Forensic Investigation | 01.11.23 | minute(s) reading time
Artificial intelligence: A vital asset in law enforcement investigations

Dominique van Aalten

Marketing Specialist

In a time where technology is becoming more and more powerful, artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming an important tool for many professionals. From creatives and technicians to researchers and investigators. But this fast development of new technology also has downsides. It has led to a rapid increase in digital material, making the workload for law enforcement larger by the day. The amount of data grows endlessly, and new technology is used by offenders to avoid detection. Luckily, artificial intelligence can help. So how does it work, and what difference does it make in law enforcement investigations?

What is artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a computer system that can mimic human capabilities. From problem-solving and reasoning to decision-making and learning. These systems can continuously improve and are trained to perform various tasks. From recognizing traffic lights, to making precise estimates. These applications can take over part of the work humans do and assist them in several ways. Speeding up the work and lightening the load.

Artificial intelligence and law enforcement

The development of artificial intelligence is a double-edged sword for law enforcement. On the one hand, it allows criminals to devise new digital crimes and hugely increases the amount of illegal material on online platforms. On the other hand, AI systems aid law enforcement in their work as well, by making investigations faster and more efficient. Investigators use artificial intelligence for various purposes, which can be put into four areas (as defined by The National Institute of Justice): video and image analysis, DNA analysis, gunshot detection, and crime forecasting.

Video and image analysis

One of the main areas where artificial intelligence helps law enforcement is in analyzing videos and images. The amount of visual data in investigations keeps growing, making it hard to analyze it all. Manual analysis costs a lot of time and resources. This is where artificial intelligence makes a massive difference. AI systems can help to identify all kinds of clues and evidence, like faces, locations, or objects, including various types of weapons. This helps investigators to find the material that matters faster.

DNA analysis

Analyzing DNA evidence can be quite challenging. This process begins with human technicians preparing the DNA evidence. Once the DNA is ready to be analyzed, artificial intelligence comes in. These systems automate the detection and interpretation of DNA patterns and look for matches in a database. Because artificial intelligence can adapt and learn, it can create unique associations. This helps to analyze degraded or damaged DNA. Additionally, using artificial intelligence can eliminate human error.

Gunshot detection

Quickly identifying and locating gunfire incidents saves lives. Based on information from sensors, artificial intelligence can do an acoustic analysis and determine if a gun was fired, and where. Because of these systems there are less false alarms. And when a gunshot is identified, they can determine the location much faster. This information is then conveyed to law enforcement, who can respond quickly and accurately.

Crime forecasting

Analyzing crime data can take a lot of time. Finding patterns in old and new data helps to predict what crimes are most likely to happen. Artificial intelligence identifies trends in this data to create crime forecasts. These include time, location, and the type of crime. Crime forecasting helps law enforcement to anticipate and address emerging threats strategically, making sure people stay safe.

Artificial intelligence in CSAM investigations

Since CSAM investigations are one of the main areas where pressure on investigators keeps growing, artificial intelligence is a great asset. Functions like automated detection are of great support. When sorting through thousands – sometimes even millions – of files, AI automatically detects objects, people, locations, and concepts, speeding up the investigation immensely. Additionally, finding patterns and putting similar images together can help to identify the material in batches. This allows investigators to filter out non-relevant material quickly and get to the evidence faster. One of the tools that investigators use for this is Fenoz, the digital forensic investigation software widely employed in CSAM investigations globally.

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