High Tech Crimes

By playing a simple game of word association, if one were casually asked to describe their vision of a criminal, most would very likely conjure up the image of a character from a gangster film or one of the most infamous criminals of American history, such as the notorious Charles Manson as a classic criminal or the BTK Killer as a modern one, as well as a wide assortment of evil looking drug dealers, drug addicts and the like. However, a more insidious criminal element has emerged in the United States, and elsewhere as technology has evolved over the past several decades- what one might call the “high-tech” criminal.

These individuals, or even gangs of individuals, do not use a gun or knife to commit their crime; actually, in many cases, they never leave the comfort of home. This paper will discuss the high-tech crimes that these criminal offenders commit, how these crimes have come to be, as well as many aspects of the efforts of law enforcement to fight high-tech crime and enforce laws passed against it. Upon completion of this research, the many aspects of the commission of and battle against high-tech crime will be revealed.

The Kinds of High-Tech Crimes Being Committed in America Today In so many instances, the term high-tech crime is used with so much frequency, that people do not take the time to really understand what kinds of high-tech crimes are being committed in America today, which makes the job of fighting high-tech crime all the more difficult for law enforcement personnel, since potential victims do not have the information that they need to protect themselves adequately.

Most people can quickly talk about commonly known high-tech crimes like identity theft and the intentional spreading of computer viruses, in an age when America finds itself in the fight of a generation against the specter of domestic terrorism and even its own citizens behaving in the most depraved of ways, high-tech crimes that are little known by the average person, but as fatal as the worst form of street crime, exist in the US today. While it would take many more pages than this research contains to even begin to list them all, some of the worst which were found in research include the following (Ronczkowski, 2004).

Cyber-Trafficking-  The ability of anyone with even basic computer skills to become adept at using the Internet in no time at all makes the World Wide Web an attractive tool for the trading and selling of all types of contraband, ranging from illegal drugs to pornography, hate group literature, and even the arrangement of the trafficking of human beings for illicit purposes. Police Imitation- High quality computer equipment and printers that are available to anyone who can purchase (or steal) them makes it possible for anyone to create false documentation, passing themselves off as law enforcement personnel.

This documentation can then be used to purchase police equipment/uniforms, firearms and much more. In this way, a terrorist group can get everything they need to cause chaos in America, all thanks to the computer age. Counterfeiting-  Duplication technology for CDs, DVDs, computer software and more allows crafty criminals to make millions of illegal copies of copyrighted materials and resell them for cash on the streets of virtually every city in America. Once again, it does not require a high level of technical proficiency to be able to do this in almost no time flat.

Electromagnetic Pulses-  Admittedly, the use of electromagnetic pulsation technology is a bit out of reach of the average high-tech criminal, it does exist and can be used in widespread terrorism activities. These electronic emissions of high and low frequency pulses can deafen, blind, incapacitate, and even kill individuals, depending on the range and strength of the signal. By using just these few examples, one can see that high-tech crime is taking on more diverse dimensions all of the time, and will continue to evolve as does technology and the deviance of the criminals themselves.