The advancements in technology have helped reduce the world into a global village1. This has facilitated the sharing of resources through trade between people and nations far away from each other. While it is necessary to appreciate those who worked hard to facilitate this, it is worth noting that technology did not come without some challenges. Of interest to this study is the escalation of organized crimes following the improvements in technology2.
Apart from introducing new sets of crimes, technology also enhanced old criminal activities. In other words, the world has become a global village for organized criminals. They are committing crimes in different parts of the world every single minute3.
The United States is one of the countries that are highly targeted by organized cybercriminals4. Although some of the crimes may originate from within its borders, majority of them are perpetrated by people from other countries. The country has substantially invested in reorganizing its police force to deal with this menace but the fruits have not yet been realized5. Cybercrime rates have remained on a steady increase. Some scholars have attributed this failure to curb the menace to a number of reasons. One such reason is the lack of better training on computer forensic examinations among the law enforcement agencies6.
This theory suggests that the US authorities are reluctant to help the law enforcement agencies keep pace with the cybercriminals who have perfected their art7. The fact that the US is well resourced to give its law enforcement agencies the necessary training raises some questions about the credibility of this theory. The country is the most sophisticated in terms of security and military8. Going by the large security budget allocations in the US, one would have no doubt that the country is committed to ensuring that security prevails9. In terms of motivation, it has been established that the security personnel in the US are among the best remunerated in the world10.
This means that the escalation of cybercrimes in the country is due to factors beyond motivation, training, and equipment. Therefore, there is need to dig deeper for more insights into this topic and come up with information that will help generate a lasting solution.
Statement of the Problem
When security is threatened, everything is threatened. The e-frauds make business difficult and trade in illicit products exposes people’s health. According to statistics, cybercrimes cost people $114 million each year11. Countries’ political stabilities hang in the balance due to hacking of confidential information and incitements12. International relations may be compromised because people commit crimes in foreign countries13. US being one of the main targets of such activities, the country needs to come up with urgent measures to address this problem. For this to be done, there is need to establish reasons why this problem has been escalating despite the efforts to end it. So far, there is no concrete information that can facilitate making of confident decisions in this battle.
Significance of the study
Cybercrime cannot be allowed to continue at its current rate. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to come up with an evidence based approach that will help to significantly reduce or eliminate cybercrimes in the US and across the globe. In this regard, the study will answer the following specific research questions:
- What are some of the approaches currently being used by the law enforcement agencies to fight cybercrime?
- What are the main reasons why cybercrime rate has remained on the rise?
- What is the most appropriate approach that will guarantee success in the fight against cybercrime?
During this research, the following will be used as the primary hypotheses:
- The US law enforcement agencies have been sufficiently equipped with knowledge and tools to fight cybercrime.
- Cybercrime is a global issue that cannot be eliminated by the US law enforcement agencies alone.
- Differences in legislations and the need to maintain good international relations have undermined the fight against cybercrimes.
This research will be done using a mixed research methodology14. Mixed methodology is one that involves the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods. This methodology is good because it allows the two approaches to take care of each other’s shortcomings15. It gives the researcher an opportunity to have the services of a more in-depth qualitative research that gives insights into the research topic as well as the services of the quantitative method which is more predictive and good in comparisons16. For this study, there is need to establish the facts behind the US law enforcement agencies’ inability to stop the increasing cybercrime rate.
To achieve such insights, qualitative research method is the most appropriate. There is also need to compare the origins of detected cybercrime cases on the basis of local and foreign. Similarly, the number of successful prosecutions should also be compared on the basis of local and foreign. These comparisons can best be achieved using quantitative approach.
The target population will be the law enforcement agencies in the United States. This is because they are the people who face any challenges associated with fighting cybercrime. Participants will be determined through sampling. For the quantitative data collection, only one questionnaire will be given to the head of the police division that deals with cybercrimes. This questionnaire will have the following questions:
- What are the major categories of cybercrimes that your department deals with?
- How many of each of these categories did your department detect between 1st of January to 31st of December 2012?
- How many crimes of each category were committed by the perpetrators inside the US?
- How many crimes of each category were committed by the perpetrators outside the US?
