Enhancing Technology's Use
in Addressing Crime
Today, criminal justice practitioners use advanced technology for everything from tracing stolen vehicles, to the use of DNA technology at the crime scene, to investigating pornography, to solving financial crimes, to combating cybercrime. Technology can be a valuable tool to help criminal justice agencies enhance their ability to lower crime and improve their operations. OJP supports development of technology for direct use by front-line law enforcement and corrections personnel, as well as technology that improves the justice system as a whole. Of particular importance are initiatives to advance technologies that improve law enforcement and first responder management of critical incidents and ability to combat cybercrime.
SUPPORTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY
NIJ's National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) system serves as a "broker" for technology information, assistance, and expertise for the nation's law enforcement, corrections, and criminal justice community. NLECTC assists in the introduction and demonstration of emerging technologies; tests off-the-shelf products; prepares and disseminates equipment test reports, user guides, bulletins, and the award-winning TechBeat newsletter; provides unique technology assistance; and assists in technology commercialization. NLECTC's products and services help to ensure that law enforcement and corrections agencies and personnel utilize appropriate technology to enhance their effectiveness, efficiency, and safety.
NIJ also develops minimum performance standards and guides for equipment and technology. Testing and research have led to performance standards for more than 60 types of criminal justice equipment, ranging from body armor and handcuffs to protective gloves and communications systems. NIJ does not recommend particular brands. Rather, it distributes lists of products that have passed standardized tests and indicates whether the item will meet the minimum performance requirements necessary to be effective for the criminal justice practitioner.
Recent projects include:
NIJ's technical working group developed the guide, Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement, which was released in January 2000. The guide is designed to help law enforcement officials identify, collect, and preserve useful physical evidence.
In 1995, the Attorney General asked NIJ to study cases in which convicted sex offenders were later exonerated by DNA testing. Based on the outcome of this study, the Attorney General then asked NIJ to study how evidence could be better gathered and processed for more accurate identification of offenders. As a result, NIJ initiated a technical working group - composed of 44 members representing law enforcement, prosecution, the defense bar, and forensic science - on crime scene investigation to determine recommended practices for the identification, collection, preservation, and use in court of physical evidence, including DNA evidence, blood and bloodstain patterns, fingerprints, tool marks, trace evidence, and trajectory evidence. NIJ's technical working group developed the guide, Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for Law Enforcement which was released in January 2000. The guide is designed to help law enforcement officers identify, collect, and preserve useful physical evidence.
In May 2000, NIJ awarded funds to two gun manufacturers - Smith & Wesson and FN Manufacturing, Inc. - to establish projects to research and develop "smart gun" technologies. Smart guns, which are firearms engineered to fire only for authorized users, show tremendous promise in reducing the cost of human life when weapons are taken from their proper owner. The Smith & Wesson project will support feasibility and functionality tests of fully electronic smart gun technology, as well as design a next generation prototype. FN Manufacturing, Inc. will use its grant award to further research, development, and testing of its ultrasonic smart gun prototype.
Crime Identification Technology Act
The Crime Identification Technology Act (CITA), enacted on October 9, 1998, authorizes funds to assist state and local jurisdictions to establish, integrate, or upgrade criminal justice information systems and identification technologies that enhance their ability to prevent crime. Fiscal Year 2000 was the first year OJP received funds related to CITA and, with those funds, OJP was able to help numerous states and localities.
OJP used CITA funds to support the following activities in FY 2000:
solicitation. Those eight projects focus solely on the improvement of DNA analysis capabilities and capacities.
Crime Mapping The use of computerized crime mapping is an important tool in fostering data-driven, multi-agency collaborative approaches to identifying and solving crime problems. Crime mapping allows law enforcement agencies and their partners to display and analyze their own data on offenses, calls for service and arrests, as well as additional information collected by a variety of agencies about a specific area, on one map. Visualizing data in this way promotes better understanding of relationships among different phenomena and crime.
NIJ's Crime Mapping Research Center hosted a conference December 11-14, 1999 in Orlando, Florida. The future of crime mapping and its many applications in the justice system was the focus of this event. Participants included over 600 law enforcement practitioners, local planners, and academics from around the world. NIJ also released Mapping Crime: Principle and Practice at the conference. This publication serves as a primer for criminal justice agencies interested in using crime mapping techniques to better identify and combat community crime problems. The guide also explains the basic concepts and theories behind crime mapping and answers broad questions about applying these technologies in real-life situations.
