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The Criminal Justice Studies program encompasses a variety of topics. This section contains links to Web sites that may be of relevance to CJS students, either for working on a class project or for personal curiosity.
Criminal Offenders: To gain insight into crime and criminal offenders, many sites are appropriate. The FBI maintains its famous list of top-10 fugitives as well as a list that contains the names of suspected terrorists who have so far evaded law enforcement.
FBI’s top-10 fugitives
FBI’s most-wanted terrorists
Criminal Activity: A variety of sources provide information about criminal activity in the U.S. These include:
National Crime Victimization Survey
Uniform Crime Report
Bureau of Justice Statistics
National Criminal Justice Research Service
Hate Crime: Increasing concern is being raised in society about hate crime, which generally involves aggression against individuals based on their race, religion, sexual orientation or some other group characteristic. The Southern Poverty Law Center has long been at the forefront of detecting hate crimes and helping the victims seek justice. For students who are interested in information about the numbers and the types of hate groups operating across the nation, as well as on a state-by-state basis, the Hate Group Map provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center is quite useful. The same organization posts a weekly update of hate group activities.
Cyber Crime: As technology rapidly improves and computer use spreads further throughout the world, cyber crime is gaining the attention of law enforcement officials. Computers and the Internet are being used for money laundering by organized crime and terrorist groups, scam operators trying to bilk consumers out of their savings through phony financial schemes, and the illegal sex industry (promoting prostitution and child pornography). The international law enforcement organization Interpol investigates many of these crimes. The FBI also provides information about its efforts against cyber crime.
Environmental Crime: As concerns grow about global warming and other aspects of the environment, more effort is being put forth to apprehend people who engage in environmental crimes, such as illegal dumping of toxic waste or poaching of animals threatened with extinction. Among other agencies, Interpol tracks this kind of activity.
Corruption: Several organizations monitor corruption around the world. Corruption generally involves a high official accepting an illegal gift (bribe) in exchange for extending preferential treatment to a particular individual or business. At the forefront of research in this area is Transparency International. Among other things, this group has determined which nations are the most (and least) corrupt. It may be of interest to see the ranking of the USA in this regard. Interpol also investigates corruption.
The Vidocq Society, composed of experts from many fields of forensic investigation, solves unsolved (cold) cases. It is named after Eugene Vidocq, who revolutionized criminal investigation techniques in 19th century France (and upon whom the character Jean Valjean in the novel Les Miserables is based).
Many people who have been put behind bars are innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted. The advent of DNA testing has helped clarify where mistakes have been made. The Innocence Project has had a large role in determining the innocence of prisoners and securing their release. The role of Elon University in the exoneration of an innocent convict is shown here. Other entities that are involved in obtaining the release of innocent convicts are the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which operates in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., and Truth in Justice.