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Insightful Data Analytics Can be Instrumental in Ending Transnational Drug Trafficking

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The world has recently witnessed a rise in illicit drug production and drug trafficking. An estimated $320 billion is generated each year by drug trafficking, making it one of the most lucrative businesses for criminals. Based on the 2022 edition of the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report by the U.S. Department of State, the overseas production of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine levels is hugely concerning. It also reported a stark increase in the illicit trafficking of deadly synthetic opioids globally.

Drug smuggling along the border is like a balloon. If you squeeze one part, the air simply shifts to another.

Drug trafficking flows link many countries and continents globally, often proving fatal for the countries they touch. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2022, nearly 90% of cocaine seized globally in 2021 was trafficked in containers and/or by sea. Based on the seizure data, increasing levels of trafficking to Africa and Asia imply that transnational drug trafficking is rapidly spreading beyond the bounds of North America and Europe’s main markets.

As international borders become increasingly porous, global abuse and accessibility to drugs have become increasingly widespread, contributing to crime, instability, insecurity, and HIV. Further, since the types of drugs trafficked and the routes used constantly evolve, authorities from all countries must work together. However, criminal justice systems and conventional law enforcement methods are often no match for powerful criminal networks. Therefore, authorities must deploy more specialized law enforcement units equipped with state-of-the-art technology. That includes crime analytics software solutions to understand crime trends so they can adapt their activities and policies accordingly.

Crime intelligence analysis analyzes data about people involved in crimes, particularly repeat offenders, and criminal organizations and networks. It uses police record data as a starting point. Still, the crux of the process involves the confidential collection of information—”intelligence”—about individuals and networks with associated concerns. Intelligence analysis helps generate analytical reports by combining national police information with data from other sources – such as international organizations, civil society, and open sources – and analyzes drug trafficking routes and the criminal networks involved. It helps regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies expand their knowledge on crimes, highlight subjects of potential interest, and foster cross-border coordination.

Many developed countries continue to face the looming threat of illicit drug trafficking, making our borders risk-prone areas for criminal activities. However, many futuristic companies like the Wynyard Group and LexisNexis have developed crime analytics software solutions like Advanced Crime Analytics and Accurint, respectively, which help law enforcement agencies solve crimes in record time and apprehend miscreants before they can commit unlawful activities.

Software like Advanced Crime Analytics utilizes scattered information to produce actionable data points in the form of predictions and patterns. Its capability to create conclusive patterns and data points permits analysts to feed haphazard details. It allows the software to access a vast database, increasing the chances of catching hidden and wanted criminals evading the law, making it easier for officials to report drug trafficking crimes and add it into the system, and for information to be provided in real-time to front-line staff to help them function more effectively. Law enforcement officials can also utilize these analytics to predict and forecast possible drug trafficking crimes by identifying drug-related crime trends within any area and then proactively reducing and preventing them accordingly.

Such crime analytics and crime forecasting software solutions are valuable in the arsenal of law enforcement officials in various jurisdictions, as it enables authorities to achieve a truly preventative approach. From petty crime to large-scale terrorism, law enforcement officials can rely on these solutions to connect disparate data sources and synthesize a prompt response strategy.

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