Continued advances in technology are giving law enforcement agencies new tools to solve crimes and locate offenders. Agencies are reaping the benefits of having employees on the payroll that can navigate computer programs, social networking sites and other computer and digital media-opening the door for added employment opportunities in law enforcement.
One recent trend is gang members using the internet to organize and give orders to members regarding criminal activity. Gang members are utilizing social networks to not only plan criminal activities, but to also brag about what they have done. Law enforcement agencies are starting to fight back by using these same sites as a means of tracking these activities. One recent example can be found in Montgomery County, Maryland where detectives are setting up fake Facebook accounts in order to befriend gang members. Once they are accepted by the gang, they can then use the social networking site to gather evidence and build a case against the gang members and allow officers to locate more gang members and their associates.
Law enforcement has also been using the internet to track and apprehend child molesters and sexual predators. The recent arrest of a 17-year-old Nixa, in Missouri, are becoming more common due to the use of the internet to track criminal activity-in this case the offender posted incriminating pictures and videos on the web which help lead police to his arrest.
As agencies become more dependent on computers and internet for daily operations, the need for qualified, trained individuals continues to rise. Cyber Security specialists are in high demand across the nation as agencies look at more efficient methods of fighting crime.
The minimum requirements for becoming a computer crime specialist include a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science or programming. Also, it is important to determine which area of computer crime you wish to pursue. If you wish to help locate lost, destroyed or deleted data on a computer, you will want to study computer forensic science. If you wish to help track down and bring pedophiles to justice, you will want to look at courses not only in computer science but also human services and working with victims. To be an effective computer crime specialist, you will need more than basic computer knowledge. Also, you will need to keep up to date on all the latest technology.
As computer usage continues to increase both in the private and public sector, offenders are presented with new opportunities to commit criminal acts. Law enforcement agencies are fighting back using the same technology criminals are using; however, this increases the need for trained individuals to help law enforcement stay one step ahead, opening the door for computer experts to enter the field of criminal justice and help keep communities safe.