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: Movie world fears for freedom of speech as N.Korea parody pulled

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

Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

11 hours ago

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI's ...

Study reveals mature motorists worse at texting and driving

Dec 18, 2014

A Wayne State University interdisciplinary research team in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has made a surprising discovery: older, more mature motorists—who typically are better drivers in ...

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

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.