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Best Practices for NGO Investigations Into Human Trafficking

Introduction

The investigation of human trafficking – and the rescue of victims – is a complex undertaking with many moving parts.

Investigations of human traffickers, and the subsequent rescue of victims, is a very complex undertaking. Unlike more traditional criminal investigations, there is rarely ‘one suspect’, ‘one victim’, or ‘one location’.

Instead, the crime of human trafficking takes place in a shady world that consists of multiple entities. Multiple perpetrators who work for multiple criminal organizations. Multiple victims who are trafficked by multiple pimps in multiple locations. These variables can make human trafficking a hidden crime that is difficult to investigate. The cost of not investigating, however, is the loss of lives, the loss of freedom, and the loss of innocence.

One particularly complicating feature of human trafficking investigations is the relationships between victims and traffickers. Traffickers initially use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They seek out victims who may be susceptible to their lies for a variety of reasons including economic hardship, psychological or emotional instability, or other socio-economic disadvantages.

Victims of human trafficking are often helpless to call out for help, making the crime even more difficult to investigate.

Once lured by the traffickers, victims rarely have an opportunity to speak out or call for help. Language barriers, fear of their attackers, lack of a social safety net, and a general feeling of helplessness overwhelm the victims. Thus, the crime becomes difficult to investigate.

But investigate we must. The cost of turning our backs on this global problem is simply too high.

This overview will focus on some best practices for managing investigations into human trafficking, the capture of perpetrators, and the rescue of victims. A haphazard approach to these sensitive and complex investigations is likely to cause more harm than good, and these best practices are designed to help your organization maximize your productivity and safely rescue more victims.

Best Practice #1 – Stay Organized

The first best practice we need to discuss is ‘Staying Organized’. What might start off as a Tip that a young girl is being sold for sex in a local hotel may quickly grow in scope to include multiple victims, multiple locations, multiple pimps, and multiple abusers. These criminal enterprises thrive in the dark and, like cockroaches, simply scatter and disappear once light is shone. The practice of staying organized helps ensure that no intelligence or evidence falls through the cracks, giving the traffickers time to scatter and hide.

Using investigation case management software, such as that provided by Case Closed Software™, helps human trafficking investigators plan and stay organized.

Use investigation case management software. There are simply too many ‘moving parts’ within a human trafficking enterprise to attempt to stay organized without a purpose-built database. Spreadsheets, notes, cloud folders… these are all yesterday’s tools that cannot adequately manage today’s investigations.

With your case management software, track every tip that you receive. Some tips may be stronger than others. Some may lead to full-blown investigations, and some may not. In any case, track and store each tip that you receive as you never, ever know when information from those tips may become relevant to your ongoing investigations.

Triage every tip you can. Spend a moment to search your case management system to determine if anything about a tip relates to any current or past investigation. You can’t do this with paper files or spreadsheets. Perform some online research on the subject(s) of the tips to gauge how reliable the information might be. If the tip initially lacks the actionable or credible information to assign resources, keep the data in the case management system for future use. If the tip does contain actionable and credible information, use the case management system to prepare an actual Investigative Case and assign resources immediately.

A key to a successful investigation and rescue is tracking all of the actions being taken and sharing that information with the appropriate team members.

Importantly, in terms of Staying Organized, use your case management process to track each action being taken on the investigation. Did someone perform some Open Source Intelligence on the suspected location? Log that information electronically so that it does not fall through the cracks.

Has an agent visited the suspected location to determine if there are likely victims there? Log that into the system. Store any videos or photographs that the investigator made and attach them right to that case.

Log and maintain notes and related files on every action taken on your human trafficking cases. Make them safe, secure, and easy to access by other team members.

Organization is the KEY to any criminal investigation, and even more so for investigations into human trafficking.

Best Practice #2 – Securely Share Information in Real-Time

Investigations into human trafficking and victim rescues are complex and cannot occur in a vacuum. Much like the criminal enterprises themselves have multiple roles such as kidnappers, transporters, handlers, and pimps for example, so must your investigation team have specialized roles. Your undercover ‘john’ cannot be the same as your public-facing advocate, for example.

Sharing information across jurisdictions, cultures, and languages can be difficult. Use case management software from Case Closed Software™ to facilitate understanding.

