Bratton: NYC gangs turning to cybercrime, encryption thwarting investigations

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said gangs are moving away from drugs and into cyberspace.
New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said gangs are moving away from drugs and into cyberspace.

New York City's crime rate has dropped precipitously since the 1990s – with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton predicting 2016 will end with 100,000 serious crimes on record, compared to 500,000 annually during the 1990s – but it seems that gangs are turning their attention to cyber crime.

“We're seeing many of our gangs here in New York…turning away from dealing with drugs and other types of crimes, and focusing on getting very adept at cyber-related crime – the false identification cards, credit cards,” Bratton told listeners tuning into the John Catsimatidis AM 970 radio show on Sunday, according to a report in The Daily News.

The bad guys are getting better at using social media, much to law enforcement's chagrin, but it is also a rich source of information.

“We have a lot more sources of intelligence to create our cases, but a bust in the sense that the push by the phone companies and the software technology companies to increasingly make phones more secure — it's really causing us to go blind,” the police chief said, adding investigators have been aided by criminals bragging on social media.

He also claimed New York police investigations are being hampered by encryption, which has prevented authorities from accessing about 700 mobile phones.

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