Posts Tagged ‘crime safety’

It’s difficult to find someone today who isn’t online surfing the Internet, exchanging email, and participating in online social networks.  It’s incredible to realize how far we’ve come in our technology and communication activities within the past ten years.

With all the great technological advancement, there also comes the more devious aspects to it as well.  Think about how you use your computer and what information you’ve shared.

There are some safety tips that everyone should be familiar with in their online environment to make it the most positive and fun experience.

General Tips:

  • Understand how different networking sites work before you decide to join.  What are the benefits and downfalls?  Know how others will view your pages and your information.
  • Take charge of your profile and use controls over your information and restrictions to your page.
  • Keep your full name, Social Security number, phone number, address, and any banking information private and to yourself.
  • Post ONLY information that you feel comfortable with others seeing and knowing about you.  Take the time to think about this before you post anything.  Remember, you can’t take the information back once it’s posted.
  • Trust your gut instinct if you have any suspicions or if someone threatens you.  Report it to the police.

General Security:

  • Don’t use public or shared computers for online banking transactions.
  • Never give out your account information or passwords.
  • Be cautious about opening any attachment or download from emails regardless of who sent them.  Make sure that you have an up to date virus software, spyware, and firewall on your computer.
  • Delete junk mail without reading it.
  • Don’t “unsubscribe” to unwanted or unsolicited emails.  This just alerts senders that they’ve reached a valid email address.  Don’t sign up for free offers.

Parent Alert Tips: 

  • Teach your children about privacy and personal information.  You can encourage them to post information only with your permission and supervision.
  • Explore the Internet with your children and keep the computer in a common area.
  • Show your children the difference between and advertisement and entertainment.
  • Be aware of places your child is using on the Internet, such as friend’s house or library.  Consider safeguarding options, such as blocking, filtering and monitoring.
  • Discuss with your children if they ever feel threatened or uncomfortable to tell an adult immediately.

Helpful websites for more information:

Federal Trade Commission




Internet Keep Safe Coalition

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There are times that we find ourselves going out at night for fun or a special celebration.  You could be going to a restaurant or nightclub to meet friends.  Or, you could be meeting someone for the first time in a public place.

It’s so important to remember that even though you’re in a pubic place, you still need to be alert and vigilant about what’s going on around you.  This is true for both women and men.

Here are some simple safety tips to remember as you venture out into the nightlife for fun and entertainment:

  • Be sure to tell someone, friend, neighbor, or family member where you’re going.
  • DO NOT accept drinks from someone if you didn’t see the drink being prepared. 
  • DO NOT leave your drink unattended for ANY period of time — EVER.
  • DO NOT leave your purse or handbag unattended for ANY period of time.
  • Carry a cell phone and always have enough money for a taxi ride home if necessary.
  • If at all possible, arrange a buddy system with a friend to keep watch of one another.
  • Know where all emergency and/or fire exits are in the building.  Know your outside surroundings, such as streets, landmarks, etc.  
  • If you plan on drinking, ALWAYS have a designated driver or take a taxi.
  • NEVER leave a bar or nightclub with a stranger.
  • If you’re being a harassed or if something doesn’t seem right to you don’t hesitate to report it to a security guard, nightclub bouncer, or the police.

Most importantly…

Have a great time! 

Just take a few moments to remember these tips before you venture out for some fun nightlife and pass these tips on to friends, family, and coworkers.

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Crime Watch Blog:
Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

Citizens Unite! 

If you are a victim of ANY crime – Report It!

If you’re robbed on the street, someone breaks into your house, or you’ve been swindled – Report It! 

It has been reported from law enforcement agencies that one out of every two crimes goes unreported.  It’s either because victims don’t think that the police can do anything about it or they just don’t want to get involved.

It can’t be stressed enough that if crimes go unreported then the criminals are going to continue to operate without any interference.  Reporting ALL crimes will help law enforcement to assign the appropriate number of officers to troubled locations, and information provided by victims and witnesses can lead to the arrest and prosecution of a criminal. 

Your local law enforcement agency needs your help to fight crime.

1.                  Report ALL crimes to your local police department.

2.                  No fact is too trivial.

3.                  Report ANY and ALL suspicious activities in your neighborhood.

4.                  Get help immediately or call 9-1-1.

5.                  If the crime just occurred or is in progress, call 9-1-1.

6.                  Call a doctor, if necessary.

7.                  Call a friend or family member.

8.                  Try to remember ALL details, such as clothing, hair color, vehicle descriptions, identifiable marks or features, etc.

9.                  Try not to destroy any possible evidence.

10.              Keep important emergency and non-emergency numbers available, such as victim’s services, crime stoppers, police department, vehicle abatement, animal control, etc.

For more information about crime and emergencies, please don’t hesitate to contact your local police department or community service officer.

If you’re interested in starting a neighborhood watch:

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Crime Watch Blog:
Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting


There are both positive and negative benefits for children using the Internet.  The online world can offer children an experience that is both educational and rewarding, which can lead to a higher school performance and increase their future job potential.  Unfortunately, there is pornography and child predators lurking out there in the online world too.

