While justice is at the US democratic system’s heart, the present criminal justice system faces increasingly complex issues ranging from terrorism, human trafficking to drug crimes.
Professionals with careers revolving around criminal justice, such as criminal investigators and researchers, face these tough daily challenges to improve public safety, reduce crimes, and serve and protect society.
At this point, people pursuing a career in criminal justice, including law enforcement, criminology, forensic science, and most importantly, criminal investigations, must join hands to make a meaningful impact in their communities to reduce the country’s crime rate.
Society has come a long way from carrying heavier clubs made of woods as weapons to instill fear in people; presently, most crimes are organized online. Criminal investigators need to stay on top of their game if they’re to curtail the high crime rate in the country effectively.
Who Is a Criminal Investigator?
Criminal investigators are an integral part of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. They help solve open cases that extend for a long time by collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and even arresting suspects.
The following are the primary areas criminal justice investigators are faced with daily:
With the rise of internet usage comes the correlating danger of increased cybercrime. Cybercrimes include extortion, identity theft, cyberbullying, and data breaches.
With the rise of internet-related crimes in the country, cybercrime is now a significant area of focus for criminal justice investigators.
From the criminal justice investigators gathering evidence to the criminal justice system authorities influencing laws and policies around cybersecurity, to the law enforcement agents and prosecutors, everyone has a role to play in addressing cybercrime in today’s interconnected world.
In September 2019, about 75,000 inmates were in federal prisons due to a drug-related offense. This number is like 45 percent of the total prison population. Criminal justice experts also estimate that 65 percent of the total US prison population suffers from substance use disorder.
Drug crimes have always been difficult to battle for all involved in the criminal justice system, including criminal justice investigators. Furthermore, with the growing opioid epidemic, the American criminal justice system has witnessed a considerable strain due to the constant arrests. Therefore, criminal investigators have significant roles to play here in discovering the druglord so the syndicate can be disbanded and those involved arrested. This act will help discourage people from trying to form new ones.
A recent report released by the US department of state shows that 24.9 million women, children, and men suffer from sexual exploitation and forced labor worldwide. The US also ranks high among the worst countries that practice this type of modern-day slavery. Human trafficking is a significant crime that criminal investigators pay utmost attention to. At the same time, several laws and policies exist to safeguard people, especially children and women, from this menace.
Factors Affecting Successful Criminal Investigations
Several factors always impede criminal investigations. The following are some of the areas that stall the attainment of successful criminal investigations:
The High Incarceration Rate
There are over two million people incarcerated in the country, with about seven million persons under supervision. Thus, there’s a need to figure out ways to stop these crimes, seeing its effect extends to the larger societies where they occur.
Economic experts have revealed that the United States spends about $50 billion annually in correctional efforts.
The Three Strikes Legislation
Many states have introduced and are presently using the three-strikes legislation. This legislation implies that when a person is convicted thrice, they’re “out.” Nevertheless, recidivism or repeating a crime after receiving punishment declines as the offender gets older.
There’s a need to discover preventive paradigms and alternate sentencing, seeing as these mandatory sentences don’t consider the likelihood that the offender will offend again given the legislation.
Drug Use and Crime
At the point of arrest, between 50 to 80 percent of offenders often test positive to drugs. This relationship between drug users and criminal activities has existed for a long time. One of the challenges criminal investigators and researchers experience here is figuring out the best way to tackle this problem.
We’ll need to decide if decriminalizing a drug will reduce its usage to understand the criminal system.
Violence Against Women
The National Institute of Justice has, through one of its reports, indicated that about 1.3 million women experience physical assault from an intimate partner yearly, with an increased amount of stalking than in previous decades.
There’s need to increase the criminal justice system’s effective response to these crimes.
To ensure a successful criminal justice system, criminal investigators and researchers will need to work with other key players in the system to communicate locally, think strategically, and act ethically to develop comprehensive solutions to terrorism and crimes.