Cell phones are everywhere and they often contain information law enforcement professionals need to solve crimes.
People don’t do anything without their smartphones. When one shows up at a crime scene, you need to know how to use it for your investigation, and track all the actions completed for the chain of custody.
Mobile forensics helps you use smartphones and other mobile devices to aprehend criminals or terrorists. Law enforcement once had to pound the pavement for hours to get information. The same information is often available on cell phones.
Don’t believe us? Check out these 10 ways cell phone forensics makes your job easier and faster. Proper use of mobile tools can mean the difference between life and death.
1. Mobile Forensics Tracks Victims
When you have a kidnapping by a non-custodial parent or runaway situation, time is of the essence. Every second that ticks by means your victim is in more danger. Before mobile phone forensics, police relied on information from friends and family, eye witness reports and credit card tracking.
These are still important tools, but GPS information on cell phones can help you find your victims much faster, or find out the location of your runaway without all the extra work.
Time is always against law enforcement. Cellular forensics can help turn the tide.
2. Find Out Their Timeline
When investigating a case, knowing the previous locations of a victim or suspect is vital. If a suspect’s alibi relies on him being at a certain place at a certain time, then using mobile phone data can determine if he’s telling the truth.
To determine the timeline of a victim’s last night, cell phone pings can paint a picture of their last night or week. Mobile forensic tools can create a road map that you can use in your investigation, and keep track of all that has happened to a phone for the chain of custody record.
3. Find Out Who People Talked Too
Cell phone records are invaluable to modern criminal investigations. With proper court documents, you can get a list of phone records, texts and more to help with your investigation.
They help support your investigative theories. It clears a person of interest or helps determine the perpetrator of the crime. You can find out who was the last person the victim talked to or verify the suspect talked to the victim before the crime.
Law enforcement officers use cell phone records routinely. They are an important part of clearing suspects and closing cases.
4. Gather Evidence from Cell Phones
People use cell phones for everything. In fact, 3/4 of adults own a cell phone and they look up information on Google and store pictures on them. They are a treasure trove of potential evidence.
Law enforcement officers have discovered suspects often look up where to find ropes, duct tape, etc., on their phone before a kidnapping.
People don’t realize how important cell phones can be in a criminal case. They make mistakes and assume that no one will find out.
Pictures tell you who their friends are, places they visit and much more. There are apps for everything. Investigators find amazing evidence from the contents of a cell phone.
5. Find Out Criminal Activity from Cell Phones
Cell phones are miniature computers. They have processing power and capabilities far beyond checking Facebook and snapping selfies. Criminals can use them for identity theft, illegal surveillance, and many more crimes.
If a forensic scientist gets a cell phone, they use it to find out if it has been used for crimes.
They can dig into the data and discover hidden information the criminal tried to hide or delete. Cell phones are important for investigations and must be tracked with the chain of custody just like any other evidence item.
6. Paint a Picture with Cell Phone Images
When a criminal act happens in a large area, people take pictures and videos as it happens, and before. It could be a fight in an alley or a bombing of a public place.
Many high-profile bombing cases used cell phone images and videos to create a picture of what happened. They see where people were, any unusual activity or items and much more. It’s a way to recreate an event even though you weren’t there at the time.
7. Criminals Post Incriminating Evidence Using Cell Phones
Cell phones and social media go hand in hand. Millions of people use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more every day. Most people post mundane activities or funny memes. Criminals often use it to brag about their crimes.
They assume no one will see it, but police use these posts in criminal proceedings. They take cell phone videos using firearms, drugs and showing off their loot.
Cell phones are small, unlike traditional video cameras. It’s easy to take it out and make a short video that puts them in prison.
8. Get Leads with Text-A-Tip
It’s not always easy for people to talk to the police. Face-to-face and phone conversations intimidate people. Police need tips from the public to solve cases and text-a-tip programs help make it more discreet.
In today’s digital culture, texting is easier than talking. Police receive tips from cell phone text messages that help solve cases. They send confidential and anonymous texts to police and avoid meeting or talking to people.
9. Increased Crime Reporting
Before cell phones, people needed to find a phone to report a crime. They walked several blocks to find a phone, left the victim alone and other issues that hampered the investigation.
Now, cell phones let them report crimes as they happen anywhere in the world. Someone gets attacked in a rural cornfield. If they call 911, they can get their location and send help.
People record crimes as they happen. They take pictures of license plates and more.
10. Saves Time and Effort
When you’re in the field, time is of the essence. No matter what the crime, the longer it takes to solve, the colder the trails gets. What used to take hours of manual police work may now take only minutes.
Mobile phone forensics speeds up the investigation process. Instead of spending hours asking witnesses about someone’s whereabouts, you know it from cell phone records. Track people in real time instead of hours after they’ve gone.
Never Underestimate the Power of Cell Phones
Mobile forensics is growing in use and scope for investigations. Software developed to crack cell phones, examine data and track people get used daily by law enforcement in large cities and small rural communities.
If you’re interested in learning more about cell phone forensics and tracking, or law enforcement technology, feel free to explore our site.