Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $160,100)
Bronx County in New York City has some of the nations highest rates of violent crime and opioid overdoses. Investigating and prosecuting these cases requires the use of digital forensic evidence, specifically smartphones, to investigate and prosecute these criminals. However, advanced technology such as full-disk encryption can make digital evidence on locked smartphone devices inaccessible to law enforcement. The goal of this proposed project is to improve digital forensic science services in the Bronx by expediting an application for ANSI (American National Standards Institute) digital forensic laboratory accreditation as well as to acquire the Cellebrite Advanced Universal Forensic Extraction Device software solution to improve our ability to access and analyze digital forensic evidence contained on mobile phones such as text, email, photos, and communication that are invaluable in criminal investigations and prosecution. This project will both increase the timeliness and quality of digital forensics and reduce the current backlog of digital forensics at the Bronx County District Attorneys Office while contributing to a more cost-effective in-house solution to accessing digital forensics on smart phones. Improved evidence and decreased backlog will allow the Office to successfully prosecute pending and new criminal cases related to narcotics, violent crime and human trafficking. Addressing these cases will improve public safety in the Bronx and its Qualified Opportunity Zones by removing violent criminals from the street and reducing the supply and circulation in opioids.