The key to ensuring that everyone involved in the investigation is successful is sharing information. In an environment where traffickers are always on the lookout for potential risks to their operation, it’s of utmost importance that your operational team all be on the same page so that no missteps occur.

This type of alerting and information sharing cannot be done by text messages or word-of-mouth. It must occur within a fool-proof system of secure information sharing where there is no room for ambiguity. Lives depend upon it.

All of the actions and intelligence that is gathered during an investigation should be securely stored in your case management system. The moment a member of the investigation team submits new information, all other permitted team members should have secure, online access to the new information whether they are notes, videos, photographs or other file types. The removal of ambiguity or misinterpretation is key to ensuring that all team members are aware of the case status at all times.

Human trafficking is a global problem. Language barriers should not stand in the way of investigations and rescues.

As an aside, for multi-jurisdictional investigations, teams should ensure that individual members can view the information in the language of their choice in real-time. If the information was entered by an investigator in Brazil using Portuguese, that information should immediately be readable to a team member in Colombia who understands only Spanish. Always focus on ensuring your team members have access to accurate information in real-time. When time is lost, the cockroaches scatter.

Ensuring that sensitive data is available only to those with proper permissions is vital to keeping human trafficking investigations on track.

In those unique situations where individual team members do NOT require access to the information, perhaps because an investigation is particularly sensitive or involves public officials, your case management system should have capabilities to disallow them from viewing the update. This keeps information in the correct hands, while still furthering the integrity of the data-sharing requirement.

Only when information is shared in real-time can managers and team leaders best determine the next steps for the investigation and rescue of victims.

Best Practice #3 – Maintain Investigation Privacy and Integrity

As mentioned above, human trafficking organizations are like cockroaches. The moment they sense something is going to shine a light on them, they disappear into the woodwork. This most tragic of outcomes is painful for both the investigators and victims alike.

Keeping the investigation lights off, therefore, must be a strategic goal of human trafficking investigations. Assigning roles to your team, and ensuring that all members are adhering to those roles, is one way to keep your actions covert and secure. If a team member’s role is to pose as an interested buyer of sex, that team member should probably not also be involved in general reconnaissance of crime scenes where he or she may be recognized.

Policies and procedures exist for a reason. Ensure that they are followed. Even seemingly small mistakes can cause an investigation to derail.

Another way to ensure privacy and integrity is to utilize cutting-edge access policies to ensure that information is not accessed by outsiders or, worse yet, an insider to your team. Ensure, therefore, that EVERY SINGLE KEYSTROKE into your case management system is logged and reviewable. If your suspect organization packed up and left mere days before your major rescue and arrest operation, its important to know how that happened. Who accessed the information in your case management system, and why?

Make sure that the information your team is electronically storing is secure. Very secure. Use globally recognized and proven data security standards to protect all data and access to it. Ensure that all team members are trained and well-versed on any systems you are using for investigations.

There can never be too much integrity in a human trafficking investigation, and there can never be too much privacy. Loose lips sink ships. The same goes for loose investigation procedures. The line between a rescued victim and a lost opportunity is thin. Use investigation privacy and integrity to walk that line more effectively.

Best Practice #4 – Share Information with Senior Law Enforcement or Trusted Partners

As a team of human trafficking investigators, you recognize the seriousness and horror of human beings – like you, like me, like our daughters, sons, and grandchildren – being bought and sold for pleasure. You understand the misery of the victims and feel compelled to help. Good. That makes you a good person.

Law Enforcement agencies, however, do not typically act as emotional human beings. They have full caseloads involving homicides, drugs, corruption, and a host of other traditional crimes. Too often, they view human trafficking as merely ‘prostitution’. If a person wants to sell his or her body in exchange for money, there are no victims and, therefore, these cases can often receive a very low priority. Many times, they are dismissed out of hand.

The job of the human trafficking investigation team, therefore, is to get the attention of senior local law enforcement partners in a direct and meaningful manner… one that compels the officers to work with your team in rescues and arrests.

When meeting with Law Enforcement partners, be prepared.

Our history and background suggest that engaging senior law enforcement ‘too early’ adds risk to the investigation. Remember, loose lips sink ships, and these cases are often viewed as unimportant.

