Carabinieri – Stolen works of art

Combating the theft and concealment of works of art

The Italian Carabinieri are the world’s leading governmental entity in terms of the fight against theft and concealment of works of art belonging to the cultural heritage. 

Indeed, Italy owns an extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage, which is subject to numerous robberies, and has been tackling the problem since 1969 by creating the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, also known as the TPC. This special unit dedicated to the fight against trafficking is today made up of more than 300 police officers spread over fifteen cities who intervene on the whole Italian national territory.

For greater efficiency, the agents are even given training in the art market and can even take specific courses in archeology and art.

Since the 1980s, the TCP has created and enriched a data bank of stolen works of art, fed by owners and insurance companies. Today this database contains almost 1,300,000 entries, each one corresponding to a wanted object. It also contains more than 800,000 images and 8 million descriptions of objects.

Performance indicators

800 000 images
Value of 33 million
euros saved
1.8 million works
of art
+300 police officers

The use of computer vision technologies 

To speed up their investigative work, the Italian Carabinieri have been looking for an image and object processing technology brick to integrate into their product environment.   

Because each art object is unique, the organization needs technologies such as LTU’s unique signature visual recognition to facilitate investigative work, and to quickly search within its database to compare it to a recovered work and find the associated case. 

Based on LTU’s unique signature know-how in visual recognition available in OnPremise license, the carabinieri can recognize one or more images or objects, with immediate speed and a high level of reliability, without requiring supervised deep learning models.

An example in the results 

Close collaboration with Interpol and Europole has made this an example in the results obtained in recent years.  Since the creation of the TPC, more than 1,8 million works of art have been recovered. In 2020, the TPC found nearly 484 thousand objects with a supposed value of over 33 million euros. The TPC also conducted more than 34  thousand searches in 2020 and made arrests of 5 people.

 

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