Officials are calling cybercrime the fasting growing criminal trend in the city. On Wednesday, prosecutors unveiled a new lab to go after high-take thieves. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Cracking codes and cracking cases. The Manhattan DA's office has boosted its ability to go after identity thieves and other cybercriminals with a new $10 million cybercrime bureau.
"My person belief is that after terrorism, cybercrime is our biggest threat in New York City," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
The bureau features a cyber lab with computer forensic technicians. Using the latest technology, they retrieve information hidden in computers and phones that can provide clues about murders, terrorism and identity theft. A special metal room blocks out radio waves so no one can access devices from the outside and erase evidence.
With so many financial institutions based in the city, officials say the need for such a lab has never been greater.
"These sophisticated criminal organization that have managed to take tens of millions and, in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars from financial institutions," said John Miller, the NYPD's deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism.
Visiting law enforcement officials say there has to be worldwide cooperation.
"London and New York are both global finance centers, so if you are going to try and stop some of the crimes that are happening and some of this tsunami, they are a great place to start," said London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson.
Elected officials pointed out that if Hillary Clinton's campaign emails can be hacked, everyone should beware.
"We wondered, 'How in the world did they do that?' And then we wonder, 'That can happen to any of us,'" said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. "As a consumer, I have a bank account. I can't tell you how many times somebody else has hacked into my bank account."
And it is not just about international cases. Law enforcement officials say this lab is going to be important as they continue to go after gangs in the city.
"Street crews who are fighting over profits and credit card fraud, identity theft and other crimes that all have to do with, that starts with a click of a mouse before it gets to the gun," Miller said.
The DA says he's fighting for updated federal and state laws that better address crimes committed with technology that were not around years ago.