Criminology in the Future
Criminology as a scientific approach of dealing with criminal challenges is subject to constant change as it is the only way of maximizing the general positive effects in the current global environment. This paper examines the major future directions of crime fighting. The corresponding social policy implications will be formulated. The potential benefits of utilizing various innovative technologies such as cybercrime spyware or biometrics will be specified. New law enforcement and forensic technologies will be evaluated. The major civil liberty or ethical violations related to these technologies will be discussed. Although new technologies have both some advantages and disadvantages, there is no other alternative for their spreading and dominance in all sub-areas of criminology.
Crime fighting is especially relevant nowadays as criminal activities tend to become global, and they threaten the entire social order. The major strategy pursued by the majority of developed countries including the United States is relying on modern technologies. They may allow examining the existing problems from various perspectives and identifying criminal attempts at early stages. On the one hand, new technologies allow establishing a closer control over potential criminals with the help of global systems and Internet. New surveillance systems may be very effective in this context. On the other hand, criminals also receive additional opportunities for developing various criminal schemes. Therefore, the comparative effectiveness of technologies utilization determines the long-term dynamics of crime rates in the United States.
Crime fighting may have serious social policy implication. It is evident that numerous prevention measures should be taken to minimize the potential risks and create problems for potential criminals. However, privacy and civil liberties of individuals should be respected, and the government should not violate civil rights for the sake of national security. Therefore, determining the optimal social policy strategy constitutes an important and difficult task for all developed countries. It seems that only those prevention measures that do not violate individual liberties should be adopted.
As criminology includes a systematic application of knowledge about criminal behavior to a specific situation, comprehensive crime-fighting methodologies should be used. For example, cybercrime spyware tends to become highly popular nowadays as it enables determining offenses that aim at communicating tools present in the global network. However, cybercrime spyware demonstrates the maximum possible effectiveness when it is combined with other techniques. In particular, biometrics is one of the most innovative tools that are widely used in various spheres. Biometrics allows analyzing various individual characteristics and applying them to the possibility of committing crimes or selecting the option for criminal activities. Biometrics is also highly effective not only in fighting crimes but preventing them and determining the major areas of concern. Biometrics is popular both in the private and public sectors. Private companies may utilize biometric methods for controlling the activities of their personnel and selecting the optimal candidates for new positions or projects. Organizations from the public sector may rely on biometrics in the context of determining people’s commitment and potential professional threats.
Nowadays, criminology experts may also be involved in DNA collection for making the precise and objective statements about the potential participation of various individuals in criminal activities. These technologies contribute to a more effective implementation of the principles of criminal justice as the probability of error while using this method is minimal. As DNA is unique for every individual, it is possible to make scientifically correct and precise judgments in those cases where the traditional methods of using finger prints are unavailable. Genetic information can be systematized, and large-scale databases may be created. In this way, the government may investigate the major tendencies regarding the distribution of crimes in various parts of the country. It may also contribute to allocating the scarce resources more effectively.
It seems that the most difficult cases require the proper balancing of all above methodologies as they focus on different aspects of crimes and criminals. The deep analysis of the problem requires considering all aspects, and the proper balance between these methodologies should be achieved. As all cases are unique, the optimal combination will be adjusted accordingly. Cybercrime spyware may be relevant when the direct cyber-attacks are detected. Biometrics is needed for determining the major characteristics of a potential criminal and their plausible impact on the ultimate results. DNA collection should be dominant in those cases when the identification of victims or the potential criminal is the central element of investigation. Thus, it is important not only to be aware of these technologies but be able to utilize them correctly and balance with one another.
In order to detect criminal activities timely, it is necessary to use evolving law enforcement and forensic technologies. The implementation of these technologies may be organized on an automatic and systematized basis. The optimal solution may be determined according to the objectively determined algorithms. These applications tend to become more popular nowadays, and it seems that the US may harmonize its efforts with those of other countries in order to generate the desired results. The modern criminology uses the latest achievements from different branches of knowledge and evaluates them from the perspective of a better understanding the underlying factors contributing to criminal behavior.
Forensic technologies are widely used, and new methods tend to be developed. For example, high-speed ballistics and alternative light photography may be used for providing the timely analysis of bullet holes and damage suffered by victims. 3D facial reconstruction may also be highly relevant nowadays because it allows presenting a highly realistic physical appearance of the potential criminal or other individuals. The developed bases such as AFIS allow comparing the discovered fingerprint with those collected in the extensive virtual database. In this way, the criminal may be identified within several minutes, and criminologists may determine the specific plan for neutralizing him/her. Moreover, modern software creates additional opportunities for forensic accountants in the context of controlling the untypical financial activity by individuals. If this activity is identified, it may be verified, and many problems can be addressed at earlier stages.
Although the need for the use of modern technologies in criminology investigations is evident, it is necessary to specify the corresponding civil liberty and ethical concerns that are present. First of all, the spreading of these technologies especially in the context of prevention measures may result in the control over individuals’ affairs and plans. The concentration of power in the hands of the government or any other institution creates a considerable social threat as any knowledge may be used for different purposes. Any measures taken by criminologists should relate only to legal aspects and do not impose any cultural or other beliefs on any population group. In general, privacy and civil liberties may be threatened if the government uses its power incorrectly.
The evolution of crime fighting may affect substantially social policy from national and international positions. The process of making decisions and developing counter-actions will become more dynamic and effective. Criminologists will be able to consider a large number of alternative scenarios and may determine the optimal one. Modern computer technologies may enable constructing the long-term strategies aiming at minimizing crime rates in a given region and globally. It is also possible to construct the complex statistical regression models that will demonstrate the relationships between various economic, social, and criminological indicators.
At the international level, the current trends will probably lead to a higher cooperation and coordination of efforts among countries. As the major criminal problems are identical for all countries in the world, new systems of international organizations and information exchange will emerge. At the same time, criminals will also use modern technologies more effectively, and it is unclear whether the general dynamics will be positive or not. In any case, it seems that the main focus will shift to the virtual sphere as it both presents new opportunities for criminals and allows introducing effective response strategies.
It may be concluded that criminology is subject to the rapid development due to the current technological progress. The rate of this development may accelerate as the global environment contributes to the emergence of new opportunities for committing crimes and preventing them. Biometrics seems to be especially relevant in the near future as it concentrates on evaluating the major characteristics of criminals. Cybercrime software may minimize the major cyber threats as it examines the potential threats and identifies them in the very beginning. DNA collection programs enable creating the comprehensive national databases with the information about criminals and other individuals. In this way, the identification of people becomes more effective. The rapid technological development is also associated with numerous challenges and difficulties especially in the sphere of ethical concerns. It is necessary to prevent the concentration of power and violating privacy and civil liberties of individuals. It is also highly important to establish the proper balance between the existing methodologies to generate the maximum possible results. The future cooperation between national governments may become more intense as the key criminal goals tend to become global. Although new challenges may emerge, the proper use of recent technologies may allow meeting them adequately.