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    Connecting the Dots: Social Network Analysis in Criminal Investigation
    Written by Steve Adams | Jan 3, 2022 2:24:54 PM
    Investigators frequently need to establish if two or more individuals or businesses connected to an investigation are associated with one another in any way. Identifying an association may mean identifying if two people know one another or may involve identifying an array of links between a large group of people within an organized crime group. Investigators seek to determine existing relationships between individuals for a myriad of reasons, including mitigating fraudulent insurance claims, identifying members of organized crime groups, and identifying members of terrorist cells.

    Link analysis is a data analysis technique used by investigators and intelligence analysts to evaluate relationships between entities, including people, businesses, and objects. Social network analysis uses network theory to determine links between individuals suspected of criminality, identifying any association between offenders, kinship, and sexual relationships.

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    Preservation/spoilation letters are a vital tool for private investigators to prevent evidence from being destroyed in complex civil litigation and criminal defense cases.
    Disclaimer: The author is not an attorney, and the information contained within this article should not be construed as legal advice.

    In an article I wrote in 2017, “Evidence Expires,” I point out what should be obvious: hiring a private investigator in the early stages of criminal and civil cases gives clients the best chance of success. Speed often determines case outcomes. The window of opportunity to locate and preserve evidence closes quickly. Certain categories of evidence expire within weeks or even days: surveillance video, text messages, emails, records, etc., are easily and often destroyed. Sometimes the destruction is a deliberate effort to obscure evidence. But other times, it’s just the normal course of business. Surveillance video is taped over, and inboxes get cleaned up — with no nefarious intent.

    Either way, there are steps that a private investigator can take to help prevent the intentional or unintentional destruction of evidence.

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