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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Man by nature is social, gregarious and cannot live in isolation. To maintain peace and harmony in the society, man has to fashion out conduct and enact some laws to govern the conduct of members of the society. When people appreciate these codes of conduct and laws, protection of lives and properties are guaranteed.
Aneke (1987) said that the law, which man created employs various branches, which can be summed up into civil and criminal law. Any individual who conscientiously violates these laws becomes a crime suspect. A crime suspect becomes a criminal after being convicted of the crime at the law court. This runs contrary to an ordinary man’s view that any individual who violates society’s established laws is a criminal. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the 13th century: "the rule and measure of human acts is the reason, which is the first principle of human acts" (Aquinas, ST I-II, Q.90, A.I). He regarded people as by nature rational beings, concluding that it becomes morally appropriate that they should behave in a way that conforms to their rational nature. Hart (1961) saw the law as an aspect of sovereignty, with lawmakers able to adopt any law as a means to a moral end.
In Nigeria, following colonialism and the resultant capitalism, great importance is attached to success and relatively less importance is attached to the accepted ways of achieving success. In this arrangement most people reject the “rules of the games” and purse situation where “anything goes”, norms no longer direct the behaviour of Nigerians as their reaction is shaped by their position in the social structure. This breeds criminality in our society as said by Dandison, (1988).
The rich and the well-placed do their own thing via white- collar crime thus graft, bribery, pen-robbery are all raised to a level of act. While the poor and the impoverished who could not accept their situation in life and feeling that there is no legitimate means of social mobility open to them often resort to violent crimes.
The aftermath of the civil unrest and the Nigerian Biafran war cannot be left out. During the war, individuals were exposed to the use of guns and other sophisticated weapon. Many started trading on their ability to operate guns to earn a living. Indeed, a living in disguised.
The ravages of war and political instability have also brought increased crime rate, untold atrocities, corruption, violence and ethnic strife’s. Nigeria has continued to experience all kinds of crime ranging from capital crimes to simple offences, which are punishable by law. This fact has reached international acclamation. No wonder, the ex-president of the United States Bill Clinton extends Drug Certification to Nigeria on 02/03/2000. In the statement of explanation, Nigeria was said to have remained the “hub of African drug trafficking”.
To salvage the image of the country, computers can be used to develop hi-tech criminal tracking information system that will effectively store criminal information which can be used to track down identified crime suspects. Such hi-tech criminal tracking system uses the powers of computers, software engineering technology and the network technology to function effectively.
To achieve this via the use of computer, a central repository for criminal information storage can be created and made domicile at the hard disk of a server computer at the headquarters of security agencies. Then, other computers at different security agencies can then be connected to this central repository computer to enable local computers to post and retrieve criminal information.
Connectivity between the central repository computer and the remote (local) computer is made possible via network topologies. These remote computers at local or branch security agencies create a local database system which is linked to the database of the central repository computer via an open database connectivity technology (ODBC) which enables such local computers to post and access information using search engines.
The features of relational database management system software provide database structures that could store numerous information and at the same tie provide connectivity between database structures.
Criminal Tracking System, which this project work covers, is one of such hi-tech system that enables security agencies to communicate and share data globally.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The Enugu State criminal identification Division, which is used as a case study, has an existing criminal Tracking System, but this system is not automated. The documentation of criminal records is done on paper and pen. The storage of these criminal records is not something to write home about.
Case files are dumped in heaps while some are kept on shelves. With the moldy nature of the state such important documents quickly get dusty and because of lack of proper storage, some criminal documents are seriously damaged by rats that feed on them. With this kind of situation, it becomes highly difficult if not impossible to track down known criminal, access past criminal history of a suspect and know the status of some concluded cases.
The Enugu State Criminal Identification division takes fingerprint of suspect and certain individuals contemplating to travel outside the country to the central Criminal Registry at Alagbo in Lagos State for confirmation of past criminal records and for documentation too. Such frequent journey puts the life of police officers in charge at risk knowing that death through accident is inevitable. It also leads to delay in crime investigation and provides room falsification and manipulation of results.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The project intends to automate the existing Criminal Tracking System at the Enugu State Criminal Division. Specifically, the project will accomplish the following:
1) Design and develop a central database system that would serve as statewide repository of criminal data. The smaller database system at the sub-police station will be hooked up to the central database to access criminal data on cases not handled at the local station. This database system will be serviced by local police station within the state as well as the police headquarters.
2) The central database system will be resident on a server at the police headquarter and will be linked to both the local police station and the Central Criminal Registry via a client- server between station as well as Criminal Justice, the rendering of Criminal Justice. This will also facilitate the confirmation of fingerprint right there in the office through the click of the mouse
3) The database system will capture detailed information about crime suspect right from the time the crime was reported at the police down to the point the suspect appears before the court for prosecution as thereafter.
4) The systems will posses features that will enable criminal data to be purged from the system, updated and queried.
1.4 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
The development and implementation of a software-based Criminal Tracking Information System is realistic.
The traditional filling system of documenting criminal records on paper and having such documents store in shelves or in piles is highly in secured and does not make such rewards durable.
The effect is that in time to come, past criminal records cannot be called up as an “alicotus” (i.e. Criminal evidence) during court proceeding to enable panel of judges pin down a suspect or a criminal of having committed some criminal acts in the past. Such past criminal records enable the court of law to know the strength of punishment to be melted out to such a criminal.
So, lack of preservation and good sorting techniques of criminal records at security agencies, often times makes it difficult for past criminal records to be traced.
The on-line criminal Tracking System (OCTS) will arrest and address the aforementioned problems.
The traditional filling system is not well secured and criminal records are not properly documented. This situation makes it easier for unscrupulous individual, to sneak out case files or get them burnt thereby bringing the proceedings of a case to a halt.
The powerful features and capabilities of Microsoft Access 97 will be used to develop and implement the database structure of system. Microsoft Access being a relational database management system provides an application development environment and the needed capabilities to build a complex database. As such is fitted for this project. Again, Ms-Access support the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC), which provides communication links between databases.
Visual Basic for Application will be used to design and implement the online forms that will be used to post data to the database system and report for retrieval of information from the database system.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Basically any Criminal Tracking System as an integral part of the Criminal Justice Information System consists of three major sections, that is:
a) Thee Criminal Identification Division
b) The Magistrate Segment, and
c) The prisons.
However, because of lack of time, funding and the scope of the system, the project was limited to the development and implementation of software –base criminal tracking information system that will automate the processes involved in tracking down criminals by the State Criminal Identification Divisions.
The project did not cover the Prison and the Magistrate Segment, which could also be automated. Although the researcher used the Criminal Identification Division of Enugu police headquarter as a case study, the project is a generic software that can be customized for use by other state security agencies.
1.6 CONSTRAINTS OF THE STUDY
Some of the constraints encountered during this project design include the following:
· Financial Constraints: The design was achieved but not without some financial involvements. One had to pay for the computer time. Also the typing and planning of the work has its own financial involvements. However, to solve the problems I solicited fund from guardians and relations.
· High level programming Technique: The programming aspect of this project posed a lot of problematic bugs that took me some days to solve. Problems such as the ADO, DAO and Jet Engine related run time errors. For instance, the Ms Access office 2000 edition does not work with VB-6. Jet Engine unless converted to lower version of Ms ACCESS of office 1997 edition (i.e. version 2.0). Also other technical problem, which requires semantic and syntactic approaches where encountered as well. In seeking for the solution to these problems, I acquired more knowledge from well –versed textbooks and programmes.
· Few Literature Sources: The topic though seems to be a common term; it is not a popular topic to surf from the Internet. It had fewer literature sources. To solve this problem, I applied for the study of the existing criminal tracking system of the Enugu State Criminal Identification Division. The application was improved and the study was conducted for three weeks.
· The epileptic nature of power supply cannot be overlooked.