Computer-InfluencedChanges in Identification of Criminals


Theadvancement in technology has changed how criminals are identified.According to studies, the different processes of communication,networking and contacts are involved in community policing,utilization of computers for crime mapping, geographical allocationof detectives, and use of computers for resource management. Manytraditional criminalities are currently being abetted or aided bycomputer and networks. Computer crimes which are also surfacing at analarming rate ought to be curbed through advancements in technology.Criminal investigators have heightened their efforts to identifyeffectively, apprehend, and help in the fruitful prosecution ofperpetrators. In this text, studies on traditional crimes aresummarized. Comparison between the computer and traditional crimeinvestigations as well as the resultant implications are presented.The topic also outlines the advancements in database management,biometric systems, Networks, computer forensics, and AutomatedFingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The relation of traditionalcrimes to the current rates is used to substantiate the claim thatcomputers have played a vital role in the identification ofcriminals.

Identificationof criminals has been made easier due to the inception of computers.In fact, since the advent of computers and the precedingtechnologies, investigators have been able to identify and prosecutecriminal with ease. The advancements allow for accurate and quickidentification. Though criminals are continually changing tact,advancements in technology are also constantly revealing thewrongdoers. Cyber crimes have become quite common in the globalperspective. The criminals utilize their computer knowledge toimpersonate and even cause various ills on other citizens. However,the technologies have also impacted positively on the law enforcers.This particular paper will look to outline some of the computertechnologies that have instigated change in criminal investigations.Apart from easing investigations, the technologies also securesystems from being attacked.


Technologicaladvancements have altered the way criminals are identified. Beforethe advancement of computers and databases, most of the informationwas kept in storage facilities, labs, evidence rooms, and filecabinets. Such storage mechanisms were prone to alteration or evendamage. The information was in physical state, meaning it was proneto human error and adverse weather conditions. In the physical formalso, information could be destroyed over time. Apart from that, themore the information, the greater the storage challenges.

Inaddition to these difficulties, it took quite a while to transfer theinformation to other people. For instance, if a court wanted someinformation, officers would be required to fetch them physically.Besides that, if a higher investigation agency requested theinformation, they would either physically fetch it or wait for it tobe mailed. Evidently, this process is quite hectic and prone to manylimitations. If an officer decides to alter something, it would beeasy. If a criminal is an influential person, then he/she can chooseto burn down the evidence. Since the inception of computers in thisdocket, many positives have been realized.

Thedatabase has been a revelation to the security agencies. The databaseenables law enforcement agencies to store information and evidence inan electronic form. Such criteria are much safer and less prone toerrors. In addition to that, weather conditions cannot deter storageof information. A major success also pertains sharing. The lawenforcement agencies can now share the evidence and information withease in a fast and secure manner. For example, a database thatcontains information such as fingerprints and DNA profiles quickensidentification of a criminal by running the details against thedatabase (Schmalleger, 2015)


Thebiometric system identifies a person based on biological traits likefingerprints, retina, and iris patterns as well as DNA. They areutilized in diverse areas such as government agencies, schools,security business, airports, and borders. The use of fingerprintsmakes huge differences in investigation scenes. They are the mostaccurate technique than even facial recognition. Current improvementshave seen the FBI investing more on the system, bringing in the NextGeneration Identification (NGI).

Improvedrecognition algorithms together with a better server farm have madethe NGI one of the most reliable system. The rate of accuracy hasimproved from 92% to 99% with the response time dropping from twohours to just ten minutes. Palm capture is another element that hasimproved the investigative tool. In 2013, the FBI started anationwide palm print database. According to law enforcers, palmprints are often left at the crime scene. Another biometric elementis the facial recognition.

Thetool has been used to detect criminals who indulge in the practicesat different places. Law enforcers can track criminals using thissystem. Though it is far from being accurate, the technologycontinues to improve security. In 2012, the FBI started theInterstate Photo System Facial Recognition Pilot (IPSR) to improvesecurity in various States. DNA is another good example of amechanism currently being utilized by the law enforcement agencies.When a suspect is captured, DNA samples from the crime scenes arecompared to his/her samples. Such mechanisms exonerate the innocentwhile identifying the guilty. Scent detection, gait, and irisrecognition are tools that would further improve security. Thesedevices can be incorporated into the NGI system to identify acriminal accurately. However, the biometric technology continuallyfaces concerns over privacy and prospected technology abuse. This hasnot deterred the systems from being improved even further.


