Modus operandi study of information and communication technology (ICT) facilitated crime

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Background: How can one measure the prevalence of cybercrime? One option is to define cybercrime as a specific form of crime, and then quantify it using, for example, police files. Domenie, Leukfeldt, Toutenhoofd‿Visser, and Stol (2009) used this approach and concluded that between 0.42% and 0.66% of all crime reported to the police constitutes cybercrime. An alternative is to keep traditional definitions of crime and quantify the amount of associated ICT.

Aim: The present research established how ‘digital’ crimes currently classified as ‘traditional crimes’ are.

Methods: We collected information on residential and commercial burglary, threats and fraud. 809 incidents from the Police Department of East Netherlands were studied. The data collected consisted of information on incidents, victims and suspect characteristics. We determined how much ICT was used a) in 3 phases of the ‘crime script’ (i.e. before, during and after), b) during the criminal investigation c) in the apprehension of the suspect(s).

Results: In total, 136 burglaries, 140 commercial burglaries, 259 threats and 274 cases of fraud were studied. The results show that ICT is used in 16% of the threats; and 41% of the fraud cases. Among residential burglaries, 3% of the cases involved IT, mostly after the offense. IT is not used in commercial burglaries. We will discuss the characteristics of offenders and victims of digital crimes.

Conclusion: The main conclusion is that ICT plays a greater role in traditional crime than first expected. The implications of the findings for the measurement of cybercrime will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCongresbundel NVC Congres
Subtitle of host publication13 en 14 juni 2013, Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw (KOG), Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Universiteit Leiden
Place of PublicationLeiden, The Netherlands
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Criminologie
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2013
EventNVC Congres 2013 - Leiden, Netherlands
Duration: 13 Jun 201314 Jun 2013


ConferenceNVC Congres 2013


  • SCS-Cybersecurity
  • METIS-299974
  • IR-87355
  • EWI-23463


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