The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was established in 1908, primarily for the purpose of investigating criminal activities that took place in two or more states, which helped resolve jurisdictional issues. Every state has the power to deal with crime that happens within its own border, but as long distance travel became easier and more efficient, criminal activities were no longer as contained by geographical location as they had once been. At the start, FBI agents did not have much training in law enforcement or dealing with crime, and they largely dealt with national banking violations, naturalization, land fraud and bankruptcy issues. A lot has changed in the decades since the FBI first came into being thanks in part to Director J Edgar Hoover.
Today, the FBI plays a key role in investigating terrorist and criminal activities. Their mission statement declares that the major function they serve is to “protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats and to enforce the criminal laws of the United States.” To accomplish this goal, the FBI has a large number of ongoing investigations that cover the gamut of illegal deeds. Any potential terrorist threat, international or domestic, is looked into. Agents also regularly work on organized crime, counterintelligence, and public corruption cases. The FBI also keeps a close watch on white collar and cyber crimes. These include everything from frauds and scams to identity theft and online predators. Other crimes the FBI examines regularly include major thefts, hate crimes and other acts of violence.
So how does the FBI go about investigating these crimes and bringing the guilty parties to justice: They utilize a variety of techniques that include everything from older tricks of the trade to state of the art technology. Some of their methods include:
- Behavior Analysis – carefully, studying, analyzing and documenting specific behavior of suspected criminals.
- Undercover Operations – agents assume false identities on secret missions to catch law breakers.
- DNA Analysis – with just a small sample of hair, skin or other materials, technicians can identify most any person and bring a perpetrator to justice.
- SWAT Teams – to stop domestic terrorists, rescue hostages and apprehend the most dangerous offenders.
- Crime Data Management – the FBI works with all national law enforcement agencies to provide up-to-date information about criminal activities.
- Evidence Recovery – no matter what condition a crime scene is in, agents can find the clues they need to bring the guilty to justice.
- Fugitive Searches – police and FBI agents work together to track down and capture the deadliest fugitives.
These are just a few of the techniques that the FBI uses to capture and punish criminals. They regularly work with other agencies nationally and worldwide to capture terrorists, contain deadly threats and make the world a safer place to live.