Local News

Cary Looks for New Ways to Fight Cybercrimes

Posted January 20, 2007 5:39 p.m. EST
Updated October 4, 2009 6:51 a.m. EDT

— The Internet has become the fastest-growing area for crime, but catching cyber-criminals is fairly new territory for local law enforcement. Now, a new police unit is cracking down on cybercrimes in the high-tech town of Cary.

“It's a serious problem, and we need to attack it aggressively,” said Cary Council member Nels Roseland.

In 2006, Cary police investigated 70 Internet-based identify theft cases. Three years earlier, there were only 10 cases of identity theft. Police said Internet pornography cases are also up.

“Even though they're low in numbers, the dramatic effect on the victim is high,” said Cary Police Chief Scott Cunningham.

In March, Steven Diver was sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting a Cary teen. Investigators said he stalked the 15-year-old through popular Web site MySpace.com.

Cunningham said he believes a cybercrime unit could proactively find more sexual predators.

“If there's going to be someone out there talking to what they think is a 14-year-old from Cary, I want them talking to one of my officers as that 14-year-old, not a real, innocent citizen,” he said.

Cary police officers use computers during their everyday work, but fighting computer crimes requires specialized training.

To staff the unit, officers might undergo intensive training. New officers and new equipment could also be brought in.

“This is about protecting Cary citizens,” Roseland said.

Cary police officials are beginning to research how much it would cost to implement a cybercrimes unit. Once that's complete, they'll present a report to the Town Council.