita Police Department in California canceled a contract with software provider PredPol, suggesting that the tool offered little in way of ROI.

Predictive policing refers to the usage of mathematical, predictive and analytical techniques in law enforcement to identify potential criminal activity. Pulling in data from a variety of sources such as arrest records, calls for service, and geospatial (location) data, the promise of predictive policing offers law enforcement a statistical probability that a crime may occur in a particular location within a particular period of time.

crime-analysisAdvocates say ‘Great, let’s prevent the crime from happening’. Opponents say ‘The output is only as good as the input’. In other words, there are claims that a reliance upon historical data unduly influences the prediction. The position suggests that if police have tended to make arrests in Location A, then of course predictive policing will suggest patrolling Location A.

That argument has some holes, however; not the least of which is the very simple fact that historical data is the only kind of data that can ever exist. It has to happen before it’s data. The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior, says the pro-predictive policing side.

We think RAND Corporation puts it best when they state:

Predictive policing methods are not a crystal ball: they cannot foretell the future. They can only identify people and locations at increased risk of crime … the most effective predictive policing approaches are elements of larger proactive strategies that build strong relationships between police departments and their communities to solve crime problems.

5WThis same RAND statement was printed today by Dan Verton at MeriTalk. In an article entitled “Policing Data Sees Beyond Black and White“, Mr. Verton does an excellent job of discussing predictive policing in the context of current racial tensions in many US cities. The backdrop for the MeriTalk story is a new book by Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald who, in her book “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe“, uses data and data analytics to counter the argument that America’s police departments are engaged in a campaign of racial bias.

Our take is that predictive policing has merit. It is an important part of the law enforcement arsenal. Unfortunately, the term ‘Predictive Policing’ has also become a buzzword used by software vendors who aim to stake their claim in the law enforcement data analytics game. As a result of the gross overuse of the term, the predictive policing waters have become muddied.

Disagree? We entered the term into Google today and found about 350,000 unique pages.

We also think that the lack of ROI cited in Milpitra PD’s cancellation with PredPol is largely a result of costs. The promise of predictive policing, coupled with the over-hyped flame fanning of advocates (mostly vendors) has made the software relatively expensive.

Crime analytics Mapping Predicitive PolicingNevertheless, it’s hard for law enforcement to deliver a strong predictive policing ROI if they were over sold on its’ merits to begin with. The good news is that the hype is on the downswing and reality is setting in: Predictive policing is not the next greatest thing. Instead, as we suggest, it is an important tool that law enforcement can use to combat and prevent crime.

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Crime Tech Solutions  is a low price / high performance innovator in crime analytics and law enforcement crime-fighting software. The clear price/performance leader for crime fighting software, the company’s offerings include sophisticated Case Closed™ investigative case management and major case management, GangBuster™ gang intelligence software, powerful link analysis software, evidence managementmobile applications for law enforcement, comprehensive crime analytics with mapping and predictive policing, and 28 CFR Part 23 compliant criminal intelligence database management systems.

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