Looking For A Link
Police are increasingly turning to Internet chat rooms, blogs, and other online sources to gather information for investigations.
Police in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for instance, recently used posts from a street-racing Web site to get information about teenagers who attacked three homeless men, of whom one was killed. Police accessed http://www.SouthFloridaRacing.com to observe online conversations among local members, composed mostly of youths.
In another case, Detective Kevin