A glimpse of the (hopefully near-term) future: KeyCrime

redatto dall’ Ufficio Stampa Keycrime

Hand in hand with the development of increasingly advanced computational technologies, capable of processing an ever-increasing amount of data, predictive analysis has gradually established itself as one of the most interesting opportunities offered in the field of Big Data Analysis. Predictive analysis has been used for some time in many different fields: medicine, mechanics, marketing, finance and so on. In recent years, and with specific analytical approaches, the Public Safety sector has been added to this list.

An article by Cesare Parodi and Valentina Sellaroli, published in Contemporary Criminal Law (6/2019), illustrates the possibilities and legal implications of this approach. In fact, predictive software has been used for some time in various cities around the world. Each has its own unique characteristics, but prior to KeyCrime’s delia® suite, they were all united by a common approach: the focus on a purely statistical analysis, aimed at indicating the place and time in which a crime may occur.

The term “predictive policing” emerged from this statistics-based approach but the Made-in-Italy example is worth a special mention. Over the course of its ten-year field trial in Milan, it as produced significant results that have aroused interest and curiosity, both in the media and in police forces worldwide.

KeyCrime delia® suite is a software package that revolutionizes the concept of predictive policing, applying an innovative approach which is better defined as “predictive crime analysis”.

A new analytical philosophy which, rather than focusing on the search for hotspots (“hot spots”, in which a crime is statistically more likely), aims to predict where, when and, above all, how the specific criminal will strike. Predictive crime analysis focuses on a scrupulous analysis of the many elements that characterize the individual criminal events and aims to recognize and suggest which crimes were committed by the same individual or group to investigators. The relevant data applied in delia(r)’s analysis are mostly related to the characteristics of the perpetrator of the crime. For example the propensity to use weapons, the presence of accomplices, if he is left-handed or right-handed, if they tend to be violent or whether they have specific physical or behavioral peculiarities that are relevant in the identification process.

During the daily usage of the software by the Italian State Police in the Milan area, the software has helped them to achieve significant results in the field of crime prevention and repression – in particular in the context of one of the most frequent serial violent crimes, robbery. Establishing a link between the crimes committed and a specific perpetrator is what makes it possible to detect a crime series. Thanks to the identification and interpretation of this series, the software is able to help officers identify future criminal acts before they occur. As indicated by research conducted by Dr. Giovanni Mastrobuoni for Essex University (UK), the longer the series, the better the forecasting capacity. For more details on the scientific approach underlying predictivity and the KeyCrime experience, please note this article by Roberto Pelliccia, published in CyberLaws.

This innovative formula of Crime Data Management and Crime Analysis has been shown to be capable of providing insight on the ways in which the criminal act will be carried out, as well as guaranteeing new levels of safety for both officers and citizens. It also brings observable benefits police officers because each response to a crime in progress brings with it a series of unknowns and risks and the KeyCrime approach focuses on reducing these unknown quantities as much as possible.

KeyCrime, by analyzing the recurring characteristics between the various crimes in the same criminal series, or that were committed by the same perpetrator aims to recognize in advance, with high probability, specific elements – such as the more or less violence-prone nature of perpetrator of the crime, the possible presence of weapons, accomplices (and more). Knowing them in advance provides an essential and strategic advantage to agents, allowing them to prepare themselves and thus minimize the risks for themselves and for others who may be involved.

Those with the greatest stake in these areas, primarily government, should devote future efforts and investments to investigate the considerable opportunities offered by this crime prevention tool which, when more broadly used, has the potential to offer many benefits for all concerned.