ICT plays an increasing part in criminal activities

Apr 04, 2013

The influence of ICT on traditional crimes such as burglary, robbery, intimidation and fraud is on the rise. Researchers from the University of Twente examined a large number of crimes in the east of the Netherlands on behalf of and in collaboration with PAC – the police cybercrime programme – and the five regional police forces which now form the East Netherlands unit. They looked into 136 burglaries, 140 commercial burglaries, 259 instances of threatening behaviour and 274 cases of fraud. The fraud cases in particular had a strong digital component.

Online can generally be divided into two main types. The first of these is marketplace fraud, which involves failure to deliver goods purchased on the internet. The second type is , in which money is stolen from the holder's account. In such cases, criminals may have obtained information, during a burglary for example, which enabled them to remove funds from the victim's account. It turns out that 41% of fraud cases are digital, while 5% of fraud cases involve digital burglary.

Threats

16% of all threats are made using digital resources. They involve a wide range of conflicts and problems, both personal and business, in which the person who reports the crime has been threatened and in which at least some of these threats have been made online, for example in , on websites, via e-mail and sometimes by telephone (text messages).

Home and commercial burglaries

In the category of burglaries, 3% of cases involve deployment of digital resources, especially after the . This concerns cases in which a criminal stole personal information and during a and subsequently withdrew money from the victim's bank account. While no commercial burglaries involved an ICT component, it is worth noting that digital detection aids, such as CCTV camera footage, often provided grounds for arresting a suspect in commercial burglaries.

Conclusions

The main conclusion of the study is that ICT plays a greater role in common crimes than people tend to think. In addition, ICT had brought about a number of shifts in the profiles of the perpetrator and victim: digital crimes appear to involve a growing female and juvenile component. This has not only been established in the current study but also in previous research in the Netherlands and abroad. Those involved are also more likely to be of Dutch origin. Despite the increased physical distance between perpetrator and victim in digital crimes, only a small proportion of the offences (14% or less) involve a perpetrator or victim in another country. Another interesting feature of digital crime is that the victims tend to be private individuals, while in cases of traditional fraud, the victims are often companies.

Recommendations

The registration of ICT-related criminal methods (modus operandi) is inadequate. The police could sharpen their focus on the methods used in digital crime by using structured intake instructions and by providing more effective training for the reporting officers in this regard. For example, a national portal where citizens themselves can report crimes such as marketplace fraud and phishing (luring victims to a fake website) would be of great assistance. So too would a portal where citizens can upload information to help them report all manner of criminal offences. A report form on which the relevant details have already been filled in would also be useful. Furthermore, this study should be repeated on a regular basis to keep track of trends. Last but not least, contacts should be maintained with foreign police with a view to intensifying cooperation and tracing other forms of crime.

Explore further: Japan orders air bag maker to conduct probe

More information: Study: Modus Operandi: a study of crime facilitated by information and communication technology (ICT)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cybercrime against businesses 'explodes'

Nov 29, 2011

More than one in three companies say that in 2011 they have been victims of fraud, a report said on Tuesday, with reports of cybercrime targeting businesses around the world skyrocketing.

Data on financial crime is not credible

Dec 13, 2012

The Government and police efforts to tackle financial crime – from business fraud to tax evasion – are hampered by a lack of accurate data about the nature and extent of offending, according to new research.

New online crime map of England exposes black spots

Feb 01, 2011

The government on Tuesday launched a new crime mapping website for England and Wales, giving residents information on offences in their neighbourhood and exposing areas where crime has brought misery.

Recommended for you

BlackBerry courts iPhone users with cash

8 hours ago

Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is wooing Apple customers with a cash offer for trade-ins of iPhones for its new square-screened, keyboard-equipped Passport.

HP earnings show continued struggle

9 hours ago

Venerable tech giant Hewlett-Packard has been struggling for three years to turn its business around. Its latest earnings show it still has more work ahead.

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

10 hours ago

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

Spotify turns up volume as losses fall

10 hours ago

The world's biggest music streaming service, Spotify, announced Tuesday its revenue grew by 74 percent in 2013 while net losses shrank by one third, in a year of spectacular expansion.

Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live

10 hours ago

Long thought a thing of the future, electric cars are becoming mainstream. Sales in the United States of plug-in, electric vehicles nearly doubled last year. Credible forecasts see the number rising within ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.