The Transformative Effect of Technology on Investigations
Technology has transformed practically every aspect of life from how we communicate with each other to the way we travel and learn new information.
On a daily basis, such innovations are felt when we video call someone instead of text them. Other examples include using flight alerts to save money or using voice systems – like Siri or Alexa – to look something up instead of typing it into a web browser.
On a more extreme scale, the evolution of technology has changed how to find a missing person.
Private investigators, policemen, and top-level government entities have seen these effects first hand. Below are a few ways technology is used in today’s missing person searches.
- Digital Footprints Are Everywhere
Almost everything an individual does can be tracked by their online behavior.
This goes for anything from suspicious financial activity to alarming search habits and dangerous online conversations. A digital footprint can even be as simple as traffic cameras and other security systems picking up on people’s faces.
Each innovation helps investigators put together the puzzle of a missing person’s case.
Digital footprints create a pattern of the offender and serve as a valuable resource to locate and save the victim.
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- Search Mapping, Radar, and Sonar
Although certain online footprints help paint the picture for a case, they don’t always tell the whole story. Offenders are aware of most technological innovations and work to cover their tracks or confuse investigators.
Search mapping, radar, and sonar tools are used to outsmart these criminals.
Search mapping generates patterns of all the digital footprints a person has left.
It cuts down the time investigators previously had to take to figure out how to find a missing person from case to case. Each offender has their own plan and procedure, but mapping identifies how a person thinks faster and better than before.
Understanding a person’s thought process helps investigators narrow things down. It allows them to determine a small list of possibilities regarding where they could have taken a missing person and what their next steps are.
Radar and sonar systems then come in to confirm or deny such possibilities. These tools do everything from underwater searches to picking up on body heat in areas that are covered or otherwise hard to see.
- Technology Is Faster Than People
No matter the system being used to track a missing person, one thing is certain: technology can crack a case faster than people can.
Finding a missing person used to mean sending out search parties and physically checking out every possibility. Now it can look like monitoring various screens, running algorithms, and keeping a digital eye on a suspect’s behavior.
Technology doesn’t do the job alone. But, it makes the job of investigators significantly more efficient and successful.
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