Influence of technology on Criminal Justice Systems

Criminal Justice

Influence of technology on Criminal Justice Systems


             Technological innovation in the 21st century has fostered the innovation in both hardware and software technological components useful in influencing the operations of criminal justice officers.  The hard components of technology are useful in helping the prevention of crime while at the same time helping the criminals in the commitment of crimes. Soft technological innovation is useful in predictive policing as strategic information is useful in prevention of crimes.  The prevention of crimes in new communities is centered on the reduction of number of offenders as well as reduction in the criminal activities undertaken in a specific locality. The new technology helps police officers use minimal efforts while dealing with crime activities. Ultimately, new technology has influenced the activities of the criminal justice system despite its shortcomings.

Technological Innovations in Crime Prevention and Policing. A Review of the Research on Implementation and Impact

            In this article, the authors, Byrne and Marx (2011), describes the varying component of technological innovation such as the hard and the soft technological components and their influence on the criminal justice system. The research findings are indicative that the soft technological components such as CCTV, street lighting, metal detectors, and ignition interlock drivers are useful in prevention of criminal activities. The technological component that have improved the police activities are the use of less than lethal force, the use of improved protective weapons, computers in squad cars, the use of video in patrol cars as well as the use of hands free police patrol car control. Hard technology entails the equipment that can be used in committing crimes or preventing the occurrence of the crime. The hard technology comprises of equipment, devices and new  materials .

             The hardware technological innovations are centered on the use of measures aimed at preventing the occurrence of crime such as screening in airports, metal detectors in schools, and bullet proof teller window in banks.  The article points out that the only hardware devices with a proven record of crime prevention techniques is the street lights and CCTV cameras. Byrne and Marx (2011), state that areas that are fitted with street lighting have a record of lower criminal activities especially in the USA.  Software technological advancement in threat capabilities’ are used in ensuring that all the different kinds of threats in the country are identified. Additionally, they found out that vulnerability analysis goes alongside threat identification in determination of how much a country is prepared for the imminent threat.  The article does point out concerns in using technological innovation such as the overreliance on technological innovation over human policing. It is essential for the human beings to be in control due to their capabilities to reason and formulate issues as described in the policing framework.

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Understanding the Limits of Technology’s Impact on Police Effectiveness

            Technological innovation has been installed with the expectation that they are going to make a difference in the policing work.  Lum, Koper and Willis (2016), outlines that the ongoing research leaves a gap between the efficiencies of the technological innovation in policing work.  The article outlines the expectation of the policing work in contrast to the realities of the technology in the functional aspect of the police work.

            Technical efficiencies are some of the expectation of the technological innovation in criminal justice system.  Lum, Kooper and Willis (2016), state that the main aim of technological advancement determines the lower cost used while using the minimal amount of resources as well as saving on time. Some of the technological efficiencies are improvement of the record keeping task through computerized recording.  Also, automatic plate detectors help in the identification of the vehicle plates in a short span as opposed to physically scanning the vehicle plates.  The article describes an additional expectation of technological innovation is improving the outcome effectiveness of the police officers. For instance, the police officers have used technology in identification of hotspots thus eventually reducing the crime committed in those hotspots. The article focuses on whether policing has delivered in achieving outcomes or it has merely enhanced the organization efficiencies.

             The research findings are indicative that police officers deem the incorporation of technological work as less than police work. Thus, the overall efficiency of the technological innovation may limit the outcome that the technology innovation in police work should achieve.  The police attitude towards the technology is detrimental towards the achievement of desired results.  Lum, Kooper and Willis (2016), additionally point out that the technological devices may be used for purposes that are different from the intended purpose. For instance, the body worn cameras in policing are deemed as protective of the police officers from the community rather than the intended purpose of increasing accountability.

             The article concludes through an assertion that efficiency in the adoption of technology is a continual process.  The process is connected with many other aspects of policing such as daily routine and deployments in the police force, crime control measures, internal relationships, and interaction with the community.  Each measure should help in ensuring a change of attitude among the policemen regarding the technological devices and using the devices in the appropriate manner.  Strategizing on the use of technological components in policing shall help in achieving its goal.

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             Technological inclusion in criminal justice system can be efficient in some ways. For instance, the introduction of street lights and CCTV cameras has served towards an advancement of efforts in crime reduction. Also,  the use of GIS software have helped in  narrowing down crime locations into hotspots thus determining which area is prone to experience more criminal activity and thus prevention measures undertaken. The efficiency of police work has been simplified through the use computerized databases containing records on criminal activities.  However, research indicates that there are disparities between the expected outcomes and the realities in the police force. For instance, the attitude of the some police officers towards institution of some changes is that the technological changes are going to change the nature of the police work. The desires to carry out activities through a humanistic way make the police officers to have a negative attitude to policing technology. Strategic innovation of the manner in which the policing technology is implemented in actual work places is essential for the success of the whole project. Future research should consider evaluating the kind of factors that inhibit the successful implementation of technological innovation in criminal justice systems. Also, future research should consider ways of eliminating the biasness in the implementation of the technological innovation in the criminal justice systems across various countries.


Byrne, J., & Marx, G.(2011). Technological innovations in crime prevention and policing.A review of the research on implementation and impact. Journal of Police Studies, 20(3), 17-40.

Lum, C., Koper, C. S., & Willis, J.(2017). Understanding the limits of technology’s impact on police effectiveness. Police Quarterly, 20(2), 135-163.

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