Many Cyber Offfenses Not Included in Crime Statistics

Many offenses are not counted when major crimes are tallied, such as identity theft, sexual exploitation, ransomware attacks; fentanyl purchases over the dark web; human trafficking for sex or labor; revenge porn; credit card fraud; child exploitation; and gift or credit card schemes that gangs use to raise cash for their traditional operations or vendettas.

The tools used to fight crime and measure U.S. crime trends are outdated. Even as certain kinds of crimes are declining, others are increasing, yet because so many occur online and have no geographic borders, local police departments face new challenges not only fighting them, but also keeping track of them, the New York Times reports. Politicians often promote crime declines without acknowledging the rise of cybercrimes. Keith Squires, Utah’s public safety commissioner, was deep in the fight against opioids when he realized that a lack of data on internet sales of fentanyl was hindering investigations. So he created a team of analysts to track online distribution patterns of the drug. In Philadelphia, hidebound ways of confronting iPhone thefts let illicit networks to distribute stolen cellphones thrive. Detectives treated each robbery as an unrelated street crime — known as “apple picking” — rather than a vast scheme with connected channels used by thieves to sell the stolen phones.

Nashville investigators had no meaningful statistics on the “cheating husband” email scheme. Anonymous extortionists mass-email large numbers of men, threatening to unmask their infidelities. The extortionists have no idea if the men have done anything wrong, but enough of them are guilty that some pay up, sometimes with Bitcoin.  “Suspects take advantage, knowing that ‘Hey, I’m basically committing crimes blindly,’ without the fear of prosecution,” said Capt. Jason Reinbold of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department’s criminal investigations division. “And I can’t analyze something if I don’t have data.” Many offenses are not counted when major crimes are tallied, such as identity theft, sexual exploitation, ransomware attacks; fentanyl purchases over the dark web; human trafficking for sex or labor; revenge porn; credit card fraud; child exploitation; and gift or credit card schemes that gangs use to raise cash for their traditional operations or vendettas.

from https://thecrimereport.org