It’s the year 2020 – which means, the future is upon us. And, as we look back at the past 20 years, it is apparent that business, technology and cultural norms have rapidly evolved.
So, it is no wonder that criminals and the crimes they commit have also evolved – and will continue to evolve in our crazy world.
Experts believe that so-called “traditional” crimes will continue to give way to cyber-crimes. Essentially, the street hustlers and bank robbers will be replaced with discreet hackers and computer savvy criminals who can operate from behind closed doors.
Here are some crimes that are sure to surface in the near future. And, on the flip side, here are some examples of how future technology will enable law enforcement to be more efficient and effective.
Crimes of the Future
As medical technology becomes more sophisticated and mainstream, many of us will become dependent on Wi-Fi enabled medical implants. Current examples are insulin pumps and pacemakers. But, with the way technology is moving, that list will continue to grow to the point where large swathes of the population will be fitted with hi-tech medical devices.
When that happens, it is inevitable that criminals will figure out how to hack your implant and install malware, which is shorthand for ‘malicious software.’
The malware could be used to for murder, assault, blackmail, revenge or other nefarious objectives that we’ve yet to even contemplate.
Cyber-Jacking and Assault
The sophistication of today’s computer hackers will pale in comparison to those in the future. As new technologies emerge, the criminal elements of society always seem to be one step ahead. With the advent of self-driving technology for automobiles and the evolving tech surrounding aircraft flight management systems, there is a significant possibility that criminals will cyber-jack aircraft and cars.
Cyber-jacking is a scary thought, especially considering that passengers in the plane or car will not even be able to confront their attacker. Controlling an aircraft from the ground with ill-intent is something that law enforcement and those in the airline industry will have to deal with in the near future.
And then, there’s cyber assaults. So many people have ‘smart’ devices in their homes, ranging from refrigerators to televisions to security cameras. Now, imagine a hacker gaining control of these devices and using them to attack you – like hacking your lighting system to an insanely bright level, causing temporary blindness. Or, using your own security cameras to spy on you with the aim of assisting a physical intruder to learn about your movements and attack you at your most vulnerable moments.
When it comes to financial fraud, most everyday citizens fear the thought of fraudulent credit card charges. Brick attacks are far worse than anyone could possibly imagine. Basically, hackers implant malware into a computer system and then render them useless. After a brick attack, you cannot even turn on the server or computer ever again.
So, if sophisticated hackers were able to gain access to say, Bank of America’s system, they could wipe away all of the financial data – bankrupting the monstrous bank and leaving its customers penniless.
Genetic Data Theft
As biometric security (i.e. fingerprint scanners, retina scans, etc.) becomes increasingly popular for both commercial and personal use, so does the market for black market genetic data.
Like anything in this world, it’s about supply and demand. So, as old-fashioned lock and key security gives way to retina scans, there will be a demand for illegally obtained retina data and a whole slew of other genetic material. If the demand is there, there surely will be plenty of criminals willing to provide the supply.
Crime-Stopping in the Future
We’ve all noticed it over the past decade – cameras are everywhere! Whether it’s a group of teens taking selfies or your local municipality monitoring downtown with CCTV, we just cannot escape cameras capturing footage of everything and everybody.
Over the next 15 years, we will see an explosion of security cameras in public spaces. Nowhere will be safe from the watchful eye of Big Brother. From alleys, to apartment buildings, to parking garages, every square inch of public life will be monitored.
Taking this into consideration and coupling it with the emerging technology of AI (artificial intelligence), law enforcement will certainly have an advantage in capturing moments of criminal activity in real-time. And the AI will allow police to immediately identify the culprit.
While some may fear this is an intrusion on privacy, others will cheer the positive ramifications, namely – increased efficiency in finding missing persons and fugitives, while eliminating faulty witness identification.
It’s no secret that the global drug trade is one of the most pressing issues facing our law enforcement community. The violence begins in the country of the drug’s origin and it follows all the way to the nation of the narcotic’s consumption.
Experts opine that, as more nations decriminalize illegal narcotics, the violence will be reduced significantly, as the black-market shrinks. Not only will decriminalization make an impact, but so will the new trend of illegal dark web transactions. Over the past few years, more and more drug deals occur anonymously on dark web markets. Since no one ever meets face-to-face on these transactions, the violence associated with drug deals is reduced.
No one knows for sure if decriminalization will lead to a significant reduction in violence and arrests, but governments are willing to give it a try, given that the current system is not working very well.
Analytics is all the rave these days. Whether its professional sports or marketing firms, everyone is using ‘data’ to get a step ahead of the competition. And, along those lines, law enforcement is also implementing predictive analytics to track past criminal activity in order to predict future behavior.
As more and more data points are inputted into the software, the analytics will ‘learn’ exponentially, and, in turn, become more effective. Truly, the sky’s the limit with predictive analytics, and its usefulness could become a game-changer when it comes to crime prevention and reduction.
There are so many possibilities for the future of crime and its prevention. Have you recently read or heard anything of interest that belongs on this list?
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