Journal article Open Access
Many traditional crimes are now being aided or abetted through the use of computers and networks, and wrongdoing previously never imagined has surfaced because of the incredible capabilities of information systems. Computer crimes are requiring law enforcement departments in general and criminal investigators in particular to tailor an increasing amount of their efforts toward successfully identifying, apprehending, and assisting in the successful prosecution of perpetrators. In the following text, key research findings in the area of traditional American criminal investigations are summarized. Similarities and differences between traditional and computer crime investigations are then presented, and consequent implications are discussed. Pragmatic suggestions as to how American computer crime investigative task forces can most competently fulfill their intended objectives are given in conclusion via a hypothetical example of a specialized unit. It is hoped that past knowledge can be assimilated with current observations of computer-related criminality to inform and guide the science of police investigations in the future.