Global Trends In Crime
Although it is difficult to compare crime among nations, street crime in the United States is on the decline while crime in many other nations has risen over the past decade.
According to progressive police agencies, the shift in focus on having law enforcement officials capture criminals rather than having police officers serve as peace officers, and the use of ordinances to clean streets of problems (petty thieves, drug addicts, panhandlers) and the establishment of opportunity programs (job training, after-school programs, tenant management of housing projects) may have impacted the level of criminal activity.
However, law enforcement agencies face new challenges such as white-collar crime (corporate excesses that cost investors billions of dollars), political or religious-motivated terrorism, and infotech crime (Internet fraud, deception, harassment, pedophilia) in the 21st century.
So far, law enforcement has responded to such crimes by pushing for more laws to catch criminals, which is the traditional approach taken to combating street crime. Law enforcement agencies are likely to form more national and international partnerships to fight crimes that take place across borders, and focus more on supporting programs that reduce the desire to commit crimes.
Of course, new technology such as surveillance and tracking equipment, security systems that see through clothing and skin, cameras and listening devices that penetrate ceilings and walls, bugs that can be surreptitiously placed on individuals, and biometric scanners that find suspects in a crowd, will be helpful as well.
However, there are some concerns that new technology will pose a danger to freedom of speech and movement, although there are some high government officials who believe that is the price of safety.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Futurist (06/03) Vol. 37, No. 3, P. 40; Stephens, Gene.