Parents and guardians need to be vigilant about keeping children safe when they are using the Internet for browsing the Web, sending and receiving email, and using chat rooms.

Emily suggests a few things that parents and guardians can do to help ensure child safety on the Internet. 

1.                  Become an Advocate:

Contact your local Internet Service Provider if you see any material (visual or written) or other practices that you don’t like that is made available to children on the Internet.  Be proactive in what children are viewing and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns and opinions. 

2.                  Stay Informed:

Keep yourself informed about parental control tools that can help to keep your child safe on the Internet.  Be sure to know what the parental tools can and can’t do.  Find out what children are learning and viewing through community and school Web sites.

3.                  Get Involved:

Spend time with your children when they are on the computer, whether it’s at home, the library, or any other computer center in your community.  Take the time to play fun and educational games with your children. It’s important to be involved in your child’s online life and include them in your own online practices.  This will be the best insurance for your child’s safety. 

4.                  Learn about the Internet:

Learn everything you can about the Internet.  If you’re a novice or a more skilled computer user, take advantage of learning more about the Internet at your local library, community center, or local training classes.

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The bottom line is that the Internet has many positive aspects in learning, job training, and social networking.  There are just a few things to be aware of so that your children can be safe and enjoy the online experience.


Crime Watch Blog:
Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

Heroine Emily Stone from my two novels Compulsion and Dead Game has dedicated her life to finding and protecting children.  It’s not always a happy ending, but she won’t give up the search when a child is reporting missing or abducted.  She uses her innate profiling abilities and every piece of technology available to anonymously search out children and their perpetrators. 

In real life, it has been estimated through surveys of households, juvenile residential facilities, and law enforcement agencies that there are approximately 58,200 non-family abductions every year.  This high number is shocking to say the least.  We need to be vigilant to keep our children safe.

The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART) has conducted two studies during the years 1997- 1999.  It is difficult to get the exact number due to many variables to missing children cases and reporting status.  

Here are some highlights in NISMART’s report:

Characteristic of Child Abducted

0-5 years old  7%   (4,300)

6-11 years old  12%  (6,800)

12-14 years old  22%  (13,000)

15-17 years old  59%  (34,100)

Gender of Child Abducted

Male  35%

Female  65%

Region of Child Abducted

Northwest  1%  (100)

Midwest  33%  (19,300)

South  38%  (21,900)

West  29%  (16,900)

Characteristic of Perpetrator

Friend  17%

Long-Term Acquaintance  21%

Neighbor  5%

Authority Person  6%

Caretaker or Babysitter  4%

Stranger  37%

Slight Acquaintance  8%

Someone Else  3%

Age of Main Perpetrator’s Age

13-19 years  25%

20-29 years  42%

30-39 years  12%

40-49 years  16%

50-59 years  5%

No information  1%


Crime Watch Blog:
Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

One of the biggest problems facing law enforcement with catching and prosecuting Internet child pornographers is that technology hasn’t caught up with this type of crime yet.  It’s an immense problem and the scope of it seems almost endless for these dogged investigators.  The problem with the investigative process is analyzing and classifying images.  This process is overwhelming and extremely time consuming.

How many children are victims of online sexual exploitation?

  • In 2008, it was reported that there were approximately 8.6 million child pornography images and videos on the Internet.

The 2008 Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) Annual Report revealed these staggering statistics of child pornography Internet victims:

  • 69% are under ten years old.
  • 24% are six years old and younger.
  • Some are babies.

According to the latest online victimization research through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC):

  • Approximately one in seven youth online (10 to 17-years-old) received a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet.
  • Four percent (4%) received an aggressive sexual solicitation – a solicitor who asked to meet them somewhere; called them on the telephone; or sent them offline mail, money, or gifts.
  • Thirty-four percent (34%) had an unwanted exposure to sexual material — pictures of naked people or people having sex.
  • Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the youth who encountered unwanted sexual material told a parent or guardian. If the encounter was defined as distressing – episodes that made them feel very or extremely upset or afraid – forty-two percent (42%) told a parent or guardian.

There have been two new software tools developed to catch these child predators: NetClean Analyze and Oak Ridge System.

NetClean Analyze addresses the key issues to help minimize time investigators look at and duplicate images and videos, allows for collaboration between police departments, and facilitates more efficient customized reports.  This software has been made available to ALL law enforcement agencies.

The Oak Ridge System runs software to rapidly scan hard drives on confiscated computers, which assists investigators in quickly reducing the amount of time for forensic analysis. 

There are other emerging tools and software that will further assist in these investigations to help prosecute these child predators. 

I can’t emphasize enough that you must be vigilant if you are a parent to keep your children safe when they are on the Internet.  If you EVER see ANY child pornography on the Internet or if your child alerts you to anything inappropriate, REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY to your local police department.  ALL children should be safe from child predators and pornographers on the Internet.


Jennifer Chase
Award Winning Author & Criminologist

Crime Watch Blog:
Book & Crime Talk:
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting