Can analytics help fight drugs, child abuse and crime? Yes it can!

It is sad to realize that child abuse, opioid addiction and other crimes follow the same repeated patterns over and over. But, as an analyst, finding a pattern always provides opportunities as well. Armed with the right tools, such as our SAS® Visual Investigator, we can uncover hidden trends and behaviors that flag danger to a child, drug abuse and trafficking, fraud, financial crimes and insider threats. Detecting the threats is the first step for organizations to finding solutions.

The software alerts investigators, case workers or analysts to heightened risks or threats. Combining machine learning with dynamic and interactive visual workspaces, it enables analysts to easily grasp causes for events or alerts and act on deep analytical discoveries.

The good news is: this is already happening today. New Hanover County for instance, a town in North Carolina (USA), needed a solution to tackle the heart-wrenching challenge of rising numbers of abused and neglected children. They have enlisted SAS Visual Investigator to identify and track risk factors for children, and help keep them alive.

New Hanover County Department of Social Services (DSS) processes 300 reports of child abuse or neglect every month. By integrating data from criminal justice and public health databases into agency data, the system will alert DSS workers to relevant changes to risks affecting a child in their charge.

It might be 911 calls from the home, arrests of family members, new individuals in the home, or new investigations. SAS’ visual presentation will make it easier for caseworkers to grasp what triggered an alert, drill into the case for details, and determine what interventions may be necessary.

SAS Visual Investigator will not only help New Hanover County reduce child fatalities. DSS also expects to lower paid placements in foster or group homes and residential treatment centers, and increase the rate of “permanency,” a permanent home for the child. The good news? Providing a better outcome for kids could save DSS hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

This is just one of the examples where analytics can play a determining role in fighting crime and other abusive situations. We hope and expect to see many more in the months and years to come.