In January 2000, NIJ unveiled a new, innovative, and free crime mapping program designed to help law enforcement officers in their community policing efforts. The program, the Community Policing Beat Book, was designed for use in the field on a laptop, with an in-car computer, or at the police station and allows an officer access to electronic maps that display pertinent crime-fighting information. The electronic maps of the community show information such as land-use, demographics, businesses, and landmarks, as well as crime incident sites. The Beat Book provides law enforcement officers with:
The Crime Mapping Analysis Program (CMAP), which is coordinated by NIJ's National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) Rocky Mountain (RM) Center, provides technology assistance and training to state and local agencies in the areas of crime and intelligence analysis and geographic information systems (GIS). CMAP has provided training to over 300 students from 28 state and local law enforcement agencies. NLECTC-Southeast, in Charleston, South Carolina, has joined NLECTC-RM in meeting the high demand among criminal justice practitioners by bringing GIS technology resources to bear in the administration of justice and the fight against crime and violence. NLECTC-SE fosters the use of crime mapping techniques in law enforcement through capacity building classes and the coordination of research on new and improved GIS applications for criminal justice.
In today's fast-moving environment, there are many occasions when more than one law enforcement agency may be involved in a case or situation. Police units from multiple departments engaging in a joint operation, such as a high-speed pursuit, frequently cannot communicate with one another directly as events are unfolding. This inability may result from use of different radio frequencies, varying and proprietary protocols or system architectures that are incompatible, outdated equipment, or operational restraints.
NIJ is addressing interoperability problems through its AGILE program (Advanced Generation of Interoperability for Law Enforcement). In order to consider the latest technologies that can impact short and long-term interoperability planning, NIJ's Office of Science and Technology released a focused solicitation in May 2000 for research and development proposals that address the area of convergence of wireless and information technologies, software radios, and general interoperability technologies. The proposals were reviewed by a peer panel and NIJ, resulting in four awards in September 2000 to help solve some of these interoperability problems.
In FY 2000, AGILE also funded the creation of the NPSTC Support Office (NSO). The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) is a federation of 11 associations that together represent nearly all components of public safety in wireless communications issues. Coordinated by the NLECTC-RM Center in Denver, Colorado, NSO provides secretariat support for NPSTC, thereby providing a voice for this important constituent group in the areas of wireless communications. AGILE also provided funding for the creation of a national, pre-coordination database for the 700 MHZ band, so that when this part of the spectrum does become available for public safety use, this database will provide a rapid and efficient allocation and licensing of the spectrum.
To assist state and local agencies that are in immediate need of interoperability assistance, NIJ has developed partnerships to technically and operationally evaluate interoperability solutions. A federal laboratory will provide technical assessments, while public safety agencies (such as the Alexandria, Virginia Police Department) are integrating, testing, and evaluating products in actual operational environments. In FY 2000, some of the first products evaluated were the ACU-1000, an audio gateway technology that ties incompatible radio systems together as a means for rapidly disseminating information on missing children, and the INFOTECH informational technology system, which provides inter-regional information sharing among law enforcement agencies.
Other OJP information sharing activities include the Regional Information Sharing System (RISS), a multijurisdictional criminal intelligence system operated by and for state and local law enforcement agencies. The program comprises six regional sites, which act as hubs for the member agencies that use RISS. In FY 2000, the Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded approximately $25 million under the RISS program. This funding helped the six regional RISS centers provide state-of-the-art investigative support and training, analytical services, specialized equipment, and information sharing technology to more than 5,500 municipal, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies nationwide. This assistance helped law enforcement agencies make more than 3,000 arrests and seize or recover illegal controlled substances, property, and currency worth $100 million. BJA also awarded funds to the Institute for Intergovernmental Research for Information Technology Support to support the RISS program and for the RISS Performance Management and Assessment.
