The growth of the usage of the internet in the 21st century has revolutionized the process of solving crimes especially those that involve sophisticated processes. These involves the usage of computer networks and systems to track and process information regarding criminal activities (Taylor and Ethel 17. As a result, major crime detection departments in various countries have invested heavily in computer and computer networks to aid in crime detection. In this analysis, we shall examine the various ways in which the internet has facilitated the process of crime detection and solving of such crimes. Generally, the main usage of the internet to solve crimes shall be analyzed using various perspectives such as evidence collection, information processing as well as proactive strategies to preventing crime. The analysis will mostly focus on those aspects of crimes that the traditional crime detection could not solve that have been facilitated by the internet with growing technologies. In order to offer a comprehensive analysis on the usage of internet to solve crimes, we shall review some of the traditional practices of crime detection and their various shortcomings.
The first and most significant usage of the internet to solve crimes is facilitation of proactive investigations. Proactive investigations involve various computer-aided processes that deals with a particular crime prior to its occurrence (Bain, Bryan and 268). This process involves the use of innovative and novel programming by criminal departments to tap and process ambiguous information that is sent via networks by criminals. Once the information is acquired and processed, it is disseminated via computer networks and departmental intranets to other law enforcement officers who then take the required action before it victimizes the subjects. The use of programming to solve crimes is superior to the traditional crime detection which was basically reactive towards a crime incident. Consequently, it is acknowledged as a better method to crime prevention in the 21st century especially in the developed countries such as the United States. In addition, online communications that connect the public and the criminal investigation departments have facilitated better crime response mechanisms. For instance, the use of self-policing via specially designed internet auction sites have enabled the crime detection departments to solicit information form the public that has aided the process of crime investigation.
Another major use of the internet to solve crimes is through facilitation of symbolic investigations (Bain, Bryan and Jim 271). The use of symbolic investigations such as mug shot showing and fingerprint dusting has enabled crime investigators to detect offense perpetrators. This involves the use of computer media produced images to contribute to the process of crime investigation. When the fingerprints are processed via the computer, comparisons are made to the fingerprints of the crime suspects to enable the investigators draw connections on the persons who committed a particular crime. This is due to the uniqueness of different individual fingerprints and thus once this information is processed, it can be transmitted via the internet to other criminal departments to aid in the process of criminal investigation and persecution of suspects. The use of symbolic investigation is more objective since it does not rely on biased individual judgments which characterized traditional crime detection methods.
In many countries such as the United States, online platforms such as Facebook and twitter have become an important source of information for the criminal investigators (Kerr 49). Before the online media were launched, the tradition crime detection systems used a physical search that in most instances proved ineffective in arresting the crime perpetrators. With the advent of the internet through online communication channels such as Facebook and twitter, criminal detectives can process information on a suspect account and get information that can help in further investigations and prosecution. For example between 2007 and 2010, police reports in London showed that crime detections via the use of Facebook had risen to over 540 percent. In another incident in India, a man was arrested while attempting to use Facebook to trade his grandson. This was after an analysis of his private messages on Facebook account which were left unsecured. The use of Facebook to solve crimes does not only involve the process of monitoring. The crime detectives and investigators interact with the suspects requesting to include them in their friends list. Once they detect ambiguous information on their social sites, the investigators can befriend them through similar chats to discover more about the activities of the suspect. Upon gathering adequate information form the suspect, the criminal investigators can take an initiative to track and arrest the suspects.
Apart from Facebook, twitter accounts have provided an important source of information for persecuting crimes. For example, following an attack of a police officer in London, the police unit involved in carrying an investigation of the incident, used computer software to analyze the mass responses over the case which provided tips in the process investigation (Kerr 53). Consequently, police departments have opened twitter accounts and Facebook pages for certain departments to aid in crime detection and evident analysis. In other instances, the police are using Instagram accounts to grasp information from the public to solve crimes.
Credit bureaus through private investigation departments have also embarked on the social media to confirm identities of the suspects of financial fraud (Kerr 71). The widely used sites by the private crime detectives include LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. For example, the LinkedIn accounts provide information pertaining the suspects’ professionalism and other information that can provide a background in crime investigation. The credit bureaus efforts involves actions such as analysis of the grammar of persons on social media to establish whether their native languages and relate it to a particular crime.
To conclude, the paper has analyzed the main ways in which the internet has facilitated the process of crime detection and persecution of suspects. In relation to the analysis, the internet has enabled the criminal investigation departments to adopt proactive measures to crime detection. These involve the use of innovative programming to tap and process information sent via networks form various locations of the crime suspects. Also, the use of online and social media sites such as Facebook and twitter has enable the crime detectives to tap online communications such as messages, chats and posts to prevent crime. The use of specific twitter accounts have enabled the criminal investigation departments to solicit important information from the public that aids in the process of crime detection and persecution of suspects. Other uses of the internet to solve crimes involve the processing and dissemination of images form crime scenes to other criminal departments to aid in investigations of crime. Thus, the internet provides an invaluable source of information, facilitates information processing and monitoring which facilitates the overall crime detection and other information connected with a crime.
Bain, Andy, Bryan K. Robinson, and Jim Conser. “Perceptions of policing: improving communication in local communities.” International Journal of Police Science & Management 16.4 (2014): 267-276.
Kerr, Orin S. “Lifting the’ Fog’ of Internet Surveillance: How a Suppression Remedy Would Change Computer Crime Law.” Hastings Law Journal (2003).
Taylor, Maxwell, and Ethel Quayle. Child pornography: An internet crime. Psychology Press, 2003.