The most recent addition to the list of states that have created a special law-enforcement unit specifically to deal with cyber crime is California.
“Today`s criminals increasingly use the Internet, smartphones, and other digital devices to victimize people online and offline,” said California State`s Attorney General Kamala Harrise in a statement. “I am creating the eCrime Unit so that California can be a leader in using innovative law enforcement techniques to target these criminals.”
The big upsurge in cyber and technology-related crimes throughout the state likely inspired the creation of the unit. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2010 California was ranked number 1 in the country in terms of identity theft with more than a million Californian residents falling victim to the crime. Additionally, last year the state lost over $46 million as a result of identity theft.
The new unit will focus on catching criminals involved in other types of technological crimes as well. These will include fraud via the internet in the form of phishing and other email scams; any online exploitation of children such as child pornography rings or individuals who utilize the internet and social media to facilitate sex crimes against minors; software piracy and other intellectual property crimes; as well as the theft of computer services or components.
“Where there are predators and predatory practices, we want to ensure we have the skills and technology to go after them and that there is accountability and consequences,” said Harris, according to The L.A. Times.
Currently, twenty attorneys and investigators have been assigned to the eCrime Unit. It is anticipated that the number will grow as Harris claims to have redistributed resources within her office specifically in order to strengthen the unit.
Prior to the creation of the unit, unclear jurisdiction slowed up the prosecution of tech crime perpetrators which caused ambiguity throughout the counties regarding how cases were to proceed.
California`s eCrime Unit has been up and running since August and has already played a hand in several large investigations.