A “Murder a Minute.” That’s where CBS pegged the worldwide homicide rate at back in 2002.
Fast forward to 2017 when, according to The Guardian, an estimated 385,000 homicides were committed, marking the first time in more than a decade that the murder rate has risen worldwide. There are many possible reasons impacting this rise in homicides from the increase in the global population to racial and cultural differences to income equality that affects people’s sense of self-respect.
Given the burden of solving homicides in the often resource-challenged world we work in, investigative teams know all too well how difficult it is to solve murders quickly, particularly during the first 48 hours when the odds of gathering evidence that can quickly lead to an arrest are highest.
Witnesses may not be willing to come forward or the victim may not be found or even identified, within the first 48 hours following their murder leaving a cold trail. So, digital intelligence – the unlocking, extraction, decoding, and analysis of digital data – has become an essential set of capabilities for law enforcement. Dr. P. Michael Murphy explains the importance of digital intelligence in such cases and why investigators need to work fast.
See how digital intelligence played a key role in solving a “closed” suicide case when the unlocked, extracted and decoded data from a digital device led to the conviction of the actual killer. Download the Case Study: “Deleted Text Messages Helped Solve a Homicide Case“
Having tools available on site or in the field that can gather information from witnesses’ phones quickly and with a minimum of intrusion is extremely beneficial.
Given all that needs to be done in a very short span of time, a critical but challenging first step is to create an initial report to establish important details about the decedent:
- Identify the victim’s name
- Profile the victim’s actions
- Verify locations the victim has visited
- Find out who the victim’s family and friends are
The Sad Reality: Too Much Data and Not Enough Time
It’s no wonder, given the recent rise in homicides, that the actual percentage of solved murder cases is diminishing. An online article by WBEZ News unveils the troubling reality that law enforcement agencies across the US are facing: “The Chicago Police Department last year solved fewer than one in five murders committed during the year, the lowest rate for that crime in at least a half century…of the 763 murders in 2016, the department “cleared” just 151 — 19.8%.”
Even with the advance of crime-solving technologies, law enforcement must deal with a variety of new technical challenges to solve more homicide cases faster:
· Accessing Locked Mobile Devices: Some 70% of devices that reach the crime lab are locked and many are encrypted. Accessing data takes time and is all but impossible without the right tools.
· Data Overload: Wading through vast volumes of disparate data to sift out information that is relevant and actionable is difficult. This can create logjams of backlogged evidence that can take months or even years to sort out or, worse yet, it is simply ignored.
· Lack of Resources: The process of analyzing and correlating relevant data is often labor-intensive, requiring manual extraction that is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Given the resource challenges departments face already, this can be a huge obstacle.
Fortunately, law enforcement has embraced the many new and highly sophisticated digital intelligence tools that are being employed by departments worldwide to help dig out from under the crushing burden of increasing homicide rates. Given the right tools, departments can take more murderers off the streets faster and help create safer communities.
Solutions for a New-Age in Crime Solving
Cellebrite has always been at the forefront of forensic innovation. Since that time, customers have deployed more than 60,000 Cellebrite UFED licenses globally in 150 countries, making Cellebrite the market share leader for digital forensics worldwide.
· Find, collaborate and share actionable intelligence
· Prosecute cases with confidence
How Cellebrite Tools Can Help You
Every solution Cellebrite provides is designed to expedite the investigative process, from the moment first responders arrive at a crime scene to the day the prosecutor’s final arguments lead to a conviction. Check out a full range of our solutions in the product catalog.
Gathering Phone Data
Every witness today has a cell phone, and there is a good chance they have some graphic account (audio, video or images) of the crime. First responders or examiners can use our Infield technology to collect forensically sound mobile data from witnesses without having to take their phones for days or weeks. They do not have to take pictures from their own phones (which is not forensically sound) or have them emailed (which is not forensically sound).
Examiners can also extract data (either logically or physically) from the victims’ phone right on the scene so the detective can focus the investigation on the right suspects.
The Advanced Services suite of products allows examiners to collect data from victims and witnesses (with a lawful warrant, of course) to help the investigator piece together the life of anyone involved (victim or suspect) their online digital profile tells all, especially when you can combine, mobile, IoT and social media.
Once this data is extracted, Cellebrite DI tools allow examiners to easily sort, filter, review and access the data in a useful way to help find actionable intelligence.
Cellebrite Pathfinder allow the investigator to perform an in-depth analysis on one or multiple data sets (including CDR, phones, IoT devices, cloud data) so you can cross-link and track the whereabouts throughout a timeline.
This helps determine possible suspects, common locations, mutual contacts, indexing of images and videos that may lead to motive, commonalities or even alibis (you never want to focus your time on someone who didn’t’ do it and has a good alibi).