Many investigators will tell you that when it comes to data there are two kinds of trouble: too little or too much. The reason why too little information is a problem is self-explanatory. Too much is another matter. Finding relationships for persons of interest to places, people, vehicles, and criminal events can be a time-consuming process that can involve sifting through mountains of data. And many detectives have a caseload that makes such deep analysis impossible.
That’s why Tyler Technologies developed its newest software solution, Link Analysis. Tyler says Link Analysis is a powerful and easy-to-use tool for revealing connections, and it yields results very quickly.
Tyler’s Steve Lett, who worked on the product from its initial conceptualization, says that Link Analysis was built to meet the needs of detectives. “We talked to detectives and crime analysts about the challenges they face in this area, and we really wanted to build a solution to help meet these challenges and build results that will aid in investigations,” he explains.
Jeremy Summers, Tyler’s product evangelist for analytic tools, says some of the investigators the company interviewed were still using old school crime boards with red yarn indicating relationships. “They are now seeing the phenomenal power of being able to do this in the digital world. Things that took them days, weeks, and even months can be handled by Link Analysis in a matter of seconds,” Summers says.
Link Analysis works with Tyler’s Enterprise records management system (RMS) by accessing the data found in this system and pulling it into the software in a structure that is optimized for relationship detection. Lett says the software does not require the user to have special technical skills. “There is no importing and you don’t need a deep understanding of the data. It’s all ready to go,” he explains.
One of the ways Tyler made Link Analysis easier to use than some other investigative software tools is by streamlining its feature set. “There are great solutions out there, but they try to do too much. We didn’t want to do that. We didn’t want agencies to need a highly technical person in order to use this solution,” Lett says. “We wanted them to be able to explore their data without having to rely on that one expert in the agency.” He adds that an investigator can be trained to use Link Analysis in an “hour or two.”
Lett gives this scenario of how Link Analysis could be used to solve a convenience store robbery. In the example, the detectives suspect the female cashier of being behind the robbery, even though it was perpetrated by a male. During the robbery, a witness heard the first name of the suspect and saw him drive off in a Saturn car. Using Link Analysis they could search for a suspect with that name who owns a Saturn and who has some connection with the cashier. “Making that connection in these clusters of information can find the suspect and prove she was an insider,” Lett says.
Summers offers an example with a lot more urgency to highlight the speed of Link Analysis. He crafts a scenario of an abduction where the victim’s life depends on swift law enforcement response. “The investigators need to know who is connected to that victim,” he explains. “Because it can process massive amounts of data very quickly, Link Analysis can save time and even lives.”
At presstime Link Analysis was expected to be showcased at the International Association of Chiefs of Police show in New Orleans Sept. 11 through Sept. 14. Tyler is now answering agency inquiries about Link Analysis and says it will be available in 2022.