National Criminal Justice Reference Service


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National Criminal Justice Reference Service is a very comprehensive and detailed web site. It is constructed in such a way that any person willing to get information on different types of crimes, statistics and laws information could get a direct link to the needed subject. There are many topics connected to the laws, regulations and various crime types, with lots of sub topics which provide an in depth understanding of the matter. I would like to focus more on the three themes found on this web site.

An identity theft information is provided under the In the Spotlight section, which leads to a thought that that type of crime is a common crime and people should know about it more in terms of where the danger may come from and how to protect oneself from being robbed. This section gives an overview of different categories of identity theft, there is a useful list of known tricks through which thieves try to get your money. Robbers can get information from businesses or other institutions by: stealing records from their employer, bribing an employee who has access to these records, or hacking into the organization's computers; this important information can be of vital necessity to those who never paid attention to things like that. This section also tells a reader about new “innovative" decisions in this theft industry, which are not extensively known and employed. Another significant point is the information on who does the investigation of such type of crimes and the fact that these crimes are considered as separate crime against an individual. Also it gives an overall data about the penalties for theft crimes.

The hate crime summary section presents a brief definition of the hate crime and gives a short history and statistics of this crime type. It is understood that hate crimes are not only hard to define but also difficult to investigate and to gather statistics as hate crimes are very individual in their origin and require certain precise approach. Thus the Congress has passed many pieces of legislation in order to help shape the future of hate crime initiatives and preventative measures. There is also a list of these legislative documents with links to them provided for the simplicity of access to users of the site. Hate crimes are under the investigative control of the FBI's Bias Crimes Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) church arson and explosives experts. A number of such serious agencies is a notification of how big this problem stands in American society. Agencies such as Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) are all sponsor and fund grantees to develop programs, and to provide training assistance to individuals and local agencies regarding hate crimes. These links can be of great value to those who became victims of hate crimes and seek for help.

The third section being reviewed is the Women and Girls in Criminal Justice System part of the site. This segment gives an overview of how female criminal issues have become such a serious problem. It states that nowadays there is a rising number of female offenders which led to the development of gender-specific programs to address the issue. It shows that historically women were not considered violent and serious offenders, but the trend is different today and this issue needs to be closely investigated. The site provides statistics to prove that even in the last decade women have been committing more crimes, and serious crimes. It also reflects the figures of various governmental institutions declaring that imprisonment rate increased 88 percent; and the per capita number of offenders under parole supervision was up 80 percent. The page also provides the possible reasons as to why this sad statistics are true now; the reason include substance abuse, mental illness, and spousal abuse. Moreover, there is also a trend of female crimes being committed by young girls, the fact that is proved by Juvenile Justice Journal statements. As the two previous subdivisions this part also includes a lot of links to the most recent and comprehensive publications, statistics, legislation, and other facts concerning the investigated topic.

The overall usefulness of this site can be truly valued more if a detailed research of its possibilities and real potential was conducted. However, even such quick glance on the three sectors of it, was enough to understand that this is a powerful search engine for those looking for new legislative implementation, statistical notes, investigation background of various crimes, and any other relative topics.

The evident connection of the information provided on this site, can be found in any mass media channel, a great deal of it is placed in the newspapers’ pages. Taking for instance the most recent New York Times newspaper, in which the problem of thefts caused by wireless internet is introduced. The article talks about identity theft and the possible problematic issues the technological breakthrough can cause in the future and causes already. Those kinds of articles and news appear everywhere constantly and we cannot ignore them, as they are part of the world we live in. We can only protect ourselves and people around us by being properly and timely informed about such things.

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