Law enforcement agencies expect to use more crime analytics software to help solve cases and bring bad guys to justice, according to a new survey.
Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) U.S. law enforcement officials who responded to the survey by crime-fighting software provider Wynyard Group said intelligence-led tactics and data analysis have considerable capacity to boost their agency’s effectiveness.
Survey respondents said crime analytics software gives their agencies the ability to solve crimes faster, quickly identify connections among criminals and make better use of mobile phone data.
A whopping 93% of respondents see crime analytics software becoming more widely used in the coming years, but only 34% said they currently use such software, roughly the same as in the previous year’s survey.
When asked why crime-fighting software adoption rates are not higher, about two-thirds of law enforcement leaders (66%) cited tight budgets as the top reason.
Among departments using some form of technology to fight crime, 28% use the software to combat drug offenses, followed by gang violence at 25%, gun crimes at 20% and financial wrongdoing at 18%.
Among law enforcement agencies not using crime-fighting software, 51% said they would use the technology to fight drug crimes, 39% to investigate fraud and financial crimes and 8% to combat gang violence.
The Wynyard Group’s second annual survey, which was published in October 2015, included nearly 450 police chiefs, federal investigators, analysts and other law enforcement officials.
The Sydney, Australia-based Wynyard reports that it has contracts with police agencies, banks and corporations worldwide. In the United States, the company’s crime analytics software is being used as part of a multiagency investigation into an identity theft ring known as the Felony Lane Gang, which is blamed for stealing millions of dollars in dozens of states, including Florida.
The Wynyard Group’s survey also found that more than three-fourths of respondents are tapping into social networks in the fight against crime, with almost 60% reviewing social networks to investigate gang activity.
Those findings are further evidence of the expanding use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites by criminal justice professionals. For example, a 2015 survey by the International Association of Chiefs of Police found that nearly 97% of U.S. law enforcement agencies use social media in some capacity, most often in criminal investigations. Other top reasons include notifying the public of crime problems, and community outreach and public relations.