Sadly, our experience also shows that involving senior partners ‘too late’ is problematic as police departments are often reluctant to become involved in situations that they have not directly controlled and cannot easily verify the integrity of the work done prior to their involvement.

So, the answer of when to involve your senior partners is unique to each case and each situation. That decision can’t be covered in detail here. Instead, the method used to involve local senior law enforcement – whenever that transpires – is a factor that you can and should control to maximize the potential for a successful operation.

Sharing a full case file with Law Enforcement is vital to achieving their assistance. Wherever possible, use specific statutes and violation codes to help your partners understand the work you’ve put in.

Going in to meet with your prospective law enforcement partner should be a pleasant experience. Your team has built a good case and you’re ready to involve the authorities to help finalize the operation. Going in unprepared, however, will result in disappointment or disaster. As advocates for the prosecution of these types of crimes, you’re full of passion. Best practices, however, show that it is equally important to be full of actionable facts, evidence, and proof.

Therefore, best practices suggest that you build a ‘case file’ as you prepare to meet with law enforcement or senior management. On television, they sometimes call the visual representation of this case file a ‘murder board’. Make sure you have one. Make sure your case file lists ALL of the entities involved in your case. Make sure it includes all of the specific actions you’ve taken. Make sure it includes all of the audio, video, photos, and other evidence you’ve gathered.

Make sure the case file clearly shows the human trafficking operation. Who is in charge? Who are victims? What locations are involved? Who are the supporting witnesses?

Without an easy-to-digest case file, your chance of getting senior law enforcement’s attention diminishes quickly. So, utilize your case management system to very clearly outline the case in a compelling and thorough manner.

Best Practice #5 – Plan, Plan, and Plan Again

The final best practice is Operational Planning. Not to overstate it, but as I’ve said earlier human traffickers are cockroaches. At the first sign of light, you’ll lose them. Every time.

The final best practice for investigating human trafficking is perhaps the most important. Plan.

The biggest key to a successful human trafficking investigation boils down to three elements: Plan, Plan, and Plan Again!

Plan, then plan again, and then plan once more. Plan your response to every initial tip. Plan your initial investigation work into every case. Plan the tasks and mission of every operative involved in your case. Plan how to get case information into the hands of those who need it in real-time. Plan to keep the investigation quiet so as not to risk the cockroaches running.

Plan every covert operation as if lives depended upon it. They might. Plan in advance what the ‘panic’ word is. Plan in advance what hand signals your operative might use if audio fails. Plan in advance to know where the nearest trauma center is. Plan in advance to know what other risks are present. Dogs? Security? Children?

Plan and make that plan available to everyone who needs to see it. Share that plan in your case management system and know when every user has read it.

Finally, plan to present your case in a compelling manner to senior law enforcement officials. And then work with them on a plan to successfully pull victims out of harm’s way and arrest the bad guys.

Summary of Best Practices

Software from Case Closed Software™ helps NGO’s and other parties manage successful investigations into human trafficking.

We have covered some of the key ingredients to a successful human trafficking investigation and rescue. Of course, no operation ever goes exactly as you expect, but by ensuring that you are following these best practices – staying organized, sharing internal information, maintaining investigation integrity, effectively engaging with senior law enforcement officials, and conducting meticulous planning – you greatly increase the likelihood that your efforts will result in the wonderful rescue of victims and the prosecution and incarceration of the perpetrators.

By Douglas Wood, entrepreneur and investigation management professional.

Copyright 2021 Case Closed Software™

Managing Multi-Jurisdictional Investigations

Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Forces, Cold Case task forces, Anti-Human Trafficking task forces, Internet Crimes against Children Task Forces, Wildlife Protection task forces, and the like… they all share a common problem.

Collecting, storing, and disseminating investigative information is difficult enough in any complex investigation unit. Imagine the compounded problems of investigating cases in multiple jurisdictions, across different countries, in multiple languages, with multiple sets of rules and case workflows!

 

Case Closed Software™ produces software to assist people with this process, making it easier to generate, store, and retrieve information over the course of investigating a case, whether that case is across the city or halfway around the world.

When international users investigate cases, they need to be able to collect and store data in a useful and meaningful way so that they can access it later AND to make information available to other people who might have an interest in the case.

