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LexisNexis Expands Data Sharing for Law Enforcement

Written by PSIT Staff

In law enforcement, minutes and even seconds can make the difference between life and death in an investigation. LexisNexis® Advanced Government Solutions give public safety personnel access to a full suite of advanced investigative tools to quickly locate people, detect fraud, uncover assets, and discover connections between suspects, witnesses or associates. LexisNexis also leverages state-of-the-art fusion and linking technology to integrate data sets with authoritative public records, identifying additional leads, and enhancing complex investigations. Their powerful information sharing tools help facilitate cross-jurisdictional collaboration.

LexisNexis’ solutions for law enforcement and public safety include: Search & Analysis: The information and analysis users need to quickly, accurately and confidently solve cases. Data Fusion & Information Sharing: Advanced fusion technology includes on-premise data fusion and analytics as well as enhanced visualization technology for mapping and link analysis. Background Screening: Make fast, confident decisions about individual suitability for positions of public trust and help expedite your agency’s security clearance processes. Complete & Comprehensive Research: Solutions help provide strategic insight, enabling law enforcement and public safety personnel to quickly find relevant cases and vital, in-depth information. Document Drafting: Make the time-intensive process of drafting precise, error-free legal documents simpler and more efficient. Also, keep up-to-date on legal news and craft more powerful arguments. Web & E-mail Alerts: Fuse the best information from your favorite sources in a streamlined, daily update via e-mail, intranet or portal entry.

PSIT spoke with Lt. Tom Joyce (NYPD Ret.), Former Commander, 79th Precinct Detective Squad and Cold Case Homicide Squad and current LexisNexis Government Solutions, Director Government Investigative Solutions. Joyce has 21 years of law enforcement experience. According to Joyce, Accurint is a commercial solution from LexisNexis that sells to the Public Safety sector. LexisNexis, a data company, provides solutions so an agency can make informed decisions based on “actionable intelligence.”

Accurint® for Law Enforcement and Accurint® for Law Enforcement Plus are online, Web-based solutions. Agencies can purchase one or the other or both depending on needs of use. Joyce said Accurint is the “preferred solution” across the country. In the United States, public records are available at the county, state and local levels. Years ago, people would access those records manually. Once the records became available in electronic versions, LexisNexis leveraged the information and aggregated it to disseminate data within seconds. Sharing that same data used to take days or even weeks.

Joyce said Accurint pulls from thousands of sources, with 35 billion individual records. That equates to 400 million distinct, unique persons. Joyce added that LexisNexis’ “secret sauce” is the fact it’s very robust. The “Link ID™” option analyzes data points to determine the identity of a certain suspect. For example, there might be a Joe Smith in California and a Joe Smythe in New York, but users can tell it’s the same individual with 99.9% accuracy. “This assists and expedites the investigative process and eliminates the time consuming step of vetting different subjects only to discover two “similar looking” subjects are actually the same individual,” Joyce stated.

According to Joyce, the purpose of LexisNexis’ Accurint solution for law enforcement is first and foremost to increase officer safety. Second, it reduces crime rates: “Earlier IDs lead to earlier apprehensions,” Joyce explained. The third goal of Accurint is to increase efficiency and productivity of an agency. “Case loads that once took 30 people to handle can now be easily handled with 25 people or less. “We want agencies working smarter, not harder,” Joyce said. Another benefit of Accurint is it increases case investigation clearance rates. It also increases search and seizure rates. Finally, LexisNexis’ data can enhance intelligence-led policing or predictive modeling currently being implemented by law enforcement agencies.

LexisNexis® Accurint Case Connect

The inability of law enforcement and government agencies to efficiently share case information wastes countless hours and dollars in duplicated efforts, and can threaten the safety and integrity of investigations when officers unknowingly intrude into and interfere with another agency’s critical or tactical events. LexisNexis® Accurint® Case Connect is an integrated add-on tool to the existing public records data searches in Accurint that leverages innovative data technology to enable law enforcement and government agencies to easily connect person search information, both internally and with external agencies, if they choose to do so.

The primary tool in the Accurint Case Connect solution is Accurint Case Deconfliction. It allows you to “opt in” and instantly cross-reference and share common searches in a secure environment. Plus, you can set up alerts to signal you when data from your cases has been accessed by other officers, analysts or investigators. Joyce cited an example of how Case Connect aids an investigation: Two different agencies could be investigating the same individual, unbeknownst to each other. Case Connect builds this capability for users who register their searches. If a user registers a suspect, he can opt-in at multiple levels. Case Connect has three levels to make sure registration is accurate. For example, if an officer ran a search on Joe Smith, the Case Connect tells the officer that another officer ran a search on Joe Smith the day before. This eliminates redundancy, Joyce said, because if one unit makes progress on an investigation, the work is not duplicated by another unit.

Case Deconfliction also minimizes unwanted “blue on blue” overlap and conflict by auto-notifying users of same-subject searches performed within the department and across agencies. Visibility and transparency of case information can transform unintentional conflict into intentional collaboration. Accurint Case Deconfliction automatically and securely monitors cases and notifies users of case-related searches made internally or by outside agencies. These valuable notifications can help government agencies avoid duplicating work and improve the overall efficiency of case investigations.

In addition, Case Connect enhances officer safety. In the past, Joyce said often agencies have no alternative other than to have an officer call in and tell HQ he was issuing a search warrant on a subject. Sometimes two different responding units would cross each other in a tactical situation, which creates the “blue on blue” situation, increasing the risk of officers getting hurt. In addition, knowing if a suspect has three or four robberies in other jurisdictions will affect evidence and sentencing in court. If someone is a “serial robber” that most certainly should impact sentencing.

Using “Opt-in” and “Case Alert Enrollment” features gives users complete control over the information shared, monitored and received. The built-in Case Deconfliction Results Manager allows users to quickly establish and manage connections with other users. Agreed-upon connections can lead to important discussions about case notes and deeper insights into case resolution.

Accurint Case Connect supports collaborative efforts that deepen, strengthen and expand the partnership between Federal, State and Local law enforcement and information sharing officials. Generate alerts based on selected User Permission Levels, including: Internal to My Account; Internal to My Parent Company (Agency); External (Other Law Enforcement); and External (Other Government).

Because Accurint Case Connect is an add-on technology to the existing Public Records Data already in Accurint, it is fully integrated into the solution. There is no change in investigators’ or officers’ workflow and they do not have to log into a separate system to log searches, tactical events or case queries. Accurint Case Connect is immediately accessible through the Accurint product interface at no charge for all Accurint subscribers.

LexisNexis® Accurint® Real-Time Phones Search

The Accurint® Real-Time Phones Search will help officers or investigators locate hard-to-find individuals by running simple queries using phone number, address, and other queries based on subject data such as name and social security number. This search provides additional real-time phone source information on over 39 million wireless numbers and detailed information of current and previous carriers that can be used for investigative purposes. In addition to individual online searches, users can also run batch files for quick processing of a large amount of records.

The Accurint® Real-Time Phones Search and Batch can help your agency generate investigative leads to help further improve their investigation process and to:

Find up-to-date consumer or business identifying information tied to a phone number instantly

Identify current and previous carrier information related to a phone number

Locate hard-to-find individuals tied to a phone number or address

Uncover associates or critical information tied to an investigation

Return up to 10 phone numbers per input via online or offline batch

The Real-Time Phones Search now allows users to search by a phone number, subject’s name, address, Link ID™, Social Security Number (SSN), or a combination of the data. The results returned will include name of individuals or businesses associated with the phone number, phone type, phone status, current and previous carrier details, porting and non-published indicators and a summary of possible historical phone record information to give users a more comprehensive overview of the phone number for case investigations, including further details that may be used in issuing subpoenas when necessary.

According to Joyce, a phone number in some form is connected to just about every criminal investigation. Accurint users can search a phone number on a reverse query to find out the owner of the phone as well as the carrier. Having the information instantly accelerates the investigation, in many cases eliminating the need for a subpoena. Many criminals change their phone numbers and phone carriers in hopes of evading detection from the police. Real-Time Phones helps alleviate the burden of the long and tedious process of tracking carrier and number information. Joyce said “phone portability,” which allows any cellular phone subscriber to keep his same phone number even if he switches carriers, can complicate the investigation. Real-Time Phones, however, returns the most recent carrier no matter how many times the phone number has been ported.

LexisNexis® Investigators Network

As a member of the LexisNexis Investigators Network (LNIN), users can access a single, global meeting place for cops, investigators, agents and analysts across the U.S. to gain access to resources and information they need. Additional benefits include: Fuel your law enforcement information sharing needs with information from endless sources; Obtain an experiential understanding of best practices, tools and techniques and ideas through peer-to-peer connection; Locate unique content, case histories and practical advice on how to close cases faster and more efficiently; Expand your “go to” referral network, across multiple jurisdictions, to help reduce professional isolation and locate trusted partners for advice and guidance.

In addition, members can: Extend relationships and value of crime-fighting tactics by continuing conversations and sharing new-found knowledge of the global community; Enhance networking and career prospects by raising your professional profile among the global community and law enforcement professionals; Access news, information and special in-person and online events to achieve training and education goals; Gain answers or conduct real-time “pulse” surveys to get immediate feedback from multiple sources on topics of interest or case situations. The LNIN offers a secure, state-of-the-art environment with a community manager and chat capabilities to facilitate peer interaction, solicit feedback, and foster participation at times of need.

Joyce said the three main benefits of LNIN are to: share, connect, learn. LNIN gives up-to-date, recent best practices for agencies across the country. For example, the latest and greatest on computer forensics might be a topic. Joyce likened it to LinkedIn or Facebook for investigators and analysts to share knowledge and connect agencies. An example: An investigator has a picture of a child with a T-shirt that said, “Lakeland Soccer Club” but he has no idea to what community that belongs. If the officer posts the picture on LNIN, instantly over 4,000 members see it. He can then ask if anyone has information relating to it.

In the past, “many cases got solved at the end of a barstool,” Joyce said, by two investigators talking to each other. LexisNexis Accurint solutions are the “virtual bar” or social environment that allows for the same type of collaboration. The more information shared, the more likely a crime will be solved.

Photos courtesy of LexisNexis.

Published in Public Safety IT, Nov/Dec 2011

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