NIJ Funded Software Tools, Apps and Databases

NIJ has funded a number of free or low cost software tools, apps and databases to assist with investigations or research. Find tools for:

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Software and Online Tools
TitleDeveloperDescriptionAvailability and CostDownloads/Links
Communications of Public Safety
CAPRAD: Computer Assisted Pre-Coordination Resource and Database SystemCommunications Technology Center of ExcellenceCAPRAD is a nationwide database for public safety professionals to coordinate the use of and application for frequencies in the 700 and 800-MHz band. Because the band is limited and the demand is growing in many parts of the country for spectrum utilization, coordination and cooperation are a must for the benefit of public safety. CAPRAD is separated into three functional segments: an allocation segment that provides for the pre-allocation of the spectrum by region, an application segment which provides interactive and coordinated application for frequencies using the FCC Form 601, and an administrative/reporting segment that provides specialized access for administrative functions. Select features are available to all uses. Full access is limited to frequency coordinators or members of Regional Planning Committees or Interoperability Planning Committee. Access CAPRAD
Digital Forensics
National Software Reference Library (NSRL) NISTThe National Software Reference Library is designed to collect software from various sources and incorporate file profiles computed from the software into a Reference Data Set (RDS) of information. The RDS can be used by law enforcement, government and industry organizations to review files on a computer by matching file profiles in the RDS. This will help alleviate much of the effort involved in determining which files on computers or file systems seized as part of criminal investigations are important as evidence. $90 annual subscription (quarterly updates), open to all users. Purchase the NSRL
FieldSearch NLECTCField Search is a suite of software products designed for use in the field by non-technical criminal justice personnel to allow them to quickly and efficiently search a target computer and create a detailed report of the findings. This approach provides a fast and powerful, yet easy method of examining and monitoring computer use. Field Search blends preview functions with evidence gathering and reporting functions.

Available for Windows and Mac operating systems.
Free, but available to public sector criminal justice agencies only. Request a download link.
MacResponse LE™ AIS, Inc.MacResponse LE is a computer-incident response toolkit for law enforcement that provides the ability to efficiently acquire and analyze volatile system data from running Mac OS X systems. MacResponse LE consists of two applications: the Live application, which executes from an external storage device (e.g., USB drive), and the Console application, which is the offline analysis component.

The Console is available for Windows and Mac operating systems.
Free and open to all users. Request a download link.
Redlight Porn Scanner Rhode Island Digital Forensics CenterRedLight Porn Scanner is a law enforcement scanner that detects pornography using sophisticated image analysis techniques to detect characteristics such as high concentrations of skin tone and edges indicative of humans. RedLight Porn Scan can find pornography in images quickly, allowing visual confirmation by the investigator through a display of thumbnails, and then exporting selected images, reports and hash sets suitable for importing into powerful analysis tools such as EnCase, FTK and X-Ways.

Available for Windows operating system.
Free and available to all users. Download page
Video Previewer Rhode Island Digital Forensics CenterVideo Previewer quickly processes a video and shows its key frames in a PDF file. It is particularly useful in investigations where watching a video is time consuming. It allows specification to select frames at equally spaced intervals, or to perform intelligent selection of frames based on scene changes.

Available for Windows operating system.
Free and available to all users. Download (zip)
SAFE VNCRhode Island Digital Forensics CenterSAFE VNC is a free add-on to the SAFE forensics boot disk for Windows. It allows an investigator access over the standard Internet to a remote suspect computer that has been booted with SAFE. It allows an on-site person to boot the suspect computer and attach a drive for fast imaging on that computer’s bus, and for the trained investigator to run tools in the booted environment that perform the acquisition and triage — all from an off-site location.

Available for Windows operating system.
Free and available to all users. Download (zip)
Fire and Arson Investigation
Burning Item DatabaseDepartment of Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland College Park

National Center for Forensic Science, University of Central Florida
The Burning Item Database is a collection of fire test data for commonly used household and office furniture (e.g., chairs, sofas, mattresses, bookcases). The original data were collected during furniture calorimeter tests and the database was constructed from a review of different sources presenting test results, including books, articles published in technical journals and technical websites on the internet. Free and open to all users. Access database
Material Thermal Properties Database Department of Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland College Park

National Center for Forensic Science, University of Central Florida
The Material Thermal Properties Database is a small collection of thermal properties for materials used to construct common objects found in households and offices. Thermal properties relevant to fire behavior include thermal conductivity, mass density, specific heat, and, for materials that may undergo thermal degradation, heat of gasification and ignition temperature. Free and open to all users. Access database
Smokeless Powders DatabaseNational Center for Forensic Science, University of Central FloridaThe Smokeless Powders Database is a reference collection of information and data on powders obtained from various sources, including vendors and manufacturers. It is designed to assist forensic explosives analysts in characterizing, classifying and comparing smokeless powder samples based on their physical and chemical properties. Each database record contains a photomicrograph of the powder, its source information and its physical characteristics, as well as GC-MS and FTIR data identifying the chemical components. Free and available to all users. Access database
Ignitable Liquids Database National Center for Forensic Science, University of Central Florida