Historically, investigative case management required people to start paper files to store witness statements, track evidence, collect and record the outcome of various lines of inquiry, and so forth. Today, Case Closed Software replaces the paper files, allowing people to quickly record and access data.

Investigative case management facilitates the recovery of data at every step of the investigation, along with supporting references, digital images, and other electronic material that can be stored in a computer case file. It is often also necessary to store physical evidence and provide information to help people find it through evidence handling and chain-of-custody records.

The ability to know where EVERY case is, where EVERY piece of evidence is, and what EVERY agent is working on is vital to multi-jurisdictional investigation units.

Active information sharing – across remote jurisdictions and disparate languages – also allows people to do things like connect related cases, identify persons of interest, track organized crime, work with informants, and increase productivity.

CJIS-Compliant and globally-recognized systems from Case Closed Software streamlines the process and simplify data entry so that users can enter materials to quickly and easily, rather than days or weeks later when the information may be less useful.

Case Closed Software solutions for multi-jurisdictional investigations are currently used by customers across the globe to investigate drugs and narcotics, animal cruelty, child sexual abuse, human trafficking, and a host of more traditional criminal investigations.

For more information please visit us at www.caseclosedsoftware.com

Contributed by Douglas Wood, CEO at Case Closed Software™

Veterans 4 Child Rescue Deploys Leading-Edge Technology to Battle Age-Old Human Trafficking Problem

Tucson, AZ – (April 1, 2021) Vets 4 Child Rescue (V4CR), a non-profit organization formed in 2017 and dedicated to fighting child rape trafficking, announced today that they have adopted the industry leading investigation case management system from Austin, TX based Case Closed Software™.

According to a V4CR spokesperson, their non-profit’s mission is 3-fold:

Nationwide alert: Provide nationwide attention to the prevalence of child rape trafficking that is rampant in all 50 states. This is done through traditional media, social media and our Nationwide Volunteer program.
Arrest child predators: An investigative team uses their military and law enforcement experience to run operations in conjunction with local/federal law enforcement and district attorneys to arrest predators that prey on children and to ensure that they will see the cases through to conviction.
Protect our children: The V4CR Nationwide Volunteer program provides educational outreach programs to arm citizens with the necessary tools to protect their children and maintain safe communities.

“V4CR is fully committed to the rescue of children, and we’re investing in the best technologies possible to assist us. Case Closed Software is a huge part of that strategy”, says V4CR Founder and Veteran Navy SEAL Craig “Sawman” Sawyer. “With these leading-edge tools, we can ensure the evidence will be processed optimally and the predators brought to legal account behind bars where they can harm no more.”

Craig grew up near Houston, TX, got his tactical start in the U.S. Marine Corps, and quickly transitioned to the U.S. Navy to pursue high-level Special Operations as a U.S. Navy SEAL. As an Operator on the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), Craig gained critical combat experience that is now being utilized to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Because of his experience as a federal criminal investigator, Craig is uniquely qualified to run joint sting operations with law enforcement agencies and allied Non-Governmental Organizations.

Case Closed Software, founded in 2016 by Austin TX entrepreneur Douglas Wood, provides V4CR with robust software designed to assist in their fight against human trafficking and child rape. The software helps V4CR track the entire case lifecycle from tips to post-prosecution, and has revolutionized their ability to work more cases, arrest more perpetrators, and most importantly rescue more children.

“With all of our law enforcement connections and investigators, we needed a platform that will allow us to better our operations and use our resources to their full capacity” added Pete McCarthy, the director of investigations at V4CR. “Case Closed Software gives us end-to-end case management with a configurable workflow, tips and leads management, evidence tracking, operations planning, multi-language support, and a host of other powerful features including entity deconfliction and visualization.”

Case Actions – The Baseline For Productive Investigation Units

Several times each week, I receive an inquiry from a PD, task force, or Sheriff’s office asking if my investigation case management software, Case Closed Software, can interface with a particular Records Management System (RMS). The question stems from the investigation unit’s desire to have a purpose-built, flexible solution designed to help their agents stay organized and work more efficiently.

