August 31, 2000202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Law enforcement agencies must act quickly to control and contain electronic crimes to keep pace with criminals who are increasingly using high-capacity technology that could soon surpass current abilities and resources to combat them, according to a new report from the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The report also calls for increased training for law enforcement and the creation of electronic crime task forces.

"Computer and high-tech crime is one of the greatest challenges confronting the law enforcement community around the world," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "Through the collaborative efforts of both the public and private sector, we can make significant progress toward developing the tools we need to fight cybercrime and reduce its occurrence in our country."

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 assessment was undertaken by individuals representing 114 law enforcement agencies, including urban and rural jurisdictions, state and local law enforcement departments, sheriffs' departments, crime labs, transit police, and regulatory agencies.

"Electronic crime requires a departure from the traditional types of crime-fighting methods," said Julie Samuels, NIJ's Acting Director. "We hope the results of this assessment will assist law enforcement in developing comprehensive, coordinated, long-range plans to combat cybercrime."

The report summarizes the critical steps that must be addressed in order for law enforcement agencies to successfully contend with electronic crime. In addition to increased training and the development of task forces, these include: increased public awareness; better data and reporting; updated laws; cooperation with the high tech industry; special research and publications; management awareness and support; investigative and forensic tools; and methods for structuring computer crime units. NIJ is a primary sponsor of criminal justice research and evaluation of programs to reduce crime and violence. Copies of this report and further information about NIJ can be found on NIJ's Website at For printed copies of the report, contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) at 1-800-851-3420. General information about the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is available at

For more information on this report, contact the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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