Technical Working Group for Fire and Explosives
The Ignitable Liquids Reference Collection is a compilation of reference materials used by forensic analysts to conduct fire debris analysis. The collection consists of a comprehensive set of ignitable liquids and accompanying characterization data used in the analysis of fire debris samples in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials E-1618 standard test methods. Free and available to all users. Access the database
Substrate Database National Center for Forensic Science, University of Central Florida

Technical Working Group for Fire and Explosives
The Substrate Database is a compilation of headspace GC/MS data from burned and unburned materials that are common to fire scenes. These materials may produce compounds that can interfere with the identification of ignitable liquids in fire debris. The Substrate Database can assist a fire debris analyst by demonstrating the types of compounds and chromatographic patterns that may be produced by these commonly encountered materials. Free and open to all users. Access database
Forensic DNA
US Y-STR Database National Center for Forensic Science and the Y-STR ConsortiumThe U.S. Y-STR Database is an online searchable listing of 11- to 17-locus Y-STR haplotypes, which are required to provide a statistical estimate of the significance of a match. The U.S. Y-STR Database combines data from the National Center for Forensic Science with databases from government, commercial and academic resources throughout the United States. The database provides tools for laboratories to obtain Y-STR haplotype frequencies needed to calculate matching or paternity probabilities with confidence intervals. Free and open to all users. Access database
Forensic Resource Reference on Genetics Knowldgebase (FROG-kb)Yale UniversityFROG-kb is an online database intended to make allele frequency data for SNPs and other genetic polymorphisms more useful in a forensic setting. FROG-kb is implementing computational tools that use the underlying allele frequencies with user-provided data. These tools are organized by the methodology followed and by the different published SNP/marker panels available. FROG-kb uses the data from the ALlele FREquency Database, ALFRED. Free and open to all users. Access FROG-kb
AutoDimer NISTAutoDimer software was developed to rapidly screen previously selected PCR primers for primer-dimer and hairpin interactions in short DNA oligomers (< 30 nucleotides). AutoDimer was originally created to assist in the development of multiplex PCR assays for probing STR and SNP markers for forensic purposes. Free and open to all users. Download page
Multiplex_QA NISTMultiplex QA, Excel-based software works in conjunction with the NIH-developed BatchExtract system to help users visualize short- and long-term changes in ABI 310 and 3100 electropherogram quality. BatchExtract converts ABI binary .fsa files into readily usable text data. Multiplex QA then uses these files to estimate and display quality metrics that capture changes in electropherographic resolution and efficiency. Free and available to all users. Download Multiplex QA (zip)

Download page for BatchExtract
mixSTR: Software to Help Identify Reference Profiles NIST and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office mixSTR is an Excel-based tool that can help identify reference profiles in sets of mixed-source samples. Given allele lists for one or more evidentiary samples and all relevant suspect and control reference profiles, mixSTR provides detailed lists of the match and mismatch alleles among all samples and STR profiles. Sorted summaries of the percent of included alleles and loci for all comparisons are also provided. This tool is intended for use by forensic scientists working with mixed-source samples, particularly cases involving a number of suspects. Free and available to all users. Download (zip)
STR_ConvertFormats Software NISTSTR ConvertFormats is an Excel-based tool developed to transform STR typing data from tables where every row contains information from a single locus (e.g., GeneMapperID output format) to a format where every row contains all typing results for a single sample (e.g., Genotyper table format). Free and available to all users. Download (xls) (must enable Excel macros)
STR_MatchSamples NISTSTR MatchSamples is an Excel-based tool developed to aid comparison of STR genotypes from two or more data sets. The Exact Match function creates a list of all samples that are fully concordant at all loci between the samples being compared. The Best Match function compares each sample to all others to look for other samples in the data set with similar genotypes. Free and available to all users. Download (xls) (must enable Excel macros)
Virtual Mixture Maker NISTVirtual Mixture Maker is an Excel-based tool developed to aid in sample selection for the NIST Mixture Interpretation Study (MIX05). This program performs a pairwise comparison of STR profiles in a dataset and reports the number of loci possessing zero to six alleles in all possible two-person mixtures. Free and available to all users. Download (xls)
Forensic Information Management
Forensic Information Data Exchange (FIDEX) National Forensic Science Technology CenterThe Forensic Information Data Exchange system consists of the a portal and two standardized sets of Information Exchange Package Documents, one for submitting forensic cases to the crime laboratory and one for tracking the disposition of court cases for which forensic evidence has been submitted. By electronically determining the real-time status of court cases, crime laboratories can reduce their backlogs by identifying cases that have been dismissed or plea bargained in the courts and no longer need analysis.

Will run on Windows, Mac and Unix operating systems.
Free and available to all users. Download page and documentation
Forensic Anthropology/Medicolegal Death Investigation
3D-ID: Geometric Morphometric Classification of Crania for Forensic Scientists Florida State University

North Carolina State University
3D-ID is a Java program that provides geometric morphometric tools to aid in the assessment of the sex and ancestral affiliation of unknown cranial remains. When users provide 3D-ID with the three-dimensional coordinates of anatomical points available from the subject, the program constructs comparable reference samples and assigns the subject to one of several groups for which sufficient data are available.

