1. Digital Evidence Collection
In the digital world we’ve all grown accustomed to you would think it would be easy, but collecting digital evidence turns out to be very manual and time consuming. as mentioned above, today, digital evidence collection typically involves sending emails, placing phone calls, filling out forms, physically driving to pick up evidence, or logging on to many different systems.
A recent survey (The Digital Frontline: Rethinking the use of data and information in modern policing
), puts numbers to the digital evidence silo problem. according to the report, “one of the most significant drawbacks of existing police software, aside from poor search functionality, is the disconnected nature of the systems” (also referred to in the report as chair swiveling,) which results in “duplication and is very time-consuming.” when asked how many different systems they typically needed to log into to work on cases, 95% of survey respondents said at least two systems, and 25% said they needed to log into anywhere between six and more than eleven.
Physical trips to pick up evidence have also proven to be a time and resource drain. for example, one of the law enforcement agency told us that their officers were stretched thin, making over 10,000 trips each week just to pick up digital evidence.
With Evidencentral’s public portal, digital evidence, including CCTV video, can be easily crowdsourced from businesses and citizens without ever having to leave the office. additionally, because the open Evidencentral digital management software platform is able to integrate to other digital evidence systems, the evidence collection and case building process is automated. the system automatically seeks out, finds and deposits relevant digital evidence from all connected (structured and unstructured) data sources and puts it into digital case folders, ready for investigator viewing.
2. Digital Evidence Analysis
Successful investigations rely on an investigator’s ability to connect the dots across many types of digital evidence. the problem is – digital evidence is stored in silos. while investigators can extract and analyze data from individual systems, they do not have analytical solutions that work across them.
Investigators often spend grueling hours manually sifting through digital evidence to put it into proper context.
A digital evidence management system can reach across all structured and unstructured data sources and apply analytics to make connections the investigator can act on. furthermore, the digital evidence management system solution doesn’t just look at data in one silo; it uses a correlation engine to relate that data to data in other silos, to find hidden connections and bring back every potentially relevant piece of evidence.
Digital evidence management systems like Evidencentral can also search within the content of records to pull back evidence too. for example, an investigator can use the digital evidence management system to search by key words or phrases and automatically find records (e.g. audio recordings, narratives from cad comments, incident reports, fi cards, etc.) that contain specific words or tags. absent a digital evidence management system, an investigator would need to read or listen to each item in entirety.
Aanother benefit of the digital evidence management solution is that it enables investigators to correlate current and past cases. for example, if an individual was mentioned in another case, the digital evidence management system would automatically bring that information to the investigator’s attention.
Finally, the digital evidence management system provides enhanced visualization tools so investigators can visualize evidence in meaningful ways, for example on timelines or maps. an investigator can select any number of multimedia files from the virtual case folder, add them to a timeline, visualize them, and synchronously play them back.
3. Digital Evidence Sharing
The rapid growth in digital evidence has also created growing pains as law enforcement agencies navigate how to efficiently share evidence with district attorneys who need it to support successful prosecutions. Investigators can spend hours copying digital evidence onto CDs, DVDs and thumb drives, and hand delivering it to prosecutors. Prosecutors also need to disclose case evidence to public defenders in a timely manner to meet disclosure deadlines, and most of this is done in a manual way today.
Digital Evidence Management Systems address these issues by bringing digital evidence sharing into the digital age. Instead of copying evidence onto physical media, investigators can share access to evidence simply by emailing a read-only link to a digital case file. Accordingly, prosecutors can also share digital evidence with defense attorneys in a similar fashion. The system automatically tracks who accessed what and when, to ensure evidence was received and to protect its chain of custody.