The Fight Against Cybercrime Is As Much A Local Fight As a National Or International Fight
Local police & sheriff departments are the first responders for their citizens, but in the war against cybercrime, most of them have thrown up their hands and told their citizens there is nothing they can do!
But there is very much they can do, especially when it comes to tracing and recovering the money!
However, local police need financial support to get the tools, training, and even personnel needed to do the job well.
Local Police Combatting Cybercrime
It is crucial for local police to actively combat cybercrime, scams, and fraud while providing support to victims through investigation and money recovery for several reasons:
- Protection of the Community: Cybercrime, scams, and fraud have a direct impact on the community. Almost every one of their local residents can become a victim, and many already have become one. By prioritizing these investigations, local police can better safeguard individuals and businesses from financial losses, identity theft, and other detrimental consequences. Their efforts contribute to maintaining trust, security, and overall well-being within the community. They are the first responders and can help victims better understand options, gain support, and be the tip of the spear in recovering their money.
- Prevention and Deterrence: By actively investigating cybercrime and fraud cases, local police send a strong message that these activities will not be tolerated. Taking decisive action against offenders helps deter potential criminals, discouraging them from engaging in fraudulent activities. The fear of facing legal consequences acts as a deterrent, especially for scammers and cybercriminals acting locally, thereby protecting potential victims from falling prey to scams. Local con men/women are turning to cybercrime in vast numbers because it is easy and they think safe. This needs to be stopped, and this can only happen at the local level. In addition, local police have the authority role to help educate their community to avoid these crimes.
- Collaboration with National and International Agencies: Cybercrime knows no boundaries, and often these criminal activities transcend local jurisdictions, while still having a local nexus with money mules. By engaging in investigations, local police can collaborate with national and international law enforcement agencies, sharing intelligence and resources. This collaboration strengthens the collective efforts to combat cybercrime, enhances investigative capabilities, and increases the chances of apprehending criminals operating across borders. This has been almost completely absent in the last two decades as these crimes have exploded worldwide.
- Support for Victims: Victims of cybercrime, scams, and fraud often face significant financial and emotional distress. Local police involvement provides front-line support to victims through the way local police take these crimes seriously and the investigation process, offering reassurance, guidance, and a sense of justice. Additionally, by actively working on money recovery, police contribute to the restoration of victims’ financial well-being, minimizing the long-term impact of the crime. Local victims need to feel that they can turn to their local police, and when the do it increases the reporting levels of these crimes from the current less than 5% to where it needs to be!
- Enhanced Public Trust: Proactive engagement by local police in combating cybercrime and fraud fosters public trust and confidence in law enforcement agencies. It demonstrates their commitment to protecting the community’s interests and addressing emerging threats effectively. This trust is essential for encouraging victims to come forward, report crimes, and collaborate with the police during investigations. This is something that has been almost completely lacking and many jurisdictions be telling victims that there is nothing that they can do.
- Knowledge and Expertise Development: Engaging in cybercrime investigations provides local police with valuable opportunities to develop specialized knowledge and expertise in this rapidly evolving field. This experience strengthens their investigative skills, equips them with the necessary tools to tackle future cyber threats, and enables them to better serve the community’s needs. In most places around the world, cybercrime, scams, and fraud are now almost half of all crimes and affect almost every resident in one way or another. There is very much that local police can do, especially when there are money mules and accessories involved, and even more so when they can play a role in recovering money using the Interpol model to recover bank wire transfers (automatic push payments) or tracing and recovering cryptocurrency.
By prioritizing the fight against cybercrime, scams, and fraud, local police play a crucial role in protecting the community, preventing future crimes, supporting victims, fostering collaboration, and enhancing public trust. Their dedication and proactive approach contribute to a safer and more secure environment for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole.
Raising Money For Local Police To Fight Cybercrime, Scams, And Fraud
Local police can raise money to obtain additional tools & technology, training, and personnel to help fight cybercrimes, scams, and fraud in a number of ways, including:
- Grants: There are a number of government agencies and foundations that offer grants to law enforcement agencies to help them with their cybercrime prevention and response efforts. For example, the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs offers the COPS Technology Program, which provides grants to law enforcement agencies to help them purchase equipment and technology to combat cybercrime.
- Fundraising: Local police departments can also raise money through fundraising events, such as bake sales, car washes, and 5K runs. These events can be a great way to raise awareness of cybercrime and the importance of funding law enforcement efforts to combat it. Just as important is that this tells your communities that you take these crimes seriously and are moving to take a much more active role in combatting them.
- Corporate sponsorships: Local police departments can also partner with businesses to raise money for their cybercrime prevention and response efforts. For example, a local bank might sponsor a cybercrime awareness campaign or donate money to help the police department purchase new equipment. With proper staffing, training, and tools local police can play a real role in helping local businesses understand the threats and risks associated with cybercrime – something that almost none of them are doing right now.
