In our global era the challenge seems broader than ever.
"It's a lot different than it was in the 1920's or 30s when you had John Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde commit a crime in one state and it was a big deal for them to cross state lines. That's what's changed over the years, the ability to travel all over the world fairly easily and economically."
but along with the emergence of the worldwide manhunt -- the science behind chasing criminals has evolved too.
Our camera's take you inside the NYPD's closely-guarded forensic crime lab on the front line for catching criminals.
Better development techniques in the fingerprinting field -- showing detectives a clearer picture.
So do evolving computer programs -- adding greater detail -- to tracing ballistic evidence.
Advances in DNA analysis are widely considered the most meaningful step forward toward solving more crimes.
But the forensics are just pieces of the increasingly elaborate puzzle.
"You know you can't escape the cameras that seem to be virtually everywhere. They're a window that can be used to catch crimes. Evolving facial recognition technology is only making it easier to potentially capture suspects who are spotted. But even without all those cameras most of us are well aware we're leaving our own well marked trail."
From location data embedded in many of our digital images, to our cellphone records, electronic banking transactions and all that social media activity -- it's the indelible diary.
The search net is wider -- sometimes global -- but our communications are making suspects easier in some ways to find.
Law enforcement officials say advances in the way they can now communicate with each other, makes it even tougher to hide.
"We're inventing new ways to talk to each other, to communicate with each other, to be more efficient to exchange information in general."
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