* Future directions of crime fighting and its role in social policy implication * “Technology is a double-edged sword: it arms evildoers with potent new weapons of crime commission, yet is provides police agencies and criminal justice personnel with powerful tools useful in the battle against crime,” (Criminology Today, Frank Schmalleger, pp. 385). Criminology will always be linked to technology, even if that technology is seen as primitive or groundbreaking. Earlier forms of technology used within criminology include the telegraph, telephone, automobile, and radios. *
* Technology used today is much more vast and sophisticated then those limited resources of the past. Some of the technology used today include: laser-based speed-measuring apparatuses, computer databases of known offenders, machine-based expert systems, cellular communications, video surveillance, electronic eavesdropping, deoxyribonucleic acid analysis, and less-lethal weapons. *
* Law enforcement vehicles alone is a form of technology, but today they house large amounts of advanced forms of technology to help aid the law enforcement officers in safety, crime prevention, and crime fighting. Transponder-based automated vehicle location system is used within patrol car-based transmitters in tandem with orbiting global positioning satellites. GPS system will pinpoint the location of police officer’s vehicles so that dispatchers can allocate available resources, as well as reduce police response times in the event of a crisis. Computer-aided dispatch systems aids police dispatchers in distinguishing certain location. Computer-aided dispatch systems can quickly provide information about past incident reports on certain locations, how often law enforcement agents have been called to the location, and tell those responding officers what could be expected at the locations; due to past incident reports. *
* Some of the most innovative crime-fighting technologies are developed in the use of non-lethal weapons. From the use of beanbag rounds, tasers, etc., there are new developments such as the “Spiderman snare,” special-frequency disco-like strobe lights, and electromagnetic pulsing devices. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) test all new technologies that are developed for their potential usefulness within law enforcement activities. Technology Assessment Program (TAP) operated by the NIJ focuses on four areas of advancing technology: protective equipment, forensic sciences, transportation and weapons, and communications and electronics. There are also many other groups that bring specialized high-tech expertise to the private-security professions, as well as for public law enforcement. *
* Will all of the advancing technologies the law enforcement uses to prevent and fight crime, needs to implement policies uses with each technology development. These resources have led to concerns about security, data integrity, and expanding interest in privacy, free speech, and personal freedoms. The First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution clearly guarantees each American the freedom of speech and security against unreasonable searches and seizures; but the Constitution is understandably blind on the subject of electronic documents and the advancing forms of communication promoted by developing technologies, technologies that did not exist during the construction of the United States Constitution. *
* There will be debates and multiple questions dealing with the issues of what is consider privacy and freedom of speech, what is truly covered by the rights of the Constitutions and it’s Amendments. Law enforcement agencies will always need to “push the envelop” in order to fight the advancing technologies and methods which law-breakers will use to violate the rights of others. Although, they have the responsibility to do use policies, which will not truly violate the civil rights of the American people. *
* “Technology and Crime,” chapter 13. Criminology Today: An Integrative Introduction, Sixth Edition by Frank Schmalleger. Published by Prentice hall. Copyright 2012 by Pearson Education, INC.