Category Archives: Link Analysis

North Carolina county selects Case Closed Software for investigation management

(November 1, 2017)  Austin, TX – Case Closed Software™, a leading provider of investigation case management software to law enforcement agencies, today announced that a large North Carolina Sheriff’s Office has signed a multi-year contract for their best-in-class software.

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The Tar Hill State county, serving several hundred thousand residents, selected Case Closed Software after a nearly year-long search for sophisticated software that can help them work investigations more efficiently with a goal to close criminal cases more quickly.

According to Douglas Wood, President of Case Closed Software, the county selected his company’s offering due to the flexibility and overall feature set it offers.

“We’re thrilled to add this Sheriff’s Office to our delighted customer base”, said Mr. Wood. “One of the reasons we won the business is the fantastic references provided by our existing clientele, which include Police Departments, Sheriff’s Offices, State Investigation Bureaus, District Attorneys and more.”

Case Closed Software has begun implementation of the software and expects the County to be fully installed and trained by November 30, 2017.

Case Closed Software, who recently announced a strategic relationship with analytics software provider Visallo, develops and markets investigation management software, sophisticated investigation analytics, and advanced criminal intelligence software for law enforcement.

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.

 

Big Data Surveillance: The Case of Policing

Posted by Douglas Wood, CEO of Case Closed Software – a leader in investigation software  and analytics for law enforcement.

Headquartered here in Central Texas, I recently had an opportunity to have coffee with Dr. Sarah Brayne, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Brayne had just published an interesting article in The American Sociological Review. The article is titled Big Data Surveillance: The Case of Policing.

The article examines the intersection of two emerging developments: the increase in surveillance and the massive exploration of “big data.” Drawing on observations and interviews conducted within the Los Angeles Police Department, Sarah offers an empirical account of how the adoption of big data analytics does—and does not—transform police surveillance practices.

She argues that the adoption of big data analytics facilitates may amplify previous surveillance practices, and outlines the following findings:

  1. Discretionary assessments of risk are supplemented and quantified using risk scores.
  2. Data tends to be used for predictive, rather than reactive or explanatory, purposes. (Here, Crime Tech Weekly would want to differentiate between predictive analytics and investigation analytics)
  3. The proliferation of automatic alert systems makes it possible to systematically surveil an unprecedentedly large number of people.
  4. The threshold for inclusion in law enforcement databases (gang databases, criminal intelligence data, etc) is lower, now including individuals who have not had direct police contact. (Here again, Crime Tech Weekly would point out that adherence to criminal intelligence best practices vastly reduces this likelihood)
  5. Previously separate data systems are merged, facilitating the spread of surveillance into a wide range of institutions.

Based on these findings, Sarah develops a theoretical model of big data surveillance that can be applied to institutional domains beyond the criminal justice system. Finally, she highlights the social consequences of big data surveillance for law and social inequality.

The full PDF report can be downloaded via Sage Publishing by clicking here. Or, if you have general comments or questions and do not wish to download the full version, please feel free to contact us through the form below. Crime Tech Weekly will be happy to weigh in.

Big Data Investigation Analytics: A Difference Maker for Law Enforcement

How Investigative Agencies do More with Less!

The investigative units of law enforcement agencies all around the world face many of the same challenges. Chief among those challenges is the fact that budgets are tightening, while resources are becoming more and more scarce. Even in the face of reduced funding, investigators are asked to deliver higher levels of service in their quest to solve and deter crime.

The key to doing ‘more’ with ‘less’ in law enforcement is really no different than in any other industry. That is, deploying resources in the most effective manner possible for the maximum value possible. The trick is using what the agency already knows to determine what the future may hold. What that all boils down to is Big Data Investigation Analytics.

Data in Law Enforcement comes in many forms, and is typically stored in disparate silos. Arrest records, calls for service, criminal intelligence, field reports, human resource data, telephone records, case management files, and so on. Together, the data from those systems can represent a virtual goldmine of investigative information if used correctly.

gotbigdata‘Correctly’ is the operative term, of course. The ability to turn these large data stores into actionable investigation intelligence requires more than a simple data warehouse or data mining tool, and for the most part police departments recognize this need. They understand that their data holds the key to understanding the hidden connections between people, places, and things – the lynchpin of any successful investigation.

For years, law enforcement agencies and commercial organizations have built data mining tools and data warehouses. Unfortunately, these analytical techniques are no longer sufficient in an age of rapidly growing data. Moreover, much of the data that investigators need to access is unstructured text – word processing documents, narratives, search warrants, witness statements, email text, and more. By applying big data text analytics, investigators can begin to extract actionable insights from both structured and unstructured data.

