“We are seeing an increasing trend with law enforcement, who are now leveraging digital evidence to expedite case conclusions,” said Yossi Carmil, Co-CEO of Cellebrite. “Agency managers are focused on transforming their organizations by implementing Digital Intelligence solutions. There is a need to empower frontline responders in the field to access information that is critical to reduce time to evidence.”
The benchmark survey supports this fact. Seventy-five percent of investigators report that gathering digital evidence at the scene of the crime is critical for investigations.
Carmil continued, “Additionally, managing the data to drive collaboration for investigators and prosecution is pivotal to identify defensible data and for justice to be fairly served.”
The survey revealed valuable statistics and shared a road map for the future of policing by highlighting the technologies that will decrease the data deluge as well as the solutions that will expedite time-to-evidence. The seven key trends Cellebrite’s 2020 Annual DI Industry Benchmark Report spotlights are:
- Agencies Recognize the Growing Role of Digital Data but are Slow to Adapt
Digital data is proving to be more informative and crucial when solving law enforcement cases than physical evidence. Cellebrite’s survey shows that 43 percent of agencies report either a poor or mediocre strategy or no digital intelligence strategy at all. Yet, 64 percent of agency management see digital investigations playing “a very high role” in keeping communities safe. With more than 82 percent growth in the role of digital data from devices compared to three years ago, the need for a highly trained staff to be able to navigate and leverage vast amounts of data has increased dramatically.
- Lack of Comfort Highlights Need for Faster Extraction in the Field
Digital evidence captured at the scene of a crime from witnesses and victims with consent-based authorization often contains valuable insights. However, the current means of capturing this digital evidence presents a problem to investigative teams. The survey revealed that over 70 percent of officers are still asking witnesses and victims to surrender their devices so evidence can be extracted at the station or in a lab. However, most people do not want to have their primary communication device taken away for an indefinite period. To combat this issue, 67 percent of agency management believe that mobility technology is important or very important to the agency’s long-term digital evidence strategy and 72 percent of investigators believe it is important to conduct in-the-field extractions of this data.
- Agency Managers Are Looking at Modernization Initiatives to Help Attract A New Generation of Digital Savvy Officers
Eighty-four percent of agency management rate mobility technology (i.e. Mobile First) as being important to their long-term digital intelligence strategy. As the next generation of tech-savvy frontline officers begins to leverage technology at crime scenes, a new level of investigative effectiveness is becoming possible. Most agency managers believe police forces that embrace mobile tech to collect digital evidence in the field will help reduce turnover and be significantly more prepared to meet the digital evidence challenges of 2020.
- Lab Examiners Are Drowning in Data & Device Overload
Cellebrite research shows the number of data sources continues to grow for examiners. On average, each case has 2-4 mobile devices that need to be examined, while 45 percent of cases will also involve a computer examination. This means examiners typically conduct 26 mobile device examinations monthly, translating to 300+ annually per agency. Smartphones continue to top the list of most frequent evidence sources, but the variety of digital sources used in investigations is increasing. Source such as CCTV, wearables, smart home technology, IoT devices, drones, cars and even gaming systems, are being used by criminals more frequently to mask illegal activity.
- Storing and Sharing Digital Evidence is A Key Concern of Agency Managers
Sixty-four percent say that governance and management of data are very important. This is particularly important due to the large amounts of data that need to be maintained. If the data is mismanaged, it can quickly be misplaced in various locations like a thumb drive or improper place on the server. Additionally, the data could be stored in an employee’s personal cloud account or storage device which presents a serious issue if the staff is no longer employed.
- Budget and Overtime Constraints Limit Digital Investigation Efficiency
With the deluge of digital devices and cloud data sources, examiners face an average 3-month backlog and an average backlog of 89 devices per station. In order to address these backlogs, examiners increasingly need to prioritize and only examine time-sensitive data, or data from certain cases. Budget constraints mean working overtime is no longer an option, as seen in the nearly 20 percent decrease in overtime hour allowances in the last year. For this reason, the need to prioritize digital intelligence analysis and management has risen to 40 percent this year, in comparison to 25 percent last year. The biggest challenges labs face continues to be locked devices and encrypted apps; 6 out of 10 devices that reach the lab are locked.
- High Demand for Digital Data Analytics for Investigations
Investigators and examiners are facing challenges in managing the explosion of digital data when paired with budget cuts and the shortage of overtime allowances. Only 25 percent have adopted digital analytic tools. While in the past mobile device storage was limited to a few gigabytes, the new generation of devices has storage reaching as high as 1TB. Despite the variety of digital sources and the amount of digital data that typically need to be reviewed in an investigation, most Law Enforcement agencies are using manual reviews instead of applying AI-based solutions. This means, on average, investigators spend 43 hours per week reviewing evidence and reporting on it – up from 37 hours in the prior year.
In 2020 and beyond, investigations will need to utilize artificial intelligence to sort through the mountains of incoming data, to automatically find and filter specific objects in images, find keywords in text conversations and create relationship analysis. Over 70 percent of survey respondents said that these AI-enabled features will be very important.
Furthermore, with the various evidence sources, investigators will need the ability to unify disparate data and view it easily and logically. In fact, 80 percent of investigators believe data unification is important, and 87 percent believe viewing activities visually on a map is important.
For more information about Cellebrite and the 2020 Annual Industry Benchmark Report, visit Benchmark results site.
To learn more about how Cellebrite’s Digital Intelligence solutions are helping agencies transform, read the company’s Digital Intelligence for Agency Management.
Cellebrite is the global leader of Digital Intelligence solutions for the law enforcement, government and enterprise organizations. Cellebrite delivers an extensive suite of innovative software solutions, analytic tools, and training designed to accelerate digital investigations and address the growing complexity of handling crime and security challenges in the digital era. Trusted by thousands of leading agencies and companies in more than 150 countries, Cellebrite is helping fulfill the joint mission of creating a safer world. To learn more visit us at www.cellebrite.com