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How data analytics helped a California police department cut a year off an investigation – StateScoop

Written by StateScoop Staff

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of law enforcement cases now include digital evidence as part of the investigation, according to recent industry figures. Yet it can take days or weeks for investigators to properly process and analyze digital breadcrumbs on a single smartphone. Gathering clues from an individual’s digital accounts — and making the case for a lawsuit — can take months or even years.

That’s why detectives and attorneys in a California homicide case were stunned when they saw how quickly a data analytics platform widely used in Splunk’s cybersecurity circles was able to cut considerably the time required to search and analyze the mountains of digital evidence that investigators are now faced with. .

“I remember bringing our first reports to the district attorney — documenting communications between suspect and victim,” recalls Paul Jeffery, a Splunk employee working with a California municipal police department. “And his office immediately called back and said, ‘What is this? How did you do this so quickly? »

In the months following Jeffery’s first collaboration with the police department, he said, “Detective and prosecutors told me that usage of Splunk’s platform and apps had reduced from 12 to 14 months into the investigation, which is huge. They were looking at a three-and-a-half-year gap between the crime and the trial – and we got just over a year out of that. For them, that was unprecedented.

Jeffery recalled the story in a recently released special report produced by StateScoop and Scoop News Group and sponsored by Splunk. The report explains how Splunk’s platform correlates data, performs advanced analytics on various data sources, and applies built-in AI to quickly identify unusual behavior or anomalies that indicate criminal activity.

The technology is widely used by:

  • All three branches of the federal government and more than a dozen cabinet-level departments.
  • All four branches of the US military and multiple intelligence agencies.
  • All 50 States.
  • 48 of the 50 largest US cities and the majority of the largest US counties.
  • Over 900 higher education institutions.

However, since law enforcement investigators have not traditionally had direct access to Splunk’s data analysis capabilities, many are just beginning to realize its potential to speed up the work of filtering a large amount of digital information associated with today’s investigations, according to Jeffery.

The report highlights examples where Splunk’s analytics platform has already played a significant role in solving various criminal cases, including:

  • Identify scammers engaged in Paycheck Protection Program fraud.
  • Examining treasure troves of data from disparate data sources related to the January 2021 civil unrest.
  • Understanding a child pornography network operating at Florida State University.
  • Identify illegal human trafficking activities.
  • Tracing fingerprints related to ransomware activity.

The report also discusses how modern data analytics platforms can help police chiefs better determine where to deploy their officers and their department’s resources; and manage a growing array of police data more effectively despite limited technical capacity and resources.

Download the full report and find out how Splunk is doing help law enforcement agencies cope with the growing volume of digital forensic work.

This article was produced by Scoop News Group and StateScoop and sponsored by Splunk.

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