- How many of the perpetrators staying in the US were prosecuted?
- How many of the perpetrators staying outside the US were prosecuted?
|Category||No. of Cybercrimes perpetrated in 2012||No. with Perpetrators in the US||No. with Perpetrators outside the US||No. with Perpetrators Prosecuted||No. Not prosecuted|
Qualitative Data: With the prediction power of 0.95, it was found that a sample size of 78 participants would be appropriate17. The participants will be randomly selected by use of their registers. The questionnaires to be used will have the following questions:
- What are the approaches you’ve been using to curb cybercrimes?
- Do you think you are adequately trained to deal with cybercrimes?
- Do you think you have the required tools to deal with cybercrimes?
- What are the biggest obstacles in dealing with cybercrime?
- Why do you think cybercrime has remained significantly high?
Before the commencement of this study, the researcher will seek consent from all the participants. They will be served with letters spelling out the requirements for participation and what they should expect. The researcher will also seek consent from the police department and human ethics committee.
Costing and Timeframe
The study will cost $500 for transport, library access, binding, and stationary. The research will be done within 7 weeks. The first one week will be for preparation and approvals, one week for literature review, two weeks for data collection and three weeks for data analysis.
The quantitative data will be analysed using the SPSS software and the results will be interpreted18. Qualitative data will be analysed through thematic analysis where it will be organised into themes19.
Verification of the results
Before the results are published, the participants will be invited to make their comments. The cyber space security experts and the international relations experts will also be invited to make comments. The results will then be published.
Brenner, Susan W. “Organized cybercrime? How cyberspace may affect the structure of criminal relationships,” North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology, 4, no. 1(2010): 37-41.
Cresswell JW, Fetters MD, Ivankova NV. “Designing a mixed methods study in primary care”, Ann Fam Med. 2 (2004): 7–12.
Dunn, John E. “Cybercrime now major drag on financial service,” Technology and Crime 4, no. 2 (2012): 6-11.
Finklea, Kristin M. & Catherine A. Theohary. Cybercrime: Conceptual Issues for Congress and U.S. Law Enforcement. Washington: Congressional Research Service, 2013.
Gordon, Sarah and Richard Ford. “On the definition and classification of cybercrime,” Journal of Computer Virology 2 (2006): 13-17.
Jewkes, Y., & Yar, M. Policing cyber crime: Emerging Trends and Future Challenges. 3(1) (2008): 580-599.
Stol, W. Ph., Leukfeldt, E. R. & Domenie, M. M. L. (2011). “Internet, Crime and the Police”, Journal of Police Studies, 20 (3) (2011): 59-81.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2013. Comprehensive Study on Cybercrime. New York: United Nations, 2013.
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Comprehensive Study on Cybercrime (New York: United Nations, 2013), 6.
- Susan, Brenner W. Organized cybercrime? “How cyberspace may affect the structure of criminal relationships,” North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology, 4, no. 1 (2010): 37-41.
- Susan, Brenner W. Organized cybercrime?, 39.
- Kristin, Finklea M. & Catherine A. Theohary, Cybercrime: Conceptual Issues for Congress and U.S. Law Enforcement (Washington: Congressional Research Service, 2013), 6.
- Stol, W. Ph., Leukfeldt, E. R. & Domenie, M. M. L. (2011). Internet, Crime and the Police. Journal of Police Studies, 20 (3) (2011). 59.
- Ibid, 66.
- Jewkes, Y., & Yar, M. (2008). Policing cyber crime: emerging trends and future challenges. 3(1) (2008): 580.
- Ibid, 583.
- Ibid, 584.
- Ibid, 585.
- Ibid, 587.
- John, Dunn E. “Cybercrime now major drag on financial service,” Technology and Crime 4, no. 2 (2012): 6-11
- Sarah, Gordon & Richard Ford, “On the definition and classification of cybercrime”. Journal of Computer Virology 2 (2006): 13.
- Cresswell JW, Fetters MD, Ivankova NV. “Designing a mixed methods study in primary care”. Ann Fam Med. 2 (2004):7.
- Ibid, 8.
- Ibid, 10.
- Ibid, 11
- Ibid, 12.