The Chicago Syndicate: The 20 Critical Moments That Changed the Way We Think About Crime

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The 20 Critical Moments That Changed the Way We Think About Crime

A website called Top Criminal Justice Schools has published an article about "The 20 Critical Moments That Changed the Way We Think About Crime." The piece offers a fascinating and free look at how law enforcement has evolved over the past century and the resulting impacts on society.

The topics chosen for the article are meant as a resource for students who are interested in criminal justice education. Critical moments on the list include:

  • Targeting the Mafia Through Tax Evasion Prosecution When Mafia gangsters ruled the streets, the Supreme Court ruled that their illegal income was taxable. Federal authorities gained a new weapon against organized crime.
  • The Failure of Alcohol Prohibition In the 1920s, U.S. authorities learned that some laws can create far more negative impacts than positive. Alcohol prohibition increased organized crime and caused many deaths and injuries from homemade alcohol.
  • The War on Drugs The U.S. war on drugs has been one of the most costly, deadly and fruitless attempts at law enforcement.
  • Advent of Social Media Social media provides untold advantages for law enforcement. Criminal activity is easier to observe, investigate and prevent.
  • Rise in Cyber Crime and the Development of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Laws against computer-related crimes were developed in the 1980s. The article asserts that further regulations are needed to reduce computer fraud.
  • Fight Against School Shootings Strict no-tolerance policies often force unreasonable punishments for minor violations, yet the incidents of school violence have not lessened.
  • Megan's Law, Jessica's Law, and the Sex Offender Registry The national Sex Offender Registry gives law enforcement better access to sexual offender information and greater capabilities to find and prosecute sexual criminals.
  • The Development of the Department of Homeland Security Several U.S. government and military agencies joined forces after 9/11 to share information and work in unison to avert terrorist attacks.
  • The USA Patriot Act The launch of the Patriot Act is another moment that changed the way we think about crime. The new law expanded the powers of domestic law enforcement to search private homes and properties without warrants.
  • The Rise of Private Prisons and the Questions of Cash Incentives This topic explores the scandal-ridden practice of privatized prisons. According to the article, prisons-for-profit are the cause of major corruption in the justice system. 
  • The Use of Drones in Domestic Law Enforcement The use of remote controlled drones for surveillance has become more and more common in the last decade.  While no known instances exist of weaponized drones in domestic use, the possibility has some American citizens and civil liberty experts on edge.
  • The NSA and Passive Data Collection Edward Snowden helped expose the NSA's all-encompassing data collection system that includes phone and Internet records for all American citizens.  The legality of the NSA program is still under question and has resulted in strong public backlash.

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