Computer Crime Research Center


Police units to target cybercrime

Date: March 31, 2006
By: Sophia Fischer

An increase in high-tech crime is forcing police to undergo special training to successfully investigate such cases.

To ensure there are enough trained investigators the Thousand Oaks City Council approved a $40,207 payment last week to help fund three new computer forensic examiner positions in the Ventura County High-Tech Task Force.

"Just about every investigation conducted these days seems to have a correlation to computers," said Thousand Oaks Police Chief Dennis Carpenter.

According to a city staff report, devices including computer hard drives, digital cameras, cellphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) can all contain evidence necessary for law enforcement to retrieve in solving crimes.

As computer storage capacities have grown, so has the time it takes investigators to conduct a forensic exam of a computer.

Two years ago, the average computer forensic exam took 20 to 40 hours. Today it takes twice as long--40 to 80 hours.

Every city in the county together with the unincorporated areas are contributing financially to the cost of the new positions.

Contributions are based on population, and the total to be provided by all of the cities combined in fiscal year 2006-07 is more than $259,000.

The only city providing more funding than Thousand Oaks is Oxnard, which has a population of nearly 181,000, compared with the 127,000 residents in Thousand Oaks. Oxnard will kick in nearly $59,000 to help fund the task force.
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