National murder database by students from Saxion nominated for Award

Around 150 murders take place in the Netherlands every year, on average. Project Coldcase Solved & Unsolved was launched to make investigative research into crimes such as murder, manslaughter and cold cases more effective and efficient. Jaap Knotter, Advanced Forensic Technology lecturer at Saxion University of Applied Sciences, explains: “What we do is a combination of innovation and IT Technology”.

In short

  • Around 150 murders take place in the Netherlands every year, on average. 
  • Saxion’s Coldcase Solved & Unsolved project was launched to make investigative research into crimes such as murder, manslaughter and cold cases more effective and efficient. 
  • The project was nominated for the Computable Awards

Global Goal

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Jaap Knotter worked in Enschede as a policeman for many years. He left the police force to teach and investigate at the police academy. The idea of the murder database was based on a terrorism database. “Cold cases have already been investigated for a long time in America, and many scientists research them. That should also be possible in the Netherlands”, Kotter thought. But after three years of trying to create such a database through various organisations, he thought: “I suppose we have to do it ourselves!” 


Investigations into crimes such as murder, manslaughter and cold cases cost a great deal of time, capacity and money. The pressure on executive police officers is also extremely high. That is why it is incredibly relevant to make investigations into these kinds of crimes as effective and efficient as possible. Not only because of money, time and capacity, but also from a social point of view. It reduces social unrest and feelings of insecurity, and it is also crucial for the next of kin that an offender is quickly convicted. “Murder investigations can sometimes take up to a year, now. The database we have developed should speed these up”, says Jaap Knotter.

Murder database

Jaap Knotter is working on the murder database, together with students from Saxion, the University of Twente, the police academy and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. He works with students from the Forensic Research department but also with students from the mechanical engineering and nanotechnology departments and various electro-technicians. 


The murder database will give detectives more direction in the future. “A detective will form different scenarios in their head, but investigating all of them is way too much work. Entering data that they already have into the database will give them a direction in which they should look. This saves a lot of time and work. The database can discover patterns, which will help with solving both cold cases and new murders.”

Nominated for the Computable Award

This innovative murder database has been nominated for the Computable Award. Jury members are praising the cooperation between the various partners mostly. After all, the database was not just set up by Saxion and students from multiple knowledge institutions; many different companies are also affiliated with this project. “Cooperation between education and the business community provides a lot of practical experience and knowledge. It is precisely this combination that makes this initiative very interesting for students”, is what the jury wrote in their report. 


“Together with our partners, we are looking at other countries to make our society safer and provide the next of kin with answers to their questions. Several next of kin have already indicated that they are happy with the attention of this project. It can provide us with new insights, and it creates opportunities for re-opening a case.”


Every year, the Computable Awards are presented to IT projects that are successful, innovative, extensive and responsible. Coldcase Research Project Solved & Unsolved made it to the final five in the Education Project category. Click here to vote for this project.

Date: 13 October 2020 |

Source of tekst: Saxion University of applied sciences |