Data Mining, Processing, and Analysis is Applied within Criminal Investigation
The majority of the crime solving process during criminal investigation and forensic work isn’t the “gut feeling,” exciting, and spontaneous methodology that occurs on popular television shows and movies. Real crime solving is a meticulous process of fact checking, analysis, and study, all done with the assistance of data collected in the field, in the lab, and from online sources. Mining information and preparing it for processing and analysis allows forensic investigators and other criminal investigators to find patterns and connections within data sets, thus leading to a culmination of information that can eventually be pieced together.
Data utilization is inherently vital to all aspects of criminal investigations, particularly forensics, which is where evidence is treated and studied. The science of forensic investigation relies upon data mining algorithms, digital authentication and analysis of data, and evidence preservation through data imaging. These techniques allow law enforcement to compile data against criminals, solve crimes, and provide evidence in court. It also removes the likelihood of human error associated with manual investigative tools that might lead to inaccurate conclusions.
The Critical Necessity of Data Mining and Collection in Forensic Investigation
Much of the criminal investigative process is conducted through gathering evidence, which is impossible without complex data mining procedures that follow mathematical algorithms. The combination of information mining and collection, often carried out by trained forensic data entry clerks, is what enables forensic scientists and other members of the forensic team to find samples of intel that might later on become the missing piece that is part of the criminal investigation puzzle.
Forensic investigators and forensic data entry clerks use data mining in order to prepare data for analysis, find crime patterns, and study the criminal mind, which assists criminal investigation agencies in arriving at quicker, correct conclusions. There is no single method that is followed to conclusion, but rather several data based tools and processes that provide a series of critical information:
- Data Mining Algorithms: Using a highly mathematical approach, data is mined using problem solving operations such as clustering algorithms, association rule mining algorithms, and classification algorithms. These identify patterns and statistics in the information and highlight relationships among the data, all of which aids forensic investigators in finding hard evidence.
- Data Image Collection: This process utilizes forensic imagery to collect and preserve data through photos and images of physical hard drives, and other tactile evidence. It helps to display information in such a way that proves evidence hasn’t been tampered with or touched.
- Digital Evidence Mining: Any information that has been transmitted or stored digitally provides evidence in the form of emails, video recordings, browser histories, GPS tracks, ATM logs, audio files, etc when gathered through electronic data mining software.
Forensic investigation and science is only useful later on in the criminal investigative process if the gathered evidence is indisputably legitimate, which is why there is a stress upon factuality in the collection method. Data mining and collection contains metadata, which can be inadvertently altered if not handled in a forensically verifiable fashion. The above-mentioned data collection and mining techniques supply that level of accuracy that ensures the investigative process is reliable, correct, and not subject to human influence.
Forensic Analysis and Data Interpretation During Criminal Investigation
Just as gathering evidence is contingent upon the mathematical algorithms and software heavy methodology of data mining and collection, analyzing information and processing it for interpretation and advanced study is imperative to the investigation of crimes and the treatment of potential evidence. Forensic analysis covers a variety of areas of study and data interpretation, much of which occurs in the cyber world, as is outlined below.
Once data has been gathered, it must be thoroughly and carefully analyzed by experts who are trained in finding patterns and determining which details are most important in the chain of factors and circumstances leading up to the crime, to highlight just a single aspect of a criminal event. Employing logical and statistical methods in forensic analysis is how forensic investigators recreate, illustrate, and evaluate information until the mystery of a crime is accurately revealed.
- Digital Forensic Analysis: This examination of digital sources assists the evidence presentation process by allowing forensic investigators to identify, preserve, recover, and analysis of information objectively using software specifically designed for data collection and processing.
- Computer Forensic Analysis: Using data recovery techniques, cross drive analysis, and other methods to acquire evidence that can be used to interpret information contained in computer systems, while making sure intel remains secure for use in legal procedures.
- Network Forensics and Analysis: Utilized to capture and analyze network occurrences for the purpose of discovering information related to security attacks. Hard disks, TCP connections, and firewall logs are all analyzed for evidence through data capture and processing software programs.
- Web Forensics: Though similar to Digital Evidence Mining, this technique involves the exploration of possible crime linked information by studying a suspect’s browsing history, frequently visited websites, and other related data.
These examples of forensic analysis and data interpretation represent some of the available techniques criminal investigation departments utilize to better understand the information acquired from evidence collected during data mining and collection.
Conclusive Evidence Obtained Through Hard Data
Forensic science is absolutely reliant upon data to form opinions, make connections, and come to factual conclusions that help law officials solve crimes and bring criminals to justice. Data Mining Algorithms, Data Image Collection, Web Forensics, and more are all areas of forensic investigation that find and apply data in ways that create a secure, objective, and evidence based system for our law enforcement to depend upon.