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The Changing Nature of Crime and Law Enforcement

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Essay title: The Changing Nature of Crime and Law Enforcement

Law enforcement agencies nationwide must constantly adapt to the changing nature of crime and the ways criminals must be prosecuted. New dangers like terrorism, as well as old ones, such as public corruption, threaten the public and force police agencies to acclimate themselves to this new environment. President Clinton explained the need for the development of the federal and local law enforcement agencies.

"We have begun to find a way to reduce crime, forming community partnerships with local police forces to catch criminals and prevent crime. This strategy, called community policing, is clearly working. But we still have a long way to go before our streets are safe and our people are free from fear. Our next step in the fight against crime is to take on gangs the way we once took on the mob. I'm directing the FBI and other investigative agencies to target gangs that involve juveniles in violent crime, and to seek authority to prosecute as adults, teenagers who maim and kill like adults. More police and punishment are important, but they're not enough. We have got to keep more of our young people out of trouble, with prevention strategies not dictated by Washington, but developed in communities"(Clinton).

Federal agencies within the United States must handle cases on the home front while at the same time dealing with international issues relating to crime. The problem with international crimes and criminals is that the issue of jurisdiction becomes particularly relevant. Often times criminals involved in these cases can use this to their advantage, tying up the legal process and calling into question the rights of certain countries to arrest and detain them.

The United Nations has developed an agency known as the UNODC Crime Program. It is responsible for crime prevention, criminal justice and criminal law reform but pays specific attention to international crime, such as organized crime, corruption and illicit trafficking. By linking the law enforcement powers of several different countries UNODC creates cooperation within the network of international crime prevention institutions.

Currently the most threatening type of international crime is terrorism. Terrorism has reshaped the world and has exposed holes in law enforcement procedure and practice. The Department of Homeland Security was created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and it is the most important agency responsible for directing the government's efforts to prevent and respond to terrorism. The act consolidated the existing government agencies into a single department that has the responsibility for preventing and responding to terrorism. Included in the Department of Homeland Security are the Coast Guard, the Border Patrol, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Transportation Security Administration.

The nation's largest law enforcement agency, the FBI, takes responsibility for investigating acts of terrorism, and its counterterrorism division works to protect the country from terrorist attacks. Similarly the Central Intelligence Agency works in foreign countries, obtaining intelligence about terrorist activity. It uses its leverage world wide to investigate,

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