In addition to building interoperability and communications into law enforcement, OJP is also sponsoring integration of the justice information system as a whole. The OJP Justice Integration Initiative seeks to improve communication and information sharing among justice agencies at all levels of government, federal, state, and local, and across all disciplines within the juvenile and criminal justice systems. OJP recognized that, as state, local, and tribal governments forge ahead with the development of information sharing architectures, OJP was presented with an unparalleled opportunity, through the efficient, coordinated, and targeted use of grant funds, to form partnerships in support of justice information sharing. OJP subsequently created the Information Technology Executive Council (IT Executive Council or ITEC) to design a more strategic approach to OJP's funding and technical assistance in this area. OJP's generalized basis for a coordinated grant funding strategy is found in more than 40 of its current statutory provisions that contain express or implied language authorizing the purchase of information technology. Each of these statutes provides for and encourages the development of information sharing systems to further the fight against crime.
The IT Executive Council worked with more than 300 state and local criminal justice leaders through a conference series designed to gain insight into current state and local integrated technology initiatives. The conference series provided OJP with the field's recommendations for furthering state and local justice integration through grant guidance, technical assistance, and the development of a national integration resource center. Based on this field input, in 1999 OJP refined its federal role in support of integrated justice and designed and implemented a number of actions to facilitate and assist integration efforts at the state, local, and tribal level.
Some FY 2000 IT initiative highlights include:
Law enforcement agencies must act quickly to keep pace with criminals who are increasingly using high-capacity technology that could soon surpass current abilities and resources to combat them.
In August 2000, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) released the publication, State and Local Law Enforcement Needs to Combat Electronic Crime, which summarizes the critical steps that must be addressed in order for law enforcement agencies to successfully contend with electronic crime. The study, initiated in response to a request from the National Cybercrime Training Partnership, was conducted to assess law enforcement needs for identifying, preventing, and combating electronic crimes in this country. The full report was released in July 2001.
NIJ's Office of Science and Technology also supported the publication and dissemination of a pocket guide for use by first responders at crime scenes. The guide, Best Practices for Seizing Electronic Evidence, was developed by the U.S. Secret Service. In addition, NIJ continued work to complete the first of a set of quick reference guides for cybercrime investigations that will address the entire life-cycle of cybercrime remediation, from crime scene to prosecution in the courtroom.
To help meet the needs identified in this study, in the summer of 2000 NIJ established the National Law Enforcement CyberScience Laboratory Northeast, which is co-located with NIJ's National Law Enforcement Corrections and Training Center-Northeast Center at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York. The CyberScience Laboratory's mission includes fostering government, industry, and academic research partnerships that address cybercrime and provide technical assistance to state and local law enforcement. Its partners include Utica College's Computer Forensics Research and Development Center, the New York Electronic Crimes Task Force, the New York State Police, the New York City Police Department, and Eastman Kodak.
Internet Crimes Against Children
Keeping children safe online increasingly has become as important as keeping them safe in schools or on the streets. Sexual predators no longer lurk only in malls and on playgrounds. Instead, they roam freely in cyberspace and hide in chat rooms looking for vulnerable children. More than 28 million children currently go online, and industry experts predict that more than 45 million young people will use the Internet by 2002. Law enforcement and prosecutors will be increasingly challenged by sex offenders who use computer technology to victimize children. These crimes present complex technical and investigative challenges for law enforcement. Because few crime investigations begin and end in the same jurisdiction, investigations require close coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. In addition, evidence collection, interviewing practices, and undercover operations must be carefully adapted to meet the technical and legal demands of Internet crimes.
In May 2000, OJJDP awarded nearly $2.5 million in grants to 10 state and local law enforcement agencies to combat Internet crimes against children under its Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force program. These awards were announced at an ICAC law enforcement training seminar at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. OJJDP also awarded continuation funding to the existing 30 sites. These grants provide states and localities with the tools and skills to investigate, prosecute, and prevent Internet crimes against children.
The ICAC program encourages communities to develop regional, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-agency responses to Internet crimes. Grant funds are used to ensure that investigators receive specialized training in Internet crimes and are equipped with the most up-to-date computer technology. The task forces developed as part of the ICAC program are also designed to become sources of prevention, education, and investigative experience to provide technical assistance to parents, teachers, law enforcement, and other professionals. The 20 existing ICAC grantees' collective efforts have led to the arrest of more than 115 people who were using the Internet to sexually exploit children. The grantees have also trained more than 1,000 law enforcement officers and prosecutors. In addition, thousands of children, parents, and educators have received information about safe Internet practices for young people.
