Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
August 21st, 2018
Author: Lizzi Goldmeier

How Artificial Intelligence is Revolutionizing Investigation for Law Enforcement

Intelligence is a central function of law enforcement and a critical resource for enabling effective and efficient investigations. In today’s technology and data-driven society, there are ever more sources of information to support evidence collection, and digital content is becoming a key driver of police and intelligence investigations. Law enforcement can derive value from using Artificial Intelligence technology to analyze and process digital data sources, such as mobile phones, social media profiles and video surveillance footage, to advance investigations and bolster their intelligence.

How Artificial Intelligence Processes Digital Data

When it comes to investigation, it’s critical to acquire as much detailed information as possible, but it’s not always helpful to have too much intelligence if there is no way to efficiently review and interpret the information. At the onset of every investigation, agents and officers must set priorities for intelligence review and collection, striking a balance between dedicating time and manpower to extract evidence from data sources and allocating the resources to other activities for driving the investigation.


Artificial Intelligence technology enables law enforcement to overcome this challenge by accelerating the processing of information. With Deep Learning techniques, investigators can leverage AI-backed solutions, which process raw data and structure it into indexes and dashboard visualizations for easier analysis and interpretation. When the data is extracted, identified and classified, it becomes easier to evaluate the evidence and leverage the findings to solve a case.

For instance, an AI-backed tool can be used to analyze a victim’s cell phone. Drawing data from the mobile device, Artificial Intelligence can highlight communication patterns and index the objects captured in the victim’s images, making data collection and interpretation more manageable for identifying suspects and understanding events.

Advantages of Artificial Intelligence for Investigations

When organized into easily interpretable dashboards, data can become searchable, quantifiable and actionable. For investigators, this means utilizing each digital data source to its fullest potential, accelerating the time-to-target, reviewing more information with the same – or less – manpower and increasing operational efficiency with Big Data.

  1. Faster Time-to-Target: With Deep Learning technology initially evaluating the digital content, detectives save time on reviewing the evidence. If investigators have a known target, it can be easily detected, identified and tracked in the digital data. Even more importantly, when there is not a known suspect or supporting evidence is scarce, investigators can uncover details quickly by reviewing the AI-structured data.
  2. Review More, with Less: An excess of data doesn’t need to inhibit investigation progress. By enabling faster review of organized data, the same amount – or even fewer – investigators can comb through more information quicker and more effectively.
  3. Big Data and Benchmarking: Once data is structured, it becomes easier to evaluate activities and measure effectiveness beyond investigations. With quantifiable data at their fingertips, law enforcement agencies can A/B test or benchmark the success of their initiatives based on data insights.

Use Case: Driving Video Investigations with AI-Backed Analytics

Video surveillance footage is a crucial digital data source and a key driver of investigations. Now Video Content Analytics (VCA) technology is helping law enforcement realize the full value of their video surveillance investments. By processing video and breaking it down into objects and behaviors that appeared, VCA enables law enforcement to search through more video evidence more efficiently, achieving results while dedicating fewer officers to video investigation.

For instance, when multiple cameras cover the expanse of a crime scene, recording the area from every angle, the investigators can process all the video and search for evidence. Whereas having to manually review this video would require prioritizing which recordings and feeds to evaluate, with VCA, officers can leverage all the data at their disposal without having to dedicate significant manpower or time to the task. By utilizing video from multiple local sources, captured over the days leading up to the incident, law enforcement officers can effectively track suspects’ movements at and around the scene, identify corroborators and help focus the investigation efforts to the relevant targets.

Artificial Intelligence for Optimizing Security and Operational Efficiency

Beyond solving investigations, video content and digital data sources offer intelligence that can be used for any number of law enforcement activities from productively driving safe city transformation to immediate and proactive response to public safety threats. With AI-backed technologies enabling efficient and effective processing of data, law enforcement agencies can leverage their existing data sources for deeper actionable insights, promoting increased security and operational efficiency.