The Evolution of Crime-Fighting

evolution of crime fighting

If you’re ever flipping through TV channels and you stumble across a rerun of an old cop show from the ‘80s or early ‘90s, pause and watch it for a few minutes. You may be surprised by how different those shows are from today’s police procedurals. The crimes being investigated have changed. Crime-fighting techniques and skills have evolved. And the casts of characters look different, representing the increasingly diverse landscape of America. These shows may be fictional, but they do reflect important changes in the real world – changes that criminal justice professionals must understand.

Ashford University offers two degree programs for students interested in careers in the criminal justice field. Both the Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree programs are built on a multidisciplinary foundation that is designed to help students succeed in a diverse, evolving society.

“The multidisciplinary nature is expanding as the U.S. becomes an increasingly multicultural society,” said Dr. Wendy Hicks, Program Chair of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program at Ashford University. “It is vital for a student of criminal justice to understand culturally appropriate levels of communication and different ways of understanding the world in which we live."

Just as the communities that criminal justice professionals protect and serve have evolved and grown more diverse, the crimes being investigated have changed too. Criminal justice professionals must now be prepared to tackle crimes that have become far more complex and sophisticated.

“Our classes are designed to take into account the increasing diversity of the U.S., new schools of thought about crime and disorder, and new technologies for combatting crime, disorder, and terrorism, both within our concrete reality as well as in cyberspace,” said Dr. Hicks.

While terrorism has been a global problem for a long time, it emerged as a major domestic threat within the last two decades. America has unfortunately endured multiple terror attacks in recent years and has successfully thwarted numerous other terrorist plots. Criminal justice professionals are playing a key role in stopping terrorism and investigating terrorist acts.

To help prepare students to understand terrorist threats, Ashford’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice program offers a specialization dedicated specifically to Homeland Security. The specialization focuses on topics such as the causes and effects of terrorism, the roles of different agencies in upholding homeland security, and the recognition of real and perceived threats.

Similarly, the degree program also offers a specialization in Cybercrime & Technology, another area that wasn’t a significant concern for crime fighters twenty years ago. But just as business transactions, personal interaction, and data storage have increasingly moved online, crime has followed. The umbrella of cybercrime includes identity theft, hacking, ransomware, cyberstalking, computer intrusion, online predatory behavior, and more. It’s pervasive, disruptive, and costly. The Ponemon Institute’s Cost of Data Breach Study determined that the average cost of a data breach for businesses is $4 million.

Ashford students who opt for the Cybercrime & Technology specialization will explore the complicated world of online crime. The curriculum covers up-to-date techniques for protecting potential victims from cyber criminals, retrieving data from computers and other devices, and managing an internet crime scene.

We never saw an episode of Miami Vice that revolved around Crockett and Tubbs securing an internet crime scene, but the times have definitely changed. The world has moved forward and the criminal justice field must keep pace to protect us from today’s threats and whatever new threats await in the future.

Written by Erik Siwak, Communications Manager for Bridgepoint Education

For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed this program, and other important information, please visit http://www.ashford.edu/pd/omscj.

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