Data analytics

ATF mines data to support investigations

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives plans to mine its data and expand the use of data analytics to improve its investigations, including gun store robberies and burglaries, according to the agency's CIO.

"We have really just started pushing data analytics within ATF," said CIO Roger Beasley. In the coming fiscal year, Beasley said the agency will unify its many data pools, with the goal of giving its agents a more granular picture of the data housed in its systems.

In remarks during an Oct. 8 AFFIRM online cybersecurity event, Beasley said data analytics can help ATF agents in real time with gun store robberies and burglaries, which have been growing at an alarming rate, with hundreds of stores hit every year.

"We have many systems across the bureau, like any other federal agency. They are individual pots of gold if you can pull it all together and begin to mine that information,” he said. “Up until this point, we really did not exploit that."

ATF is combining criminal enforcement data on break-ins with GIS data on gun store locations to build targeted alerts to other gun stores in areas where break-ins occur.

"We're pulling that information from a criminal enforcement database and using Esri data to grab and pull those local stores within a 50 mile radius of where that burglary occurred and try to alert them ahead of time, so they can be prepared," he said. "It's typically not just one store that's going to get hit in an area."

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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