Manhattan DA Spends $4.2 Million on Cybercrime Unit

An increasing number of crimes involve a computer-based component and the Manhattan district attorney's office is upgrading to meet the demand.

by / August 16, 2012
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New York City will spend $4.2 million to help Manhattan's district attorney fight computer-based crimes such as identity theft and child pornography, officials announced Aug. 14. The incidence of identity theft, in particular, has grown too fast for officials to keep up, affecting thousands of New Yorkers, including one of the city's prosecutors and a mayoral contender, according to the district attorney's office.

"Cybercrime and identify theft are among the fastest growing crimes in the country," District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. "Nearly every case we prosecute - financial fraud, terrorism, even street crimes - depends upon the resources and expertise of my office's Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau."

The city's High Technology Analysis Unit, which was created in 2010, will be upgraded with the resources needed to search the increasing number of hard drives and smartphones taken from suspects. The new lab in the district attorney's office will allow prosecutors and analysts to share a lab for the first time.

The number of computers analyzed from 2010 to 2011 increased by 200 percent, and the office searched about 1,000 smartphones last year. Vance's lab targeted several high-profile identity theft rings recently and handles about 200 to 300 new identity theft crimes each month.