Criminology – a science with prospects

Sherlock Holmes, a fictional detective of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, used deduction in order to solve difficult cases. In the 21st century, crime is combated by other means – with the use of a computer and special software.

Combating crime in the 21st century, the influence of technological changes on investigation techniques, as well as contemporary criminology will be discussed by doctor Piotr Chlebowicz from the Chair of Criminology and Criminal Politics at the Faculty of Law and Administration UWM.

– Does modern information technology have any impact on combating crime? Is the image of Sherlock Holmes with a magnifying glass still actual?

– Today we can observe a huge change in the strategies for combating crime. The police and other special services use more and more of various equipment and IT tools. Their role is to support officers when conducting criminal proceedings or during operations. Thus, one may say that the magnifying glass was replaced with a computer and special software. But of course, humans with their knowledge and competence are the most important.

– What are the reasons for the change in strategies for combating crime?

– The trends in changes of investigation techniques are motivated by two sets of factors. The first one concerns politics, as when Poland joined the EU, standards represented by services of Western countries had to be introduced. That was the reason for creating so-called “criminal intelligence” in the structures of the Polish police. The other set of factors is connected with the society and technology, because the clearly increased importance of technology resulted in social changes. It constitutes a great challenge from the perspective of the state apparatus.

– Do the discussed changes result from the development of a so-called “information society”?

– Yes, they do. Let's take a look at the infamous Amber Gold case. There are 530 boxes and 196 binders of documents related to the case. Electronic data amounts to 7 terabytes. Watching films that are recorded on DVDs, of a total capacity of 1 TB, would take 18 days and nights. It is beyond human perception capability, it is the Sisyphean task. That is the reason why new technologies have been used in data analyses. Technology cannot replace the legal logic and assessment of the evidence, but it can be really helpful.

- Criminology is very popular, especially among students. How would you assess criminology advancement in Poland?

– I believe that criminology, or more broadly speaking, crime sciences that explore issues concerning crime on various levels, are interesting per se. The Chair of Criminology in Olsztyn investigates different areas of crime, such as green criminology, bias-motivated crime, or criminal careers. These are interdisciplinary issues. It proves the belief that the most interesting problems combine various branches of science. Thus, it seems to me that criminology is a science with many prospects.

Sylwia Zadworna
Transl. by AP


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