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TransUnion Survey: Majority of Americans Support Use of Publicly Available, Personal Data to Solve Crimes

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Sep 10, 2014) - Nearly six in 10 Americans (59%) are comfortable having their personal information such as unlisted phone numbers and email addresses used to help law enforcement catch and prosecute criminals. The findings come from a new nationwide survey by TransUnion, which provides its robust TLOxp solution to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country. 

"Just as there is forensic evidence in most every crime scene, criminals also can leave various amounts of cyber evidence behind. When you have the right tools to cull through and link millions of disparate records together, it makes it much harder for criminals to evade justice," said Tim Martin, executive vice president at TransUnion. "Our survey shows the public strongly supports and expects law enforcement to use data and tools to prevent and solve crimes as long as the information is obtained legally." 

According to the survey, most respondents support using data integration tools regardless of the type of crime. Between 80% and 90% support these tools' use in violent crimes, finding abducted or missing children and fighting organized crime. In fact, nine in 10 respondents believe law enforcement has an obligation to use these tools to sort through and make connections among publicly available information.

Despite their openness to sharing information with law enforcement, the public is split on whether they believe local law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to more efficiently and effectively use data to solve crimes and catch criminals. While 88% of survey respondents strongly agree that police departments should have access to data integration tools, four in 10 believe departments are very or somewhat poorly equipped to efficiently and effectively use data.

"One of the most surprising things we found from the survey was the high support among the public for investment in data integration tools by law enforcement agencies," Martin said. "In fact, we found that the public supports investment in these tools as much as hiring additional police officers, and even more so than the practice of offering reward money for tips to apprehend criminals."

The survey also found that approximately three out of four (72%) respondents support law enforcement agencies investing in data integration tools. This finding is on par with support for more traditional police department investments like hiring more officers (tie for the top spot at 72%), investing in new equipment (65%) and offering more reward money for tips (59%).

"Across industries, data integration tools are increasingly important to aggregate large amounts of data from different sources and make it searchable for groups like government, investigators and law enforcement," Martin said. "Tools like TLOxp make it possible to sort through huge volumes of data to locate and make connections among individuals, businesses and assets."

TLOxp is a streamlined, custom, scalable investigative and risk management tool for due diligence, threat assessment, identity authentication, fraud prevention and detection, legislative compliance and debt recovery. More information about TLOxp can be found at www.tlo.com.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted online by TransUnion between June 11, 2014 and June 13, 2014, and included responses from 1,039 U.S. residents over the age of 18.

About TransUnion

As a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion reaches businesses and consumers in 33 countries around the world on five continents. www.transunion.com/business