How Big Data is Improving Forensics

Have you ever fantasized about pulling off the perfect crime? If so, forget about it. Thanks to the rapid pace at which technology is advancing, it is nearly impossible to get away with criminal activity these days. That is a good thing, by the way. Law enforcement agencies are getting better at catching perpetrators with every passing day. They owe a lot of the recent improvement to technology.

As a case in point, consider how big data is improving forensics. Experts who once relied on intuition and their own investigative skills can now combine those things with data analysis and signal processing to close more cases more quickly. It is amazing to see technology in action during police investigations.

Rock West Solutions is a California company that works on big data and sensor development for law enforcement. They say that one of the most exciting areas of development right now is the data-driven forensic investigation. Forensics is a science that is growing in leaps and bounds thanks to big data.

Better Police Work in France

Visitors at the Milipol Paris 2019 exhibition this past November (2019) got a first look at some of the exciting new technologies coming to French law enforcement. Among those technologies are big data systems police agencies will start using in the near future.

One particular product combines geolocation, digital forensics, and big data analysis to improve criminal investigations. The geolocation component is capable of tracking a suspect’s movements at particular times pertinent to the case being investigated. Digital forensics allows for the collection of more digital evidence while data analysis makes use of that information.

Combining the three creates a system that will allow police investigators to do more work in less time. Not only that, their evidence gathering will be more intelligent. They will be relying on digitally driven evidence gathering rather than just collecting as much information they can find and then trying to sort it out later.

The best part of the technology is that it does not require a whole lot of new data sets. It can work with existing data sets – like phone records, for example.

Big Data in the Future of Forensics

Rock West Solutions says that much of the future of forensic science, as it relates to big data, will be in the predictive capabilities of new technologies. For example, data analysis and advanced signal processing are now being tested in the healthcare arena for the purposes of predicting future disease. Predictive analysis is still in its infancy, but the results are quite promising.

As the thinking goes, that same technology could be utilized to predict crime. By analyzing data and filtering it through signal processing, it is theoretically possible to predict where pockets of crime will occur and, to some degree, the crimes likely to be committed. Law enforcement can step up their efforts to prevent criminal activity from taking place.

Preventing crime is completely separate from forensics, yet the technologies can benefit both. The same big data, signal processing, and artificial intelligence that makes for better forensics investigations can also be utilized to prevent crime. And when crime does occur, the technologies can lead to better court cases and more accurate convictions.

In short, the future of forensic science lies in the ability of investigators to combine physical evidence with an unending stream of data. We live in an increasingly digital world, a world in which just about everything is data driven. It stands to reason that law enforcement will be progressively more data driven as well. It has to be if law enforcement intends to keep up.