Police and the Courts

Law enforcement and the courts have not taken the boom in high-tech crime in stride; rather, they too have begun to utilize cutting-edge methods and equipment to try to prevent crime, apprehend offenders, and make sure that they are brought to justice. One of the most revolutionary pieces of technology that has emerged in recent years to aid law enforcement is the high-resolution surveillance camera, which can be used in public places to monitor activity faster and easier than even the most talented police officer ever could.

In some cases, these cameras also have the means to detect the sound of a gunshot or call for help and focus on the source of the sound, up to a mile away, thanks to the use of satellite technology. Street corners are now equipped with detectors for chemical weapons, thereby putting a challenge out to would-be terrorist acts.

The court system has also gotten into the high-tech law enforcement game by also using satellite technology to keep track of house arrests and parolees; computers are used to detect the whereabouts of those who neglect to show up for court dates, and technology allows for instant processing of court records that used to take weeks- instant justice, thanks to high-tech tools (Police Seize the Initiative, 2005). Gaps between High-Tech Crime and Law Enforcement Agencies/Urgent Technological Needs of Law Enforcement and the Courts

A chronic problem for that fighting high-tech crime, as well as the court systems which process high-tech criminals, is that the high-tech offender is constantly evolving into the use of better equipment, more complex methods, and varied crimes. Therefore a gap exists between the high-tech crimes that continue to grow and change and the forces available to fight them. The eradication of this gap requires a huge amount of technology be made available for law enforcement and the courts.

A substantial portion of these needs have been fulfilled through the allocation of government funds to pay for law enforcement needs, while there is yet another portion which is being bridged by the private sector, examples of which deserve additional discussion. How Training/Financial Support is Linked to Technological Advancement/Utilization For the law enforcement community, the only way to continue to battle high-tech crime is to enable the law enforcement personnel to continue to be able to obtain the latest in technology devices, training and support, all of which costs huge amounts of money.

To assist in this, the technology companies of America have stepped up for the most part to donate, or make available at steep discount, technology, training and support for law enforcement and the courts (Piazza, 2004). This also pays dividends for those donors, for it enables law enforcement to be better equipped to protect these companies, as well as the average American citizen. The Evolution of High-Tech Crime At this point, a lingering question remains- how did all of this get started?

High-tech crime has its origins in what is commonly known as white collar crime. While high-tech crime has been raised to a virtual art form in recent years, its predecessor, “white collar crime” was first unveiled to law enforcement personnel by Edwin Sutherland in a 1939 address to the American Sociological Association, when Sutherland identified a criminal element that was more affluent than the average street criminal, generally engaged in more complex crimes, and committed crimes that involved more brain than brawn.

While Sutherland drew attention to this type of criminal, suggestions of white collar crime, if not the exact use of this term to describe them, can be found decades earlier, in the writings of social reform authors like Upton Sinclair in the early 1900s, for example (Turner, et al, 1993).