Over a period of a 12 months, the city of Malmö in southern Sweden was the roving ground of a notorious serial killer that targeted foreigners. Times and locations of the shootings seemed sporadic and random, and Malmö Police had trouble tracking down the offender.
That's until they implemented Qliktech's QlikView to help them with the high-profile case.
QlikTech, a provider of user-driven business intelligence, has been working with Malmö police since 1993, however, with the introduction of QlikTech's QlikView for use on criminal cases, the force was able to quickly analyse huge amounts of data and reports which led to the capture of the serial killer.
Evidence which would normally have taken police months to sift through was analysed in a matter of days, even hours. QlikView gave Malmö police the ability to search through millions of records and predict where and when shootings would take place, using calculations determined by eyewitness accounts, interrogations and previous incidents.
Ola Hornemark, a strategic developer at Malmö Police, told me:
"The Police Force in Malmö and QlikTech go way back to 1993, it was a real small company back then, and we used it to process a lot of text data and reports."
"However, in 2009 we had a lot of shootings in Malmö. The seemed random. We employed QlikView on all written reports by the police and eyewitnesses, and we put all the data and location information onto the databases and processed them together and found patterns about where the shootings were going to take place. From there we got a list together very quickly of suspects, and from that we managed to zoom in very closely to [the shooter] Peter Mangs."
"Speed is of essence in any police investigation," says police analyst Berth Simonsson.
"QlikView has been a labour-saving tool. Police analysts ask questions and QlikView delivers answers instantly. Rather than going through the reports manually, we have been able to go through lots of information quickly to find the link that otherwise would have been hard to detect."
Ola says the data was inputted in a matter of hours.
"The whole operation lasted two or three days, it was very quick. We had a list of possible shooters within the hour. The process was very labour saving, if we had not used Qlikview it would have taken months to carry out the same process."
Without QlikView, police analysts would have had to read every crime report manually to search for clues that might lead them to a suspect.
"It saves a lot of money and time. To other companies who might be interested in using it, the main thing is that it's really easy to use. The real winner for the police here is that it's so simple. Hardly no training is needed, people can start using it in minutes - that save a lot of money."
Furthermore, the police force has built a number of apps using QlikView to analyse communication behaviours, using data from phone masts. Regarding criminal behaviour, they track phone call activity before the actual crime is committed and very shortly after. Skåne police use QlikView to focus on the actual analysis instead of searching for information. By analysing crime statistics along with lots of other information, such as weather, day of week, and large events, the police have created models to predict crime.
"We have about 140 apps with QlikTech, for different uses, from HR to cops using it on the street. In the future we will implement QlikView with maps and the mapping of crime locations into the police cars. We will then even be able to prevent a crime before it happens."
Now that the police analysts have experienced the power of QlikView for solving crimes, they are planning to use it more broadly. The department checks about 10,000 people every year in Skåne and they can use QlikView to analyze who has been checked and when. Applications for car theft and street crimes like assaults are in the plan and the department has goals of using QlikView to reduce crimes in specific areas.
Devon and Cornwall Police Force in the UK has become one of the latest QlikView users. The force covers the largest geographical police area in the UK, and is using QlikView to improve resource allocation and offer better support for intelligence-led policing.
"The good thing about QlikView is that data warehousing became altogether unnecessary for performance management reporting. Now we're expanding its use to across all the Force business areas," says Dr Richard Bullock who is an analysis manager at Devon and Cornwall Police
QlikTech recently announced a new version of QlikView, with eyes for more expansion onto handheld devices and Android.