It is among the most notoriously difficult crimes to solve — the home break-in. There are seldom witnesses. Burglars tend to work stealthily, either under the cover of darkness or when their victims are away from home, at work or on vacation. On average, police solve no more than 13 percent of residential burglaries, according to national figures.
But two Cambridge police crime analysts and an MIT professor and doctoral student believe a computer system they developed that mathematically analyzes these crimes could be the key to solving more of them.