After watching the recent series of Underbelly, which was set in the 1970s, you forget how good the criminals had it back in the day. None of the state police forces worked in tandem, there were no databases, and DNA evidence wasn’t even on the radar.
Today, being a criminal must be hard work – not just to earn a dollar but to stay one step ahead of the law. Think about it – there are street cameras everywhere; there is a DNA database that is being added to every day; there are new ways of tracing criminal activity; databases are shared by a mere click of the button; and the Internet can get a criminal’s ugly mug to millions of people in a matter of seconds.
Take William Stewart
for instance, who has become a bit of a folk hero in New Zealand over the past few weeks. This guy, if he wants to stay free, would not want his face plastered all over the Internet. Now he has, not one, but two Facebook pages dedicated to his exploits and some wily entrepreneur has started selling Billy the Hunted One t-shirts online.
Dont’ get me wrong, I’m not that naïve to think that criminals haven’t also moved with the times and are using technology to help their cause, too. They can track police scanners, use mobile phones to talk to each other, and, especially in the case of cybercrime, have found fresh fields to do what they do.
However, I can’t help but feel that technology has given law enforcement more help than the criminal. Here’s hoping it continues.