Solving crime in less time with analytics
Delaware State Police
SAS aggregates diverse data into a holistic view of actionable information.
Improved public safety
Delaware State Police use law enforcement solutions from SAS to help identify suspects, crack cases and protect communities
It sounds like the opening of a television police drama – someone preying on senior citizens, assaulting and robbing them on the street. With no more to go on than a description of a suspect and vehicle, police are challenged with solving this violent crime with limited information.
Except in Delaware, police weren’t discouraged. When this incident happened, the vehicle description was fed into the State Police’s analytics platform – powered by SAS – and a possible link surfaced: a previously issued traffic ticket given to a person in the area of the assaults, driving a car with that same description. One click later, police knew the ticketed individual was on parole for street robberies. A picture of the parolee was matched to neighborhood surveillance video, and the case was solved.
“That never would have been possible a few years ago,” says Major William Crotty of the Delaware State Police. “And with a criminal targeting older citizens – with each incident escalating in violence – someone could have ended up dying.”
The Delaware State Police department is tracking down suspects faster with analytics. The department uses SAS to aggregate data from organizational records, collision investigations, traffic citations, criminal incidents and calls for service from every law enforcement agency in the state. The records are searchable and indexable, providing a visual display of patterns and proximity. Major Crotty calls it “Google for cops.” The system layers in additional information from the firearm forensic database, Department of Corrections, statewide criminal intelligence records and carefully secured information from police informants.
“Whether it is a structured data search or an unstructured text search, it gives a comprehensive view of what’s going to identify persons, places and things pertaining to a crime,” Major Crotty says.
SAS allows the rookie cop to have the same type of institutional knowledge as a 30-year detective, and that has helped law enforcement throughout the state quickly investigate cases, apprehend suspects and protect the community. Major William Crotty Delaware State Police
Institutional knowledge augmented by analytics
While police agencies have always depended on records to break open cases, often it was the institutional knowledge of seasoned officers that solved crimes – they know the beat, the people and the neighborhood. However, the SAS system catalyzes information sharing, so departments are less dependent on what officers know.
“SAS allows the rookie cop to have the same type of institutional knowledge as a 30-year detective,” Major Crotty says. And that has helped law enforcement throughout the state quickly investigate cases, apprehend suspects and protect the community.
One example is the Delaware State Police busting a burglary ring. Over a three-week period, multiple burglaries were reported in an area. Surveillance footage turned up a partial vehicle description. The database showed the vehicle belonged to an elderly man – not a likely robber. Police ran a query in the SAS system on the address where the vehicle was registered. They discovered a domestic violence report, which occurred at the same address. The narrative of this report noted that a grandson lived at the address. The grandson’s DMV photo was ultimately matched to the surveillance video. The case was solved 10 minutes after the car’s owner was identified. In the past, the only option would have been a manual search of records for complaints from that address or a time-intensive stakeout to see if anyone else was driving the car.
Another success story involves helping the federal government crack a case. The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been trying to locate a suspect for five months with just a nickname. When the agency asked the Delaware State Police for help, the suspect was identified in less than a minute. The ability to search nicknames is one aspect of the system that’s been extremely helpful for law enforcement. “When cops search a database, they want to see things that they know exist,” Major Crotty says. “If they search on a prevailing nickname and find something, it validates the system and brings them one step closer to solving a crime.”
Delaware State Police – Facts & Figures
New approaches lead to new discoveries
Every law enforcement agency in Delaware received training within a year of the SAS system going live. By applying analytics, they uncovered new leads in investigations that were stalled or had hit dead ends.
“For instance, we had a guy who ran a criminal investigative bureau – he was investigating a case where a burglary suspect injured a trooper while fleeing,” Major Crotty says. “All he had to go on was a partial tag and a partial vehicle description. The investigator had 32 years of experience and brought in three of his best detectives. For four hours, they did everything they could to find the culprit but were unsuccessful. And then a guy with less than six months on the job identified the person in 15 minutes using SAS. That was a big win for us.”