OJJDP awarded $6 million in FY 2000 for the task force program, with another $2.125 million set aside for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's CyberTipline and training activities. OJJDP has identified some major obstacles to a successful law enforcement response to child pornography on the Internet. Forensic capacity to deal with child pornography on computers is deficient, and case referrals are not followed through because receiving agencies lack understanding and capacity to respond. OJJDP utilized $6 million to respond to these problems in FY 2000 with a plan that includes investigative and computer forensic training and technical assistance ($1 million), and an investigative satellite program that would support
non-ICAC task force members with acquiring skills and equipment needed to process referral cases ($1.2 million).
In FY 2000, OJJDP also offered two training programs for law enforcement officers investigating child pornography and "cyberenticement" offenses. The 5-day Protecting Children Online course provides detectives with information regarding forensic and investigative techniques, offender behavioral characteristics, statutory, and existing case law, and available resources that can assist in ICAC investigations. The 3-day Protecting Children Online Unit Commander course encourages law enforcement supervisory and management personnel to develop departmental policies and procedures that respond effectively to online crimes against children. Nearly 1,000 investigators and managers participated in these courses within the past year.
Research & Tools
Working in partnership with state, local, federal, and international law enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice developed the National Cybercrime Training Partnership (NCTP) as an important element in the solution to the growing cybercrime problem. The National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), serves as the state and local liaison and training arm of the NCTP. Additionally, BJA serves in a
leadership role with NCTP in providing guidance and advice on state and local issues regarding the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime. The NW3C was awarded $9.25 million in FY 2000 to support these efforts.
The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), managed by the FBI with operational support provided by the NW3C, was launched nationwide in early 2000. Since its official opening, the IFCC has averaged about 125 calls per day, conducting numerous investigations in conjunction with the FBI and state and local agencies. The IFCC has also provided information on fraud schemes that had not previously come to the attention to law enforcement. In addition, it serves as a central repository for complaints related to Internet fraud, works to quantify fraud patterns, and provides timely statistical data on current fraud trends. For victims of Internet fraud, the IFCC provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation.
In November 2000, NW3C released two computer-based training courses - The Internet as an Investigative Tool and Computer Crimes on Your Doorstep. This interactive training demonstrates how to use the Internet as an investigative tool, helping law enforcement managers, investigators, and the criminal justice system respond to the growing computer crime problem. The training was provided to state and local law enforcement agencies at no cost.
Through NCTP, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are working with private industry to provide cross-training. More and more private companies are experiencing cybercrime, which requires a greater involvement by law enforcement. The component agencies of OJP are committed to continuing the dialogue with state and local counterparts and the organizations that represent them. For example, through its participation in NCTP, BJA is facilitating coordination of state and local issues through organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, the National Sheriffs' Association, the National Association of Attorneys General, and the National Association of District Attorneys.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has been modifying an ongoing statistical series that gathers administrative data from operational criminal justice agencies to include data on computer crime. The Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics series, which was fielded July 1, 2000, obtains information on computer crime units in state and local law enforcement. BJS also has been exploring computer crime measurement issues with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) as part of a larger effort that would facilitate the collection and reporting of statistical information relating to cybercrime and its effect upon the business community.
The BJS partnership with the business community will allow BJS to tap into the knowledge the private sector has gained in responding to cybercrime, as well as provide BJS important information that can be used to define the scope of the cybercrime issue for the development of national statistics. As a first step in FY 2000, BJS held a focus group for BJS and Census Bureau staff, as well as representatives from the private sector and the academic community to facilitate exploration of the issues related to the collection of cybercrime statistics. As a result of this meeting, BJS began work with the Census Bureau, with the input and advice of the private sector, to formulate and test cybercrime-related questions to supplement ongoing commercial surveys dealing with businesses, industries, and other private concerns.
