The advent of the Internet has impacted upon the social values of the people while transforming the whole world into a global village. The technological developments have inter alia intruded the life of every human being and the very traditional values continue to erode giving ample chances for the criminals to walk in and make the Internet their safe abode to engage in various crimes from the remote. Anonymous aggression, hacking and fraudulent trading activities have become common on the Internet and the traditional or conventional crimes are on the increase by making use of the conveniences of easy and instant data exchange relating to crimes (Kim, 2008). Traditional crimes in this context are those major crimes such as genocide and homicide, and the lesser crimes like swindle, assault, theft etc. which are motivated due to lust and greed. Generally, such crimes do not target a specific victim but they become detriment to the global community and its economy.
The traditional and organized criminals will find their victims through the internet and subject them to the predatory crimes of extortion and complex crimes of fraud, piracies and counterfeiting (Schneider, 2000).
(a) How the Internet helps the criminals:
The advancement in the modern computer technologies and the Internet has put radical changes in the concept of information and the mode of exchanging the data. It equally changed the ways of conducting business on an international level. But the very information and the business activities are exposed to major risks due to the illegal activities of the criminals. They have found that the computer technology and the Internet are safe ways for them to commit the crimes regardless of traditional and new crimes (Wolafka, 2004). The Internet technology has capacitated them to put their schemes across to thousands of people when compared to a few people who are reached by means of conventional operation style by using the postal and telephone service. The invention of DTP (Desk Top Publishing), color printers, Xerox machines etc. have made counterfeiting much easier and economical, facilitating them to produce bogus bills and other documents.
The same is the case with pirate software, music and other entertainment programs. The criminals can also penetrate the networks of the targeted companies by hacking, resulting in the damage and loss of their valuable and secured data (Schneider, 2008).
(b) Internet and traditional crimes:
The present union of traditional, but unorganized criminal activities, has made it possible for them to reap more money out of their operations on the victims through the cyber facilities. The combination of modern technology, access to international markets, and the ever increasing fiscal cyber crimes prove that these anti social elements have more opportunities than earlier. Their activities if not curtailed can pave the way to harm stable countries and the global commerce.
To check this, there is urgent need to develop and implement rigorous methods and technology to predict the accuracy and occurrence of future crimes. In order to obtain an accurate estimate about the crime tendencies and their frequencies effective methods of crime trend analysis together with statistical modeling must be adopted considering the changing social set up and innovations in the technologies. The correlation between the criminal activity rate and the economy will explain the reason for the increase of cyber crimes. The general view is that accumulation of more wealth by the individuals can lead to crimes (Schneider, 2008).
(c) Relationship between income and criminal activities:
According to Field (1990), the rise in income can trigger only the possession of the basic amenities of our living style namely, food, shelter, conveyance, social welfare schemes etc.
But they will in no way become a mean to the rise in crimes, especially cyber crimes. This is evident from the developments in technology in accordance with the standard of living of the people and the crime levels seen after the Second World War. However, the western civilization has witnessed more crimes in the field of power and the media.
II. Factors that increase crimes
(a) Demographic and Macro economic factors:
It is believed widely that the demographic factors cause the increase in crime rates and that this variable is seen in places where the proportion of young males is larger than the females. Thus, based on the demographic and macro economic standards and trends, it was established that the crime rate in United Kingdom and United States till 2010 would be above the average crime rate found during the past 10 to 15 years. Moreover, the coming decades will see that the traditional crimes like counterfeiting, pornography, money laundering etc. are committed by adopting technological devices in the form of internet facilities.
Internet will become the main vehicle by which traditional as well as other crimes are executed. In nutshell, the computer and cellular age will bring in transformation of the traditional crimes. A large section of the youth will spend their time and effort to commit more and more internet crimes such as unauthorized securing of electronic signals and computer network hackings. Due to these the governments, businesses and households will become victimized and senior citizens will become the target of criminal attacks (Schneider, 2008).
(b) History of Crimes in USA:
In the United States, the traditional and organized crimes originated after the 18th century with the victimization of the people of New York, Boston etc. The New York’s Forty Thieves Gang had put fear among the people during 5 decades from 1820 to 1860. Thereafter, the Irish immigrants also formed different gangs to commit crimes including burglary and extortion. These gangs were largely supported by the politicians to meet their private ends.
In return, these gangs were given full protection from the police authorities (Ward & Miller, 2011). But at present, such organizational crimes have transformed into Spam (Unsolicited emails), Identity theft, Cyber bullying, Drug trafficking, Internet terrorism etc.
(c) How Internet helps the tracking of crimes:
The technological inventions have initiated new law enforcement methods. If Internet has become the base for committing crimes, the same Internet is used now to track the crimes.
It helps the police to find newer ways to fight against the crimes as well as keeping the vulnerable public at a safe distance by utilizing the facilities of Internet crime mapping. When a new crime trend is noticed, the police can send emails to public to make them alert on the crime. Crime mapping also enables them to catch the criminals without any delay (Sweeney, 2010). In spite of all of these precautions the crime rates are still on the hike. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, the main organized Internet crimes range from Lottery scam to Financial Institution scams. They include: Internet auctions, Nigerian Advance fee swindles, Phishing for identity theft, Residual income scams, Counterfeit frauds, Work at home, Multi marketing and pyramid plans and Property mortgage schemes.
In United States, most of these internet scammers are located in the Districts of Columbia and Nevada. Other locations are UK, Nigeria, Canada, Romania, and Italy. The international boundaries are not a concern to the Internet crime as its realm is vast and large. The jurisdictional issues also used to support the criminal activities because of the hurdles in the investigation procedures and the multitude of victims, and multiple states and countries (Internet Fraud, Scam and Crime Statistics, 2009).
To conclude, it must be borne in mind that the people are becoming highly dependent on automation and computer technology. The same dependency will result in the increase of cyber crimes of every nature. If these crimes are not stopped by developing new technologies, they may lead to very drastic global disasters in the form of invasion to data communication and traffic in all of the societal activities. Though the traditional crimes are normally conducted at specific places, the Internet provides equal facilities and convenience to commit the crimes easily and effectively, considering the fact that on cyber world there are neither political restrictions nor geographical boundaries (Wolafka, 2004).
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