A rank-and-file officer in the Milan Police Department created a computer program called KeyCrime that has revolutionised how the city catches robbers. When Mario Venturi was assigned to the property division in 2004, his team worked without the help of computers. Venturi thought there was a better way and enlisted the help of some programmer friends to design an algorithm to automate investigation. He convinced his bosses to put the software into action in 2008. Since the Milan Police Department started using KeyCrime, the number of robberies in the city has fallen by 51 percent while the rate of solved cased increased to 60 percent.
Milan and its province an area of 1,500 square kilometers inhabited by almost 4 million people. Confused among these citizens who hurry to the workplace, the perpetrators of the more than 2000 robberies carried out every year also wander undisturbed. Covered face and gun in hand, the criminals carry out from 5 to 6 robberies a day against supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and shops in general. Police footage highlights the speed with which criminals take possession of the loot and then vanish into thin air. 75 percent of robberies remain unsolved. When the wheel arrives on the spot, the criminals have long since disappeared and the agents have no choice but to collect the witnesses’ accounts and draw up the minutes. Recently, however, something has changed.