Let’s face it… RMS software, by and large, is not designed for managing major cases. Agencies know it, and the RMS vendors know it. For them, the notion of managing the complexities of major case investigations is an afterthought at best.

(The answer I give to these inquiries, by the way, is that any good investigation management software should have capabilities to ingest data from other law enforcement products, including RMS).

The more important point, however, is recognizing that criminal investigators gather vasts amounts of information during the course of an investigation. Witness statements, interviews, interrogations, tips, leads, informant statements, audio files, video files, photos, and much more. Too often, agents must rely on their RMS systems which, per above, are not purpose-built for investigations. Investigators also rely heavily on paper files and file cabinets full of notes, search warrants, and physical evidence.

Fortunately, there is an alternative… purpose built investigation case management software that utilizes what I call ‘Case Actions’ as the underlying workflow. Case Actions are the individual actions that an investigation unit takes in pursuit of closing a case. Case Actions are expansive in nature, and include:

  • Crime Scene Visits
  • Interviews
  • Interrogations
  • Knock ‘n Talks
  • Surveillance
  • DNA
  • Search Warrants
  • Affidavits
  • Controlled Buys
  • Arrests

… and much, much more. You get the idea, though.

By effectively logging each Case Action in a particular Case, the investigators (and management) are able to quickly and visually recognize the status of the case, and what further actions should be taken. Each Case Action leads to new information… which leads to new Case Actions. And the beat goes on. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, enough information is garnered to close the case. That’s the power of Case Action based workflow.

WIth the Case Action based approach, each Case Action is tied to Persons, Locations, Vehicles, etc. As a result, robust dossiers of these things are built without the individual agent(s) even realizing it.

By utilizing an investigation case management solution that is based upon Case Actions, law enforcement can leverage information from previously-entered data such as telephone numbers, evidence items, addresses, persons, gang members, etc. The Case Actions feed themselves – and each other – to build a valuable repository of investigative information.

An example: A detective has received a tip that Doug Wood is involved in a particular criminal activity. By accessing her Case Action-based system, she quickly learns that Doug Wood has been a Suspect in Case 1 (belonging to an entirely different investigator), and a Witness in Case 2 (belonging to a third investigator).

She also learns (via Case Actions performed by the Gang Unit) that Doug Wood shares an address with a confirmed Gang Member and goes by the nickname ‘Woody’. She also sees Doug’s previous addresses, telephone numbers, work history, social media accounts and so on… each of which has been logged as part of completely unique Case Actions.

That is the power of Case Actions based investigation management software. Because each previous Case Action involving Doug Wood was logged, the current investigator has a goldmine of information at her fingertips.

Case Closed Software is the leading provider of Case Action based investigation case management software for law enforcement. Contact Us for a demo today!

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.

Managing Major Cases: Part One

This is Part 1 of a series dedicated to the science (and art) of  managing Major Criminal Cases in law enforcement. In order to begin a discussion on this subject, though, it’s important to define what makes an investigation a Major Case Investigation in the first place.

My friend, Chief Dan McDevitt, defines a Major Case in his popular book ‘Major Case Management: A Guide for Law Enforcement Managers‘ as follows:

“A Major Case is a real or suspected crime of such severity that it creates an intense public demand for identification, apprehension, and prosecution of the offender(s).”

– Chief Daniel McDevitt

Irrespective of how your own definition may vary from Chief Dan’s, this much is simple; Major Cases are serious criminal matters. The degree of ‘seriousness’, however, is almost entirely relative. A stabbing in Chicago may not, by itself, be ‘serious’ as viewed by the public at large. Conversely, a sexual assault on a small University Campus may be extremely ‘serious’.

Make no mistake… neither are good or acceptable, and both are, of course, unthinkable violations. The point here is that cases may be Major Cases (or not) by virtue of the relative socio-economic environment in which they are being investigated.

Attributes of a Major Case. You probably have a Major Case when..