TheAutomated Fingerprint Identification System is another major tool inthe security sector. It is a computer system that houses biometricdata on fingerprints of people that have been arrested. Differentagencies utilize it as a database. It, therefore, allows lawenforcers to identify suspects, especially if they have previouslybeen detained or incarcerated. Current improvement on the system hasseen the adoption of the NGI. According to the studies, AFIS had a25% accuracy rate and was not that efficient.

Forthis reason, the FBI thought of making adjustments to adopt the newsystem to improve the chances of getting the real criminals. JonKevin Reid, who is the assistant section chief working with the FBI,affirmed that the NGI has more than 80% accuracy rate. Takingadvantage of more computer power is the only means of improvingsecurity. Better algorithms have been devised, and more cash ispumped towards utilizing the unlimited range of computer power.


Socialmedia is another valuable tool in crime solving. Use of social siteshas become popular in the global perspective. Some of the socialmedia include Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp among others. As amatter of fact, Facebook boasts of millions of active subscribers andnew entrants on a monthly basis. They can be a medium through whichsecurity is improved. Some cases have been solved using social mediaprofiles of suspects to gather evidence on them. The law enforcementagencies can track the events of a criminal before making the actualarrests. Perpetrators such as terrorists also use social media toshowcase their events or even carry out threats.

Otherthan that, they can use them to recruit members into their cult.Through that, some end up revealing their hiding places, giving thelaw enforcers time to track them down. Apart from that, people areknown to capture criminal events or violence undertakings in theirphones. They then post the videos on social media hoping thatconsiderable measures will be taken. The videos can also be utilizedas evidence. Social media is also used to share the global news. Forinstance, if a criminal activity happens in Africa, the social sitesare used to spread the news to other countries. It helps governmentsassess the impact of the events before making decisions on whether tolimit visitations to the area. Recently, social media has beenutilized to reveal dishonest undertakings within government or anyother agency. Before social media came around, it was harder to shareinformation in bulkiness. Though the social sites have increased therates of crimes involved in advertisements, its benefits are more.


Asmuch as technology has benefitted people in a variety of ways, it hasalso heightened the rates of cyber crimes. Criminals have resorted tothe utilization of computers to indulge in crook behaviors. Hackersimpersonate innocent people and participate in crimes in severalways. As a way of combating the cyber crimes, computer forensics hasbecome common. Computer forensics is used to collect information fromcomputers to use it as evidence. It can be used to identify theft,hackers among other criminalities associated with computers. Theavailable tools have made it easier for individuals to revealpasswords and access previously deleted data. Law enforcementagencies can, therefore, retrieve information from a suspect’scomputer to use it as evidence.

Unlikeancient days, the improved technologies make it easier to extractrelevant information even if it has been deleted. However, somepeople have challenged the privacy implications posed by such asystem. The fact that personal information can be accessed quiteeasily presents an ethical challenge on privacy. Nevertheless, theprogress made in obtaining the systems to improve security cannot beignored. It is the utmost responsibility of law enforcers to protectinnocent people no matter the implications.


Computershave been a major revelation ever since they were discovered.Progress has also been realized in many dockets, including business,health, sport, and lifestyles. Security is one of the areas thatcomputers have played an important role. Due to computers, thedatabase has replaced the old filing systems that frequently resultedin distortion of evidence. The current database has eased storage andsharing of information, making it more secure and faster. Thebiometric systems have also improved with the inception of NGI,facial recognition among others. The law enforcement agencies can nowprovide exact results to avoid wrongful imprisonments. The AFISsystem has been quite helpful to the agencies, though it was thoughtto be less accurate. However, with improved algorithms, NGI has beenutilized to improve the accuracy rates. Another major security toolis the social media. Sharing info is much easier. People captureviolence and post them on the sites to act as evidence. Computerforensics has also been adopted to curb the growing levels of cybercrimes.


Schmalleger, F. (2015). Criminal Justice Today. Pearson Education , Inc.