Works with any platform supporting Java.
Free and open to all users. Download page
Forensic Toolmarks
Ballistics Toolmark Research Database National Institute of Standards and TechnologyThe Forensic Toolmark Free but available for non-commercial research use only and registration is required. Access the database
Law enforcement investigation
368+ Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Guide for CA Law EnforcementCenter of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect, University of California, IrvineOne in ten older Americans experiences abuse or neglect each year. The number of abuse reports are growing at the same time that resources for agency responses are shrinking. To help California law enforcement in this critical work, here is a mobile app "cheat sheet" for responding to abuse of elders and dependent adults (vulnerable adults with disabilities).
- This app was not sponsored by NIJ but does present NIJ-funded research.
- Some parts of the app are specific to California law.

Available for Droid devices, iPhones/iPads and mobile web.
Free for a limited time and available to all users. iPad/iPod


Mobile Web
Mapping and Analysis
PROVE UtilityTemple UniversityThe PROVE utility provides a free tool for police departments to make geographic forecasts of crime risk. The utility was created by a team of researchers from Temple University’s Center for Security and Crime Science and developers from Azavea, the parent company of HunchLab.Free and available to all uses. Download page
crimelinkage: Statistical Methods for Crime Series LinkageDigitalGlobe Intelligence Solutions, IncThe crimelinkage package is a set of tools to help crime analysts and researchers with tasks related to crime linkage. This package specifically includes methods for criminal case linkage, crime series identification and clustering, and suspect identification.Free and available to all users. Download page
CrimeStat (4.1)Ned Lavine & AssociatesCrimeStat is a spatial statistical program used to analyze the locations of crime incidents and identify hot spots. This program includes features to identify and analyze hot spots, plot crime incidents on a map, view crime concentrations over a large area, track offender behavior over time, estimate a serial offender's residence, and study routes for high-speed chases.

Available for Windows operating system.
Free and available to all users. Download page
ACS AlchemistAzavea

Center for Security and Crime Science at Temple University
ACS Alchemist is an open source tool that enables the extraction of up to 100 variables from the American Community Survey. The data is extracted directly into a format convenient for display on maps or for use in advanced spatial analysis and modeling.

Available for Windows operating system.
Free and available to all users. Download page
Near-Repeat Calculator
Temple UniversityNear-Repeat Calculator, which originates with the discovery of the near-repeat phenomenon in burglary patterns, calculates the risk of near repeat events in crime data. The near-repeat phenomenon states that if a location is the target of a crime, such as burglary, then homes within a relatively short distance have an increased chance of being burgled for a limited period of time.

Available for Windows operating system.
Free and available to all users. Download page
SPIDER Crime Series Analysis SoftwareSouth Carolina Research Authority

Eastern Kentucky University
SPIDER is a spatial statistics program for the tactical crime analysis of linked crime incident locations. The program is Windows-based and interfaces with most desktop GIS programs. The purpose is to provide spatial and temporal analysis support to law enforcement agencies investigating a series of linked crimes.

Available for Windows operating system.
Free and available to all users. Download page
Python Spatial Analysis Library (pysal)GeoDa Center, Arizona State UniversityPySAL is an open source, cross-platform library of spatial analysis functions written in Python. It is intended to support the development of high-level applications for spatial analysis.

Available for Windows, Mac and Unix operating systems.
Free and available to all users. Download page
OpenGeoDaGeoDa Center, Arizona State UniversityOpenGeoDa is a collection of software tools designed to implement techniques for exploratory spatial data analysis on lattice data. It is intended to provide a user-friendly and graphical interface to methods of descriptive spatial data analysis, such as autocorrelation statistics and indicators of spatial outliers.

Available for Windows, Mac and Unix operating systems.
Free and available to all users. Download page
GeoDaSpaceGeoDa Center, Arizona State UniversityGeoDaSpace performs advanced spatial modeling of crimes.

Available for Windows operating system.
Free and available to all users. Download page
GeoDaNetGeoDa Center, Arizona State UniversityGeoDaNet is software that performs spatial analysis of crimes on street networks. Read the GeoDaNet manual.

Available for Windows and Mac operating systems.
Free and available to all users. Download page
Missing Persons
National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) National Forensic Science Technology Center

Occupational Research Associates
NamUs is an online, national centralized repository and resource center for missing persons and unidentified decedent records. NamUs can be searched by medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officials and the general public from all over the country in hopes of resolving these cases. Free, but some sections are available only to public safety personnel.Access database
School Safety
NLECTCThis app takes you step-by-step through the building and school grounds to identify and address trouble spots. Conduct a physical assessment of your campus by walking around and answering a series of simple questions using your hand-held device. 
The app is FREE, but is limited to qualified school safety resource officers and school administrators. Learn how to access the app.
Date modified: January 2, 2018