In FY 2000, NIJ provided funds totaling $450,618 to the National Institute of Standards' Office of Law Enforcement Standards to continue its efforts in:
Also in FY 2000, NIJ awarded the Institute for Security Technology Studies at Dartmouth funds totaling $8.52 million for two projects involving cybersecurity and information infrastructure assurance. The cybersecurity project involves the development, evaluation, and demonstration of cybersecurity, network security, cybersecurity tools, and software system protection. The information infrastructure assurance project will develop, demonstrate, and evaluate cybercrime technology tools for law enforcement and forensic application. This project will also focus on wireless and web infrastructure and security issues within law enforcement agencies.
BJA, NIJ, and OJJDP are pooling resources and working with the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) on developing an overall awareness campaign to alert the general public about problems associated with cybercrime. Each of these OJP bureaus is exploring how existing appropriations can be used to expand opportunities for communicating with the general public about using the Internet responsibly and the consequences that could result from misuse.
In FY 2000, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) supported a project to establish a model victim-centered community response to stalking, which included cyber-stalking. A working group is developing protocols in identifying roles and responsibilities of the agencies that respond to stalking issues. The Violence Against Women Office supports the National Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime. Also in FY 2000 through 2003, as part of the Innocent Images Project of the FBI Baltimore Field Office, OVC funded a clinical level Child Interview Specialist to assist the FBI in training special agents in identifying, contacting, and interviewing child victims involved in online pornography cases. OVC also provided funding to the U.S. Secret Service to hire a Victim-Witness Specialist to assist in implementing a victim-witness assistance program. Victims under the Secret Service's investigative purview often include victims of credit card fraud and identity theft - offenses that are oftentimes perpetrated electronically.
In addition, during FY 2000 OVC supported a variety of training initiatives for law enforcement related to the emergence of cybercrime and will continue this support in FY 2001.
IMPROVING THE USE OF DNA EVIDENCE
Increasing law enforcement's ability to use DNA evidence in the fight against crime makes sense, and ultimately gets violent offenders off our streets. Last year, the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence provided recommendations to the Attorney General on the current and future uses of DNA technology in the criminal justice system. Among those recommendations was one to help states analyze existing DNA samples that had been collected from convicted offenders, but not yet analyzed and added to existing state systems and the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). At the time of the recommendation, it was estimated that there were more than 750,000 unanalyzed samples in existence.
In July 2000, more than 100 police chiefs, sheriffs, and other law enforcement officials met in Washington, DC for the National Law Enforcement Summit on DNA Technology. Based upon another recommendation by the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence, NIJ sponsored the summit to educate law enforcement decision makers about the crime-solving potential of DNA technology. Training for first responders to identify and preserve DNA evidence, as well as stress collaboration between law enforcement and other members of the criminal justice system was also emphasized.
The National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence also recognized the importance of identifying technical advances in the next decade and assessing the expected impact of these on the forensic DNA community. The Forensic DNA Research and Development Program aims to maximize the value of DNA evidence to the criminal justice system by supporting research that builds or improves upon existing technologies, methods, or approaches, as well as research based on new or novel technologies, methods, or approaches. In addition to the continued support in the development of a DNA chip for high-speed, inexpensive, and ultimately portable DNA testing, NIJ supported research of improved tools for use in routine DNA analysis, as well as exploration of genetic markers that will increase the success rate of testing old, degraded, or very small amounts of biological crime scene evidence.
With over a million copies of What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence distributed, and continued demand for this publication, more needed to be done. The Commission, in collaboration with NIJ grant recipient Eastern Kentucky University, developed a computer-based training program for law enforcement on DNA. The interactive CD-ROM training module is being distributed in two parts. The first module, which covers basic information on DNA and the identification and preservation of potential DNA evidence at the crime scene, was designed for first responders and was distributed in FY 2000.
GENERAL FORENSICS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
While DNA evidence is important to the resolution of many violent crimes, on average it makes up less than 5 percent of the evidence used. Other types of forensic evidence continue to play a crucial role in the investigation of violent crimes. NIJ is committed to enhancing the use of all classes of forensic evidence, and in FY 2000 supported research and development in forensic disciplines, such as questioned document examination, firearms and toolmarks examination, toxicology examinations, forensic entomology, transfer (trace) evidence examinations, and controlled substance examinations.
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