- Individual donations: Local police departments can also accept individual donations from the public. These donations can be used to purchase equipment, fund training, or hire new personnel to help fight cybercrime.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe and Kickstarter allow people to donate money to specific causes. This can be a great way to raise money for cybercrime prevention and response efforts, especially if the department has a specific goal in mind, such as purchasing new equipment or hiring a new cybercrime investigator. This can be done through local associations like the PBA, Police Officer charities, membership organizations like local Rotary Clubs, etc.
By combining crowdfunding platforms with community partnerships, government grants, fundraising events, and other fundraising avenues, local police departments can increase their chances of acquiring the necessary resources to combat cybercrimes, scams, and fraud effectively. Engaging the community and fostering collaboration is key to generating support and ensuring the success of these fundraising endeavors.
In addition to these methods, local police departments can also work with their local governments to increase funding for cybercrime prevention and response efforts, after all the local government is also at risk and needs local police leadership to help them prevent, mitigate, and recover from cybercrime, scams, and fraud just like the general public. By raising awareness of the issue and working with partners in the community, local police departments can help to make their communities safer from cybercrime.
The Ideal Model
At a minimum, local police should aim to make their departments the essential resource in supporting local victims: supporting victims and referring them to appropriate help such as SCARS, educating them about financial support that may be available at the county and state level, investigating and recovering their money. But given that in most communities these crimes are or are approaching a majority of all crime, the local police need to transform into the local cybercrime experts.
Local police and sheriff’s departments can develop effective resources to combat cybercrime, scams, and fraud at the local level by:
- Partnering with the community: One of the most important things that local police and sheriff’s departments can do to combat cybercrime is to partner with the local community, including the local government. This means working with businesses, schools, and other organizations to raise awareness of cybercrime and its risks. It also means providing resources to help people protect themselves and recover from cybercrime.
- Investing in training: Local police and sheriff’s departments need to invest in training for their officers so that they can be effective in investigating and responding to cybercrime. This training should cover topics such as how to identify cybercrime, how to collect evidence, how to trace and recover victims’ money, and how to work with other law enforcement agencies nationally and even internationally – including Interpol.
- Using technology: Local police and sheriff’s departments need to use technology to their advantage in the fight against cybercrime. This means investing in tools and software that can help them investigate cybercrime and track down criminals. It also means using social media and other online platforms to communicate with the public about cybercrime risks and prevention tips on a constant basis.
- Staying up-to-date: Cybercrime is constantly evolving, so it’s important for local police and sheriff’s departments to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. This means reading industry publications, attending conferences, and networking with other law enforcement agencies.
- Collaborate with Cybercrime Victim Assistance & Prevention NGOs: By working with large local NGOs, such as SCARS, local police has access to substantial knowledge about how to effectively help victims, and how to recognize emerging threats as they are developing.
By following these steps, local police and sheriff’s departments can develop effective resources to combat cybercrime, scams, and fraud at the local level.
Here are some additional tips for local police and sheriff’s departments that are looking to develop effective resources to combat cybercrime:
- Create a cybercrime task force: A cybercrime task force can bring together law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other experts to share information and resources. Be sure to include local cybersecurity professionals and victims’ advocates. This can help to ensure that the community has a coordinated response to cybercrime.
- Develop a cybercrime prevention plan: A cybercrime prevention plan can help to educate the public about cybercrime risks and prevention tips. This can help to reduce the number of people who fall victim to cybercrime. Make sure that it includes the local schools, both the administration and the students!
- Establish a Cybercrime Reporting Center: A cybercrime reporting center can provide a central location for people to report cybercrime incidents. This can help law enforcement to track cybercrime trends and identify criminals. But equally important is that it will lower that emotional impact on the local victims – most victims feel significant shame, guilt, and fear of judgment. Having a phone reporting hotline and a web reporting form it can significantly increase local cybercrime, scams, and fraud reporting.
- Work with businesses: Businesses are often targeted by cybercriminals. By working with businesses, law enforcement can help to protect businesses from cybercrime and educate employees about cybercrime risks.
By following these tips, local police and sheriff’s departments can better develop effective resources to combat cybercrime, scams, and fraud at the local level.
Additional Tips For Local Police Chiefs & Sheriffs
Here are some additional tips for local police departments that are looking to raise money to fight cybercrime:
- Be clear about your goals: Before you start fundraising, it’s important to be clear about what you’re raising money for. Are you looking to purchase new equipment? Fund training? Hire new personnel? Once you know what you’re raising money for, you can develop a fundraising plan that will help you reach your goals.
- Target your audience: When you’re fundraising, it’s important to target your audience. Who are the people who are most likely to donate to your cause? Are they businesses, individuals, or both? Once you know who your audience is, you can tailor your fundraising appeals to them.
- Use social media: Social media is a great way to raise awareness of your cause and generate donations. Share information about cybercrime, your fundraising efforts, and how people can donate.
- Partner with local businesses: Local businesses can be a great source of support for your fundraising efforts. They may be willing to donate money, sponsor an event, or provide in-kind donations.
- Be creative: There are endless ways to raise money for cybercrime prevention and response efforts. Get creative and come up with fundraising ideas that will resonate with your audience.