QlikView Looks Inside the Criminal Mind
February 22, 2011 Alex Woodie
People were understandably impressed with the display of knowledge that IBM‘s Watson put on during last week’s Jeopardy! TV show. But compared to the real-life work that QlikTech is doing with its technology–namely, helping Swedish police to track down and convict a serial shooter–Watson appears an expensive demonstration of fun and games.
Last week, QlikTech announced that Swedish investigators have been using its in-memory reporting tool, called QlikView, to gain a deeper understanding of the circumstances surrounding a string of 15 public shootings in the city of Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city. Somebody had been shooting immigrants as they stood at bus stops, sat in cars, or moved around indoors. The shooter, who was dubbed the “laser man” because he sometimes used a laser sight on the gun, killed one person, and wounded several more.
Investigators decided to try using QlikView to find patterns in existing police reports that could give them a lead into the current killings. The Malmö police department loaded 10 years’ worth of crime reports, which consisted of two million reports and two billion rows of data, into an existing QlikView application. Loading the data took three hours. After that, police analysts were able to start querying the dataset through QlikView.
QlikTech says its software was instrumental in helping the Malmö police department identify a suspect, John Ausonius, who was arrested in November, convicted of shooting at immigrants, and is currently serving a life sentence in a Swedish prison, according to an Associated Press story.
Without QlikView, it would have taken investigators much longer to pore through the old crime reports, and would have required a lot more manpower. It’s estimated that it would have taken one person 43 years to go through all of the reports.
“QlikView has been a labor-saving tool for the police,” Malmö police analyst Berth Simonsson said, according to QlikTech. “Police analysts ask questions and QlikView delivers answers instantly. Instead of 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.”
Watson’s appearance on the television game show was indisputably a tour de force, and an excellent example of what technology may be able to do for us in the future. But the QlikView case shows us how technology is improving our lives right now. Which do you think is more important?