Solve Homicides Faster by Harnessing the Power of Digital Intelligence
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%.”