All of that said, there are several attributes which are common in major case investigations:

  1. Resource Requirements – The amount of resources that an investigation unit must devote to a Major Case is substantial… far more than the average investigative case. This would include additional officers, overtime, forensics work, and the like. If your budget is shot in one fell swoop… you probably have a Major Case on your hands.
  2. Big Brother is Watching – Maybe the Mayor is involved. Maybe the ACLU. Black Lives Matter? The NRA, even. Major Cases are often associated with major non-law enforcement interest from groups claiming to be stakeholders. If Al Sharpton, Wayne LaPierre, or AG Jeff Sessions have chimed in… you probably have a Major Case on your hands.
  3. All Hands on Deck – Major Cases tend to redefine titles and organizational roles. Many of the Chiefs and Sheriffs I have interviewed on this topic describe pulling all types of duty assignments. Patrol officers become Detectives, who become Media Relations, and so on. If the chief cook is washing bottles… you probably have a Major Case on your hands.
  4. Media Attention – Many Major Cases capture the attention of the public and, subsequently, the media. In many cases, a local case can turn viral and suddenly there’s a CNN mobile satellite truck parked outside. What makes an investigation viral isn’t always clear, but it’s discussed HERE in some detail. If Wolf Blitzer calls your investigation ‘Breaking News’… you probably have a Major Case on your hands.
  5. There are Multiple Jurisdictions Involved – Because of the possible complexities of Major Cases, they quite often involve multiple agencies. Task Forces are regularly utilized in Major Cases, and are comprised of any number of people from across different law enforcement agencies, making the problem of staying organized even harder. Perhaps the City PD is working to support the local Sheriff’s Office – or vice versa. Maybe the State Bureau of Investigation is involved. Maybe the FBI. If you need ‘Hello My Name Is…” stickers during your case review… you probably have a Major Case on your hands.

Having placed some parameters around what defines a Major Case, we will look deeper into the unique problems associated with these types of investigations. Stay tuned for Part Two of this series.

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.

 

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

_KOK1002_RTCC+(3)Posted by Crime Tech Solutions 
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.
analyticscity
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

Analytics
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

5W
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.

Crime Tech Solutions’ continued growth fuels management team expansion

September 13, 2016 – (Leander, TX)  Crime Tech Solutions, a fast-growing provider of low cost crime fighting software and analytics today announced the appointment of Kevin Konczal as Vice President of Sales. The company created the position in response to rapid growth in market share for crime analysis and investigative case management software.
aaeaaqaaaaaaaaecaaaajdixztq5zgfkltliodctndi4ns05ztfjltzhowyxymjhmmu5maMr. Konczal is a seasoned start-up and marketing expert with over 30 years of diversified business management, marketing and start-up experience in information technology and consumer goods. Additionally, Konczal has over two decades of Public Safety service as a police officer, Deputy Sheriff and Special Agent.
Most recently, he held the position as a Regional Sales Manager for TriTech Software Systems, a leading provider of public safety software.
“Kevin is a seasoned executive with a combination of public service and information technology expertise”, said Crime Tech Solutions’ chief technology officer Keith Weigand. “The management team is looking forward to adding his leadership within the sales organization.”
In addition to his executive career, Konczal serves on several advisory boards, commissions and boards of directors.  He attended Oakland College studying Criminal Justice and completed the Dallas Police Academy. Notably, he was awarded the Police Commendation Award for saving the lives of fellow officers in a deadly force cblack versiononfrontation.
“The exciting thing about Crime Tech Solutions”, added Konczal “is their clear position as a fast-growing company dedicated to low price and high performance software for law enforcement.”
“I’m looking forward to working with a company that delivers true value to customers with comprehensive investigative case management software, sophisticated link analysis tools, criminal intelligence management software, and crime mapping technology that includes what I think are the industry’s best analytics and reporting capabilities”, he added.
Earlier this year, Crime Tech Solutions acquired Tennessee based Case Closed Software (www.caseclosedsoftware.com).
About Crime Tech Solutions
Crime Tech Solutions (www.crimetechsolutions.com) is a fast-growing U.S. based provider of low cost / high performance investigation software and crime analytics. The company proudly supports the International Association of Crime Analysts (www.iaca.net), International Association of Chiefs of Police (www.iacp.org), the National Sheriff’s Association (www.sheriffs.org), and the association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (www.leiu.org).
The company’s products include Case Closed investigative case management software, link and social network analytics, 28 CFR Part 23 compliant criminal intelligence management software, enterprise search for law enforcement, and crime analytics with mapping, reporting, and predictive policing.

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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