VisalloBig Data Investigation Analytics – such as those provided by Virginia based Visallo and California’s Palantir Technologies – are two examples that provide a powerful indexing architecture allowing investigators to find non-textual data, including multimedia files such as 911 calls, interrogation videos, and images. This architecture helps investigators find things that they simply could not find otherwise.

Finally, world-class investigation analytics provide a flexible graph visualization tool, as well. This user interface allows investigators to organize data through a variety of layout options, find hidden and non-obvious relationships between entities, and perform a variety of what-if scenarios.

ctsWhen paired with the robust investigative case management and criminal intelligence systems available from Crime Tech Solutions, big data investigation analytics build a foundation upon which investigators can solve more crimes, more quickly.

Without advanced investigation analytics, agencies often find themselves looking for a needle in a haystack. In fact, too often the needle is broken into several pieces spread across multiple haystacks. To simplify these tasks, investigative agencies must deploy the correct analytical technologies which have become a key element of doing more with less in the global investigation market. For more information on how Crime Tech Solutions and Visallo are changing the law enforcement analytics landscape, please contact us below!

SoCal City Selects Crime Tech Solutions for Link Analysis.

SoCalCrime Tech Solutions, LLC – a fast growing, vibrant software company based in Leander, TX today announced that a large, coastal city in California has selected them to provide sophisticated link and social network analysis software.

Crime Tech Solutions was awarded the contract based upon its price/performance leadership in the world of big data analytics for law enforcement and other investigative agencies.

Link analysis software is used by investigators to visualize hidden connections between people, places, and things within large and disparate data sets.

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“Our link analysis software gives investigators an edge in the way they analyze data”, said Crime Tech Solutions’ CEO, Doug Wood. “By finding and displaying those hard to find connections and anomalies that reside in different data stores, our software helps investigative agencies more clearly see how networks of entities exist.”

Crime Tech Solutions said that the software implementation is already underway, and that the software will make life a little more miserable for criminals in the Southern California city.

The company also develops investigative case management and criminal intelligence software for law enforcement agencies of all sizes.

 

Hunting for D.B. Cooper – A study in analytics.

The following article originally appeared at In Public Safety, and is a highly recommended read. It was written by Erik Kleinsmith at American Military University.

Crime Tech Weekly is posting the article in its entirety for our readers’ convenience…

By Erik Kleinsmith
Staff, Intelligence Studies, American Military University

On November 24, 1971, a man using the name Dan Cooper purchased a $35 one-way airline ticket from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington. Not long after takeoff, he hijacked Northwest Orient Flight 305 and demanded $200,000 in cash along with two parachutes, which he received upon landing in Seattle. He then ordered the plane to take off and fly to Mexico City; during that flight, he jumped from the aircraft into the Oregon wilderness, securing his place as the only unsolved case in FAA history.

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In early 2011, following a host of other investigations — both private and government-led — Tom Colbert picked up the trail of the man now known as D.B. Cooper. As an investigative reporter and producer living in Southern California, Colbert was tipped off by a source in the illicit drug trade who had credible — albeit circumstantial — evidence that D.B. Cooper was alive and living in California. Over the next few years, Colbert invested incredible amounts of time and personal resources toward tackling a 45-year-old mystery that so many other investigators before him had failed to solve.

A New Approach to Finding D.B. Cooper

Colbert assembled a large group of leading private investigators, detectives, attorneys, profilers and other subject matter experts into a group he called the “Cold Case Team.” He also knew he needed the expertise of intelligence professionals to help him organize and analyze all the evidence related to this case. While intelligence analysts almost always focus on using their skills for predictive analysis predictive analysis (i.e., what’s going to happen), Colbert knew having people proficient in intelligence collection and analysis would provide unique insight into a case that was decades old.

In December 2011, Colbert elicited my help while I was involved in an Army intelligence training contract. We had been associates and friends for a few years and he knew about my involvement in the Able Danger program. As a student, practitioner, developer and instructor of intelligence methodology, I was interested in his investigation because it was another chance for me to adapt intelligence analytical methods to a cold (very cold) case. I immediately agreed to support his efforts; he sent me a copy of a dossier on the man he suspected was D.B. Cooper.

It contained photos, maps, interview summaries and many other pieces of evidence connecting this man to the D.B. Cooper incident. Much of the initial information was secondhand and circumstantial, so Colbert was using it to provide further investigative leads for the Cold Case Team members.

Here is where I make my quick disclaimer: Collecting information on U.S. persons for intelligence purposes is prohibited by several federal regulations with very few specific exceptions. Even though I would be supporting a private investigation, I was working as a defense contractor at the time and therefore felt it was important to follow the spirit of these restrictions by creating products based only upon what the Cold Case Team provided. Neither myself nor my colleague independently searched for or collected any additional information for any part of this investigation.

That being said, it was an exceptional opportunity to use analytical intelligence techniques to assist in this investigation.

Using Link Analysis Techniques in the Investigation

In his meetings with various law enforcement officials, Colbert had grown frustrated that no one was taking the time to look through the dossier and consider the evidence. I gave it to one of my senior instructors, David D’Alessio, and asked him to make a link chart of associations using one of the best link analysis software programs available to us. A link chart is a graphic representation of the people, events, and significant items of interest (such as a bank account or address) associated with a particular subject.  The key to these charts are the associations or “links” between each of the people, events and items in it.

 

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Link Analysis software helps investigators and analysts visualize non-obvious relationships between entities

 

Creating this chart was a painstaking process because D’Alessio had to go through each paragraph line by line, identify the relative linkages between entities and enter them into the software program. The initial link chart started with the main suspect and then drew graphic linkages to all his known associates their connections to third parties, and a host of other associations to events, locations, aliases and specific pieces of physical evidence. Working with D’Alessio and Colbert over several iterations of this chart, we ended up with a 3×2 foot poster that, to the untrained eye, looked a lot like charts shown in court or on television shows like Law and Order. There were hundreds of links to the main suspect, the many aliases he used over the years to include military records and associations that placed him in the vicinity of the Portland, Oregon area during the time of the hijacking.

The benefit of link analysis charts is that they do more than just show connections between entities. A link chart tells a comprehensive visual story and conveys a dynamic and detailed summary of information from the document supporting it. This technique proved immensely successful, as the visual representation helped capture attention and interest from outside parties.

How Intelligence Analysis Aided in the Investigation

Besides taking text-based information and turning it into a graphic visualization for presentation purposes, a link chart also helped the investigation in other ways. First, Colbert and his team were able to see gaps in the information where investigators needed to dig deeper. He could also see which links were strong and which were weak or tenuous. The team could then plan their investigations more effectively by identifying which gaps needed to be filled and prioritize how to best use their limited resources.

This chart also had a psychological value to the Cold Case Team. In 2013, one of the team’s private investigators presented it directly to the suspect and asked him to come forward. The hope was that once the suspect knew there was a vast amount of information on the identity of D.B. Cooper (not to mention it featured his picture right at the center). Revealing this chart helped Colbert enter into negotiations with the suspect’s lawyer and he came very close to a deal that would potentially involve an admission. Unfortunately, Colbert and the Cold Case Team were turned down at the last minute due to what we believe was his fear of being connected to other illicit activities.

Why Law Enforcement Must Partner More Often with Intelligence Agencies

_KOK1002_RTCC+(3)Ultimately, this case demonstrates that intelligence analysis can play a crucial part in law enforcement investigations, both as a predictive asset as well as an investigative one. The D.B. Cooper investigation is decades old, but there are many other cases that are not. Other law enforcement agencies can use the techniques tested in this case to assist with other unsolved crimes, missing persons and patterns of criminal activity. It’s important for law enforcement authorities to remember that analysts in the intelligence field bring with them a toolkit that provides both unique and specialized analytical methods that can offer new perspectives. Bringing intelligence analysts into the fold of law enforcement can enhance a crime-solving team.

The federal government has awesome capabilities in intelligence collection and investigation but they are not alone. There is an equally awesome, yet untapped capability, in the commercial sector and among academia to support investigations like this and other more current cases. There are uncounted numbers of undergraduate and graduate students in criminal justice, data analysis and intelligence studies courses who would be eager to support a future case. In addition, there are also many retired law enforcement and intelligence professionals who would be eager to lend their experience and subject matter expertise to similar cases and problem sets, if only to satisfy the investigative bug still within them.

While the FBI officially closed its investigation in the D.B. Cooper case earlier this year, it has not been closed in the eyes of the Cold Case Team. This team continues to move forward with its own investigation, relying on intelligence analysis methods to support them and continue to evaluate every bit of evidence in new ways.

 

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Crime Tech Solutions provides affordable, high performance software for crime analysts and investigation units.

 

 

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.