Offenders in the Age of the Internet: Does Crime Have a New Face?

Robert D'Ovidio, Temple University

Past research has demonstrated that differences in social cues and levels of anonymity affect behavior. The internet can be expected to have an impact on who commits crime by masking the social cues and changing the levels of anonymity associated with traditional means of communcation. These changes could produce a state of normlessness in cyberspace whereby those less likely to commit criminal acts while communicating in traditional ways will be more likely to commit crimes when using the Internet. This paper compares sex, age, and socio-economic status of offenders who commit harassment or fraud using the Internet with those who commit these crimes using a telephone or a face-to-face method of interaction. Data have been collected from official records in a large metropolitan police department of the northeast region of the United States. Differences will be interpreted in the light of several psychologial theories.

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Updated 05/20/2006