By Daniel Silliman
In the early days of modern American crime, now-famous criminals, like "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Machine Gun Kelly," kept ahead of the law by using the latest technology and jumping jurisdictional lines.
The beginnings of today's professional law enforcement agencies can be dated from the decision to use technology, and co-operative tactics to fight back. The combination of the forward-thinking use of new tools, and the traditional tactic of information sharing, continues today.
This week, while celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced "a new aid to crime fighting in Georgia."
You can find that new tool at www.GeorgiaBankRobbery.com.
In an official statement, Gregory Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau's Atlanta office, said, "This web site features images of persons who may be involved in criminal activity and [are] wanted for questioning ... GeorgiaBankRobbery.com is designed to assist law enforcement in the identification and apprehension of suspects throughout Georgia."
Similar to Crime Stoppers, which local police say has been a successful aid in catching criminals and making cross-jurisdictional connections, the new web site is a joint effort of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Georgia Association of Bank Security.
Each page on the site displays a photo, a list of basic information and a number to call.
One entry shows a bank robbery from May. The photo shows a stocky young man in a Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap and loose T-shirt, standing at a counter looking bored. At the bottom of the page, it says, "Narrative: Subject is wanted for the 05/05/2008 robbery of the BB&T, Stockbridge, GA."
Another entry, from the 1st Bank Financial Services in McDonough, shows a thin, older man in a white, dress shirt, with what looks like a eyeglass case tucked into his pocket. The official chatter under the photo notes that the man showed the teller a weapon.
The entries on the web site in the first week showed 31 bank robberies from Augusta to Sandy Springs, and from Warner Robins to Roswell -- all unsolved cases from the last year.
The FBI is hoping the new technology and citizen cooperation will catch criminals, and make it harder to rob banks.