Everyone relies on digital information these days. Every time someone conducts an online search, the digital world generates results. Cable television and streaming services work via digital technology as well, so everyday entertainment largely revolves around this type of information. An ever-growing number of people work and attend school remotely, making digital resources vital to them. Those are only a few examples of how the digital realm has inundated so many aspects of life. Though many people fail to realize it, this technology has worked its way into the criminal justice system, too.
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The Digital and Legal Worlds Become One
At present, a significant portion of the criminal justice system involves digital evidence. This category encompasses any type of evidence captured in digital form. It could be pictures taken via a smartphone, digital video, and several other types of proof of a person’s guilt or innocence. Though it’s true that digital media can be tampered with, experts and various tools can determine whether tampering has taken place and send up red flags if it has. Truly reliable digital information can serve as evidence in criminal cases as long as it has been collected and stored through compliant means.
What Constitutes Digital Evidence?
With digital tools being so prevalent in today’s world, digital evidence is readily available. It can come from an array of sources. Police body cams are among the most common. Though the use of these tools is a bit controversial, it has provided helpful evidence in countless situations. Of course, those are only one source of evidence to consider. Others are also widely used at this point.
Some 20 million homes in America are equipped with video doorbells, according to recent reports. That figure is expected to grow moving forward. These tools can be extremely helpful for capturing criminals in action. They’re known for catching intruders and vandals and alert homeowners if suspicious activity is taking place. Additionally, they’ve captured numerous people attempting to steal packages. They’ve also provided evidence of criminal activity taking place on surrounding properties.
By some accounts, up to 70 percent of commercial vehicle owners are now using dashcams. While many commercial vehicles are equipped with them, they’re also becoming increasingly common in personal vehicles. These cameras have recorded countless accidents, providing evidence as to who was at fault and which factors led up to the incidents. They also capture vehicle vandalism and break-ins. If someone steals fuel or a license plate from a vehicle with a dashcam, the chances are good they’ll be caught. This could greatly reduce vehicle-related crimes and increase the rate of convictions.
Digital evidence can also be captured via traffic cameras. An ever-growing number of those cameras grace the nation’s roadways. Though they’re often used to detect speeders, they can also record accidents. They can seek out license plates on stolen vehicles or vehicles used in crimes. In turn, the evidence they gather can be used to prove fault and convict criminals.
Using Technology to People’s Fullest Advantage
There are endless ways to take advantage of technology these days. Fortunately, digital evidence has also made a grand appearance in the criminal justice system. Digital evidence has aided in convicting numerous criminals and solving crimes that might have otherwise gone cold. Moving forward, it’s bound to become an even more crucial component of this sector.