OSINT Blog / Post

May 21, 2024

Using Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) to Investigate Property Crimes On Social Media

For property crime investigations, such as theft, burglary, or destruction of property, the internet is a helpful resource. However, it can take hours to comb through all open web and social media data on a suspect, and you still might miss key information. Open source intelligence (OSINT) tools, like Skopenow, speed up your investigation by using artificial intelligence, computer vision, and natural language processing to aggregate and analyze publicly available information. This can be a great compliment or a potential alternative to in-person investigation techniques and will optimize your online investigation strategy in any industry

Property Crimes on Social Media

In the case of a property crime, it can be hard to put all of the puzzle pieces together without searching the open web. A suspect might be in the wind and evading contact attempts; alternatively, there could be several suspects, so the difficulty lies in finding the real culprit. Online investigations can take over when in-person techniques hit a dead end to find new leads in a case. 

This is especially relevant in the destruction of property investigations where the culprits are generally nowhere to be found after the offense. Interestingly, perpetrators of property destruction often post something about it on social media and, even if they don’t, it’s possible that an associate or connected individual tagged them in a post, photo, or video containing evidence of the crime. Skopenow will search, find, and flag all social media content related to one or more individuals containing behaviors or topics relevant to the crime for investigators or law enforcement officers to further review.


Woman hiding a red clothing item with the tag still on in her jacket.


The same logic applies to robbery or theft. Perpetrators might post or be tagged in content about newly acquired items on social media, and Skopenow’s keyword search feature can identify relevant text, images, or videos containing specific items. If the thief decides to sell the items, Skopenow can identify posts linking to shared product listings, which can then be monitored on an ongoing basis.

OSINT Features for Social Media Investigations

If an investigator or OSINT tool finds references to the property crime on social media, but the only lead they have is a username, Skopenow can conduct a reverse search that generates names, phone numbers, emails, and addresses that are associated with the usernames involved. Once identified, if a potential suspect or suspects are not responding to contact attempts, Skopenow can find known relatives and their contact information. Additionally, Skopenow’s Heat Map uses geographic tags on social media posts to determine the location of a person at specific dates and times. This can show geographic patterns and possible locations to investigate, as well as provide evidence for or against alibis.  

To investigate possible accomplices or co-conspirators in any crime, an investigator can use Skopenow’s Association Search feature to find interactions between people and businesses. For example, if an investigator suspects that an independent witness was actually involved with or had knowledge of the crime, they can run a comparative analysis of both people and see what friends, groups, jobs, locations, or court records that they have in common. If it was a group of people who committed the crime, Association Search provides insight into group relationships and dynamics. 

Skopenow can enhance and streamline your social media investigation to find new leads and evidence against property crime perpetrators. Want to see if it’s right for your investigations? Go to www.skopenow.com/try for a 7-day free trial. 

Skopenow is an analytical search engine that uses social media and open web data to provide actionable intelligence. Skopenow's platform identifies, collects, and analyzes public information on people and businesses by scouring millions of sources and data points. While Skopenow is built for use in insurance, government, and law, the product is also highly applicable in HR, real estate, and education.