BAIR Analytics, Inc. developed a crime fighting application known as Automated Tactical Analysis of Crime (ATAC), and with the help of ComponentOne Studio ActiveX components, the software allows law enforcement officials to identify, analyze and solve criminal activity. Previously analysts or investigators typically read every police report and attempted to match crimes on series of similarities via memory. In a typical department, this process could take 1-2 hours of reading per day. Once a series of similarities is identified it takes an additional 4-8 hours of analysis. With ATAC analysts are able to reduce the search time to minutes and the analysis to seconds.
- Reduced police report search time to minutes and analysis time to seconds
- Write, save, and restore queries
- Detailed and extensive reporting with the ability to export files in a variety of formats
Search and Analysis Time Reduced
Bair Software developed a crime fighting application known as Automated Tactical Analysis of Crime (ATAC), and with the help of ComponentOne Studio ActiveX components, the software allows law enforcement officials to identify, analyze and solve criminal activity. Previously analysts or investigators typically read every police report and attempted to match crimes on series of similarities via memory. In a typical department, this process could take 1-2 hours of reading per day. Once a series of similarities is identified it takes an additional 4-8 hours of analysis. With ATAC analysts are able to reduce the search time to minutes and the analysis to seconds.
This solution is the only one of its kind that exists to this day. ATAC performs the function of Tactical Crime Analysis by identifying crime series in data, developing lists of individuals who may be suspect, or forecasting the next date and time a crime might occur.
Programming Case Analysis
ATAC was developed around the Tactical Crime Analysis process. Bair Software attempted to replicate the thinking of an analyst in an effort to figure out how to identify trends. The analytical methods programmed were based on standard statistical techniques – ANOVA, Regression, frequency, Chi-Square, and other forecasting methods. Other crime analysis techniques were also incorporated that previously did not exist elsewhere. These techniques included temporal topologies, tempo analysis, mean interval, weighted method, equal opportunity, plus more. It was deployed using InstallShield Express and tested in-house against known data sets and known possible data issues.
ATAC uses advanced statistics and algorithms as well as practical and easy searching mechanisms to enable police agencies to mine through vast amounts of data effectively and efficiently. Data mining and visualization techniques such as color cuing are used by analysts and allow them to pick out commonalities and identify patterns between crimes and thus, identify a series of criminal activities. They also analyze the series using all conceivable time analysis techniques available to predict when criminals will strike next. ATAC has an artificial neural network that finds patterns in data so that the analyst can allow the program to do the hard work and allow analysts to actually analyze the data. It has proven to make a direct contribution to the law enforcement. As testimony, Bair Software has received several emails from agencies stating that they would not have been able to find criminals or predict cases without the tools in ATAC. Additionally, the program has saved analysts time while conducting their analysis of criminal activity.
The challenges Bair Software faced with developing ATAC consist of trying to keep up with the demand of this product while striving to improve its crime fighting features. As a result, their deep desire to support public safety and help law enforcement motivates them to donate their time and expertise to this cause. They are about to release the next major version, adding features to ATAC that enable it to be more of a crime analysis program than a tactical crime analysis program. This will provide a broad appeal to crime analysis in general and will satisfy analytical needs of departments (i.e. resource allocation and acquisition) that are not necessarily related to catching criminals.
Visual Basic technology, operating systems and ComponentOne products were used to create the new version of this application, which took approximately 6 months to create. While creating the new solution, Bair Software used Microsoft Visual Basic Professional 6.0 and Microsoft Access as a common database; prior to this they utilized Microsoft Visual Basic Pro 3.0. The database size supports several hundred records, and up to 500,000 - 1,000,000 cases. Microsoft Windows operating systems that run this solution include XP Professional, .NET Server, 2000 Professional, 2000 Server, and NT 4.0.
Additionally, the following ComponentOne products included in ComponentOne Studio ActiveX Edition were used:
- SizerOne: This sizing component handles resizing layouts of almost every form as well as organizing tabs. SizerOne is an integral part of the interface.
- True DBGrid Pro: Used throughout the application, this grid component offered layouts, color cuing, a filter bar, form/grid views, export functions, group by features, plus more.
- Query: Bair Software built a module around all its functions. Users are able to write the queries and then save/restore them.
- VSSPELL: This component offers spell checking of police narrative.
- VSVIEW Classic: Bair Software wrote a reporting module, offering approximately 20 reports where users can add more detail to the XML report and then print via PDF, or export these documents. They also use the interface to display data as opposed to text boxes or rtf boxes as the appearance is much more aesthetic and provides for easier export.
- VSVIEW Reporting: This extensive reporting module provides for suspect photo line-ups, tabular reports, an exhaustive COMPSTAT report, and detailed temporal analysis reports. All these reports are easily exported to RTF, HTML or PDF for ease of sharing between law enforcement agencies or immediate release to a department intranet or Internet Web site. ATAC contains dozens of predefined XML reports all configurable to meet the agency’s internal formats.
- Chart: The chart control is used in the statistics module as well as to display all temporal results graphically.
Quality Controls for a Quality Application
Bair Software selected GrapeCity's ComponentOne Studio products because of their long history of quality software and services. ComponentOne Studio ActiveX Edition components enabled Bair Analytics to rapidly develop and deploy their ATAC application, and provide more functionality to their customers, as the learning curve for these tools were minimal. The entire application is built around the True DBGrid Pro functionality that of which is not available in other competing products.
Hundreds to thousands of users use ATAC. Users constitute an agency, which consist of several users whom are located in a police department. Bair Software has approximately 90 plus agencies using ATAC including government agencies, police agencies, academic institutions, and is even being used in conjunction with university curriculum.
Overall, analysts using ATAC have been very successful with analyzing 10 times the number of series than with traditional means. ATAC is a valuable application that has increased productivity for law enforcement officials enabling them to catch criminals and increase public safety, all while lowering costs.
My ultimate goal as a Crime Analyst and Police Officer was to improve public safety and resolve criminal activity in a quick manner by developing and providing a solution to law enforcement agencies, as well as training and consulting services. I developed ATAC with ComponentOne [Studio] components out of a need to automate the criminal activity research process, allowing analysts to find, analyze, and resolve criminal activity. We have received testimonials from agencies stating that they predicted when a crime would occur, prevented a crime, or caught the suspect. We could not have written ATAC without ComponentOne [Studio] components.
—Sean Bair, President, BAIR Analytics
About BAIR Analytics, Inc.
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