III Intelligence and Intelligence Analysis

An Introduction to Intelligence


  • 1 Criminal investigations
  • 2 The crime analyst and the criminal investigator
  • 3 Stages of the police intelligence process
  • 4 How investigations are performed
  • 5 Crime analysis
  • 6 Criminal profiling
  • 7 Geographical profiling
  • 8 Time—event charting and link analysis

Learning Objectives for Chapter 6

  • 1 Gain a better understanding of criminal investigations
  • 2 Learn to view an investigation from the criminal investigators perspective
  • 3 Develop an understanding of the role of the intelligence analyst in a criminal investigation
  • 4 Learn how intelligence plays a key role in criminal investigations
  • 5 Acquire some basic tools that the intelligence analyst can use to contribute to a criminal investigation

A crime analyst’s effort is what creates information, whether that information is “built” or “mined.” A metaphor that works well is to see the analyst as a sculptor. Some sculptures are created by combining and molding pieces of clay, much as an analyst creates information by combining pieces of data. Other sculptures are created by chipping away extraneous pieces of stone to reveal a shape inside, much as an analyst filters out extraneous pieces of data to find the one that reveals a fact or truth.

Either way, the analysts raw material is data, which might come from numerous sources. Out of this data, the analyst seeks to create information, which he then delivers to his “consumer”—the police agency. This information, once internalized, becomes knowledge that informs police action.

(Bruce, 2008, p. 8)


As we learned in Chapter 5, intelligence is the information that is the lifeblood of good police work. The detection and investigation of crime, along with the pursuit and apprehension of criminals, require reliable intelligence. Without reliable intelligence, the investigator is limited and the chances of a successful investigation are diminished. Today, we use computers to access information rapidly and efficiently. With the availability of millions of pieces of information through stored computer files and various databases, intelligence analysts and tactical crime analysts can access valuable, and often essential, information—information that can play a critical role in helping to solve crimes. In this chapter, we discuss how intelligence is gathered to assist investigators in the solution of crimes.

Also, in Chapter 6, as well as in the chapters to follow, we discuss the importance of the role of tactical crime analysts as they work in conjunction with law enforcement to investigate and solve real-time crime. While we will examine in detail the actual process of tactical crime analysis in later chapters, what follows is a case report created to highlight how crucial a fluid working relationship between the police investigator and the tactical analyst can be.

Date: June 14,2019

Crime: Kidnapping

On June 14, 2019, the real-time center/tactical analyst was contacted by the city police department regarding a missing person/possible kidnapping. The victim was a 15-year-old female, and the initial information supplied to law enforcement was that the victim had texted a relative pleading for help because a male had just put her in the trunk of a car and they were now driving on the highway.

Upon arrival by uniformed officers to the victims home, the victims sister told responding units that the victim had been talking to a male on social media and that the male was of a different race than her. In addition, the sister indicated that the victim may be in an online, romantic relationship with him.

After the preliminary investigation with the victim’s family was concluded, the police investigator assigned to the investigation went to the real-time crime center and began to work the case leads with the tactical analyst.The investigator focused his attention on attempting to “ping” the victims cellular phone and, in doing so, discovered that it was hitting off a cellular tower in an adjoining state.

As the investigator was identifying the current location of the victim s cell phone, the tactical analyst began a data search of the victim in an attempt to locate any of the victim’s social media accounts. The analyst discovered on one such account that the victim had a social media friend, identified by moniker only, who was a male who matched the race described by the victim s sister, and who listed his current state of residence as the same state the victim s cell phone was pinging out of.

By using information now obtained from the social media account of the possible suspect, the tactical analyst was able to gather intelligence on the male suspect based on his social media profile, moniker, and postings.

With the investigator working at the analyst s side, this information made the male a strong person of interest, primarily due to these facts now established:

  • • The male was of the same race described by the victims sister.
  • • The male lived in the state that the victim’s phone was currently pinging out of.
  • • The male was confirmed to have been in recent contact with the victim on her social media account.

As the investigation intensified, the investigator gave the analyst a phone number he wanted researched because it was the last incoming call the victim had received on her cell phone prior to her disappearing.

For this data search, the analyst utilized several databases that analyzed information in relation to telephone numbers and persons associated with them. The information also focused on the history of the phone in question, in terms of it being documented in any official or public records database.

The analyst was also able to utilize a system that reverse dialed into the cellular device being researched. The analyst was successful in being able to hear a prerecorded message that possibly identified, by moniker, the person who may have been currently in possession of the phone.

The analyst also searched the cell phone through multiple social media accounts and discovered a social media account associated with the number. This account had a profile with a name which was the same as that on the prerecorded voice message.

The newly discovered information was given to the investigator, who, in turn, reached out to a police agency in the adjoining city and state that the victims cell phone was pinging out of, and where the suspect listed his state of residence on his social media account.

Upon receiving the information, the police agency in the adjoining city and state advised that they were, in fact, familiar with the suspect’s moniker and that it was actually an alias. They provided the suspect’s real name and date of birth. They further advised that the suspect had a lengthy criminal history, which included several sexual assaults. However, they were unable to provide a current residence since the suspect had no recent contacts with that law enforcement agency.

Once the suspect’s actual identity and date of birth were given to the tactical analyst, she quickly data mined from multiple sources, both local and nationwide, and located the suspect’s most recent address. This newly discovered address was also located within the adjoining state in question and within the jurisdiction of the police agency that had just passed along his actual name and date of birth.

Within an hour, the police agency from the adjoining state mobilized and responded, going to the rural area where the tactical analyst had identified the suspect’s possible current address. Upon entry by uniformed officers, the victim was located inside the house with the man the analyst had identified. Once in custody, the suspect admitted to luring the underage victim to his house, against her will via social media, and having sexually assaulted her once there.

Investigators acknowledged that the tactical analyst was crucial in the identification of the suspect and in locating the victim before she was subjected to any further harm. In addition, it was acknowledged that the leads the tactical analyst rapidly data mined and supplied had directly contributed to the case leading to a swift conclusion—just 10 hours after the initial 911 call was made.

In the following, Glenn Grana describes his years as a criminal investigator:

During my law enforcement career, I had the opportunity to work in the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). CID was the unit that encompassed multiple subunits, all of which focused on a specific aspect of criminal investigations. I spent the majority of my time in CID working in three of these subunits: the narcotics squad, the warrant squad, and field investigations. Working in each of these units allowed me to focus on a specific aspect of criminal investigations, while keeping within the basics of the principles of the investigative process.

While in the warrant squad, I had to follow the trail left behind by wanted suspects as they attempted to avoid detection and apprehension by law enforcement. We considered this the adult version of hide and seek, and as a result, leads as to the possible whereabouts of suspects were constantly being analyzed and researched. Additional research into the backgrounds of the suspects and their associates would ultimately lead to their whereabouts. Therefore, working in this unit required me to have the ability to research and follow up on leads that were being developed in the field as the search for suspects was ongoing. I also learned the art of surveillance; that is, observing locations for prolonged periods of time with the hope that the intended suspect would eventually show up. Acquiring keen surveillance skills would prove extremely beneficial as my career progressed into the field of narcotics investigation.

Field investigative units are located within the stations operating in various locations of an agency’s jurisdiction of patrol, and outside of their headquarters. In the New York Police Department, for example, these would be called precinct detective bureaus. While working in field investigations, I carried out the role of the suit-and-tie investigator. Field investigations involved the investigations of a wide variety of crimes, crimes that ran the spectrum of the penal law from burglary, robbery, and sex crimes all the way down to lesser-degree felonies and even, at times, misdemeanor crimes. Always, though, I needed to rely on the basic rules of investigation, which are described in detail in this chapter, as well as relying on common sense deduction abilities.

In field investigations, traditional investigative skills were practiced, such as interviewing of victims and witnesses, along with interrogation of suspects. The ability to testify as an expert witness in court hearings was also necessary, and I was called on to testify in a range of hearings, from suppression of the evidence hearings, to written confession hearings, to grand jury proceedings when the case was brought before a grand jury by an assistant district attorney for consideration of charges being levied.

It was during the 10 years I spent as a narcotics investigator that I was able to utilize all the aforementioned skills, while developing a high level of proficiency in the writing and execution of search warrants and the handling of confidential informants and, in addition, acting in an undercover capacity' making purchases of illegal narcotics. As my time in narcotics progressed, I was taught by' more seasoned investigators the art of wiretap investigations.

Wiretap investigations involve the covert interception and monitoring of telephone calls made by' high-level drug operatives. I learned how to perform the skills needed to successfully work such high-intensity and complex criminal investigations. The skills I learned involved such things as telephone line monitoring, which entails listening to and deciphering the conversations being intercepted. I also learned how to successfully perform all aspects of surveillance, from static surveillance (stationary surveillance of locations) to physical surveillance (the following of an individual to observe his or her criminal activity).

More importantly, I learned what type of evidence was needed to support these types of investigations—evidence that was almost always developed during an extensive preliminary' investigative process. This preliminary process of investigation relied heavily' on intelligence collection, examination, and dissemination, all of which were necessary to complete the affidavit required to present to a judge for his or her approval, granting the authority to eavesdrop on the intended target and the target organization.

To gain the level of proficiency and experience I achieved during my time in CID, I needed to have not only an understanding of how to conduct a basic criminal investigation, but also a solid grasp of—and ability to examine—all aspects of intelligence.

It is crucial, therefore, for an intelligence analyst, especially one working in a real-time setting, to have a fluid working knowledge of criminal investigations.The tactical analyst needs to combine all of his or her skills related to analyzing critical intelligence in order to be an essential part of the investigative process. As you read on in this chapter, you will come to see the importance of both a working knowledge of criminal investigations and skills in analyzing intelligence.

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