Crime is, always has been and always will be, a problem, there’s no getting around the fact that over the years crime has evolved to such a point that illegal activities can be performed on a global scale. Crime organisations have become massive enterprises spanning all different sectors of the world dealing in narcotics and other illicit substances, but what specifically has allowed this to happen?
Well, unfortunately the very technology that has lifted humanity to new heights in terms of knowledge and wisdom is currently aiding those of us with ill intent. With the internet connecting 59 percent of the entire worlds population together, it isn’t difficult to see how potential criminals could exploit the system and affect millions.
But how specifically has crime and technology evolved over the years?
Well, with the introduction of the cyber world came the introduction of cyber-crime, people on the internet are easily capable of recruiting, planning and fundraising their criminal plans, remaining anonymous whilst building up a force all from the comfort of their own homes.
Pretty scary right? It gets worse.
Cyber crime is consistently shown to be one of the most difficult criminal offences to track down and punish alongside having the potential to be the most deadly. The number 1 issue when it comes to cyber crime is a lack of reporting, whilst in the physical world, seeing someone being assaulted would make anyone reach for the nearest phone, this doesn’t seem to be the case online. People are not only less likely to report cyber crime but often times, don’t know how, there is no dedicated cyber report line and in a lot of cases it is difficult to tell what is and isn’t cyber-crime and therefore, what to report.
Another huge aspect to why cyber criminals get off scot-free is jurisdiction. Due to the global nature of the internet, most cyber criminals are smart enough to commit crimes in places they don’t actually reside. Due to this, the area wherein which the crime took place has no way of prosecuting the individual responsible due to having no jurisdiction over them. There have been many situations in the past where this has been a problem, in one of the most famous cases of cybercrime ever, the NHS’ computer system was completely shut down in 2017. The affectionately named “WannaCry” virus infected computers in 150 countries, leaving legal authorities in a bind when it came to tracking the hacker down and persecuting them appropriately.
So cyber security has seen a massive rise and is extremely difficult to track down and persecute potential criminals, but what about physical crime?
Well with physical crime it seems to be somewhat of an opposite effect, let’s take a look at the figures:
Physical Crime Rates in the UK
Crimes recorded in the UK in 2010: 4.58 Million
Latest crime rate recorded in the UK: 6.3 Million
So, as you can see there has been a pretty significant uptick in physical and violent crime when it comes to the UK.
Seeing a nearly 2 million crime increase in a little under a decade can seem daunting and in some regards it is. However, what is the cause for this and how does it relate back to technology if at all?
Well the unfortunate news is… We don’t really know, there isn’t a definitive way to know what is and isn’t the cause of the issues prevalent in our society today.
However, there are some theories.
Social media for one is being described as a boon for the criminal underworld, being able to easily communicate with anyone across the world is always a plus but that has been around for years. The main appeal of social media is the personal information contained in almost everyone’s profile, being able to track down exactly who you want with a few taps is a scary prospect. So, when it comes to recruiting or finding victims, all it takes is hopping on Facebook or Twitter and you can often find everything you would need to know about someone.
Security guarding is also an industry that isn’t looking into perhaps as much as it should, with retailors seeing a £11bn loss in 2017, guarding your property with a physical presence is guaranteed to lower crime rates around your area.
With all of this in mind, where do we sit today with crime in comparison to where we once were.
Well cyber crime appears to have made a monumental upswing, with how difficult it is to secure yourself along with finding the criminals in question, there is no easy way to either track or pursue. However cyber security organisations have also sprouted up, with huge giants like CrowdStrike leading the charge and covering 12 of the 20 Fortune largest global companies, the only way to truly ensure you remain cyber secure is to prevent an attack from happening in the first place rather than trying to repair the damage after it happens.
On the flipside the physical crime world is also riding and updraft at the moment, rather worryingly so. Whilst we have only really discussed social media, there can be any number of reasons for this, from poverty and homeless rates increasing to overpopulation it is difficult to get to the root of the issue. Hopefully with more investment in police systems such as bodycams, tasers and mobile thumbprint systems we are able to see this number drop and are able to make Britain a safer place to live and work.
Written by Jake Evans