Xanalys products form part of an integrated suite to enable investigative management and analysis of data.
The Investigation Software Company
Byte Out of Crime
It’s called PowerCase and it’s already helped solve one of Toronto’s most famous crimes.
The new computer system Queen’s Park has now made mandatory for police forces throughout Ontario helped bring Holly Jones’ killer to justice.
It’s made by Xanalys, a Massachusetts company that spent years coming up with a tool that could take all the subtle clues from a crime scene and help detectives see some common bonds among a chaotic picture.
“Traditionally you’d have a law enforcement officer that’s pursuing a case and they’re collecting their information in regard to this crime scene, and they’ve written everything down on their note pad, they come back and they start filling up a box with their notes,” the company’s Cory Brown tells Pulse24.com.
“And what becomes difficult is when you want to start doing something with that data that you’ve compiled … and you’re thinking, did I come across that name once before or not?’ You may end up forgetting about it. Because there’s no way you’re going to be able to retain all the information that you’re capturing, if you’re doing it in a manual paper format.”
Instead, the software will take all those subtle clues and combine it to lead police in a direction they may not have thought about.
It lets them search for similar sounding names, clues, places and homonyms that can be the difference between finding a killer and missing the obvious.
That’s what happened in the Jones case. “There was something recovered from the river,” recalls spokesman John Fitzsimmons. “They interviewed about 300 people. And there were about 15 or 20 officers canvassing the neighbourhood …
“All the information was inputed to the software. And it allowed them go from a suspect list of 75 people who were potentially in the neighbourhood … and they narrowed it down to the folks who were the most likely targets.
“Three people mentioned the name of someone, and they spelled it differently in each lead. And they eventually came down to say … let’s go find this person, and they went around and they found him shortly afterwards.”
Michael Briere has since confessed to the crime and is serving a life sentence.
PowerCase is also being used by the Illinois State Police, and the company hopes to sell it to Vancouver’s force, pending the fallout from the Robert Picton serial murder case.
They believe if their software had been on the case, the patterns that led to more than 50 prostitutes disappearing in the area would have been noticed sooner.
“It’s easy to get into tunnel vision when someone meets one of the descriptions in a tip,” explains Brown. “And you basically wind up excluding information that could be very relevant …
“And so PowerCase becomes an equalizer in making sure it’s easier to capture all the information.
“It’s called Link Analysis. It’s a term that allows you to paint a picture on your screen. So having this to visualize this information also gives you that ability to get a different look at the case.”
And as of January 1st in Ontario, that picture is a lot clearer.
- Building an evidence-based approach to I.P. investigations
- Xanalys team with UCLAN’s Criminal Investigation MSc
- Xanalys will be exhibiting at the TSI Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference and Exhibition 2013
- PowerCase ‘pop-up’ Incident Room
- Xanalys will be exhibiting at the International Crime and Intelligence Analysis Conference – Dec 2012