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30th CCPCJ | U.S. on World Crime Trends and Emerging Issues and Responses
May 20, 2021

Heroin and fentanyl exhibit after drug bust.
Heroin and fentanyl exhibit after drug bust.
(Hartford Police Department via AP, File)

30th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice | Agenda Item 8: World Crime Trends and Emerging Issues and Responses in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

As delivered by Christine Cline, Division Chief, Office of Global Program and Policy, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement

The United States thanks the Secretariat for preparing a comprehensive analysis of world crime trends and the state of criminal justice for the Crime Commission. This report will support collaboration among partner nations on global strategies to reduce crime and promote security.

Continued collaboration on human trafficking and migrant smuggling, drug trafficking, trafficking in wildlife and other resources, and violent crime is imperative to stopping transnational criminal networks that look to capitalize on gaps in our cooperation.

To that end, the United States was a proud co-sponsor of the Economic and Social Council resolution that endorsed the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes, or ICCS; and is pleased to be funding efforts to implement the ICCS.

As we consider this year’s thematic topic, the ICCS could be helpful in advancing our collective efforts to collect data and analyze trends in smuggling of migrants, including routes, networks, as well as the devastating impacts that COVID-19 has had on vulnerable migrants. This type of effort promotes accurate reporting and collection of relevant data, which must be documented for authorities to take effective steps to counter these crimes.

Monitoring current trends and emerging issues related to global crime allows the sharing of best practices and lessons learned. We encourage the CCPCJ to continue its support for UNODC’s research, trend analysis, and scientific and forensic support on crime prevention and criminal justice.

It’s through this sound and reliable data collection and analysis that we can identify new and emerging crime trends. COVID-19 has resulted in us realizing a number of new criminal trends. One worrisome new global trend we are monitoring closely is the increased incidents of cybercrime, especially ransomware. We applaud UNODC’s key and unique role in advancing global technical assistance programming, as well as practical exchanges among cybercrime experts to combat cybercrime. For example, UNODC’s capacity-building assistance program to counter cybercrime for countries in Central America, East and West Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia is making a real difference and we are proud supporters. This sort of programming is essential to advance our shared goal of combatting cybercrime and we encourage Member States to avail themselves of it.

We are also seeing COVID-19 fueled safety restrictions impacting critical international cooperation among us. Countries have had to immediately pivot and adapt to find innovative practical and expedient solutions. Some of these innovations may be worth retaining as best practices, such as electronic transmission of requests and results, and acceptance of electronic signatures on affidavits and certifications.

Our efforts to innovate demonstrate our resilience and commitment to advancing crime prevention and criminal justice policies and practices together, even in the midst of dire circumstances. As a result of the pandemic, the United States adjusted a number of standard practices to continue our important work, resulting in our ability to bring back hundreds of fugitives to face justice, grant more than two thousand MLAT requests, as well as dozens of extradition requests from our foreign partners.

Additionally, the United States directed approximately $95 million towards programming on COVID-related law enforcement and criminal justice challenges. Importantly, we shifted our training to online platforms, which resulted in reduced costs and a broader reach, in some cases.

Transnational organized crime threatens all of us. The United States stands firm in its commitment to combat it and to work with Member States through the Crime Commission to promote safety and security for all.