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Solving crimes requires information, and the sooner investigators get that information, the more effective it is. In law enforcement, “forensic intelligence” describes using forensic data early in an investigation, when that information can accelerate the process of solving the case. It also means using data across cases to understand crime trends and identify links between cases, such as serial crimes. The forensic results might not be confirmed and ready for court yet, but they are a powerful tool for making connections between evidence, suspects, cases, and sites of crime. That information can guide law enforcement away from dead ends and toward meaningful leads.

The key to forensic intelligence is making data actionable as quickly as possible, so results leave the laboratory fast enough to steer law enforcement’s actions. For example, early DNA results can eliminate suspects before officers spend time investigating them, and early ballistics data can connect a linked series of crimes using the same weapon. Forensic data can also reveal patterns to help officers disrupt ongoing crimes and prevent new ones, instead of responding only to crimes that have already happened. For example, field testing samples of drugs seized by patrol officers can reveal new drugs arriving in an area before they become widespread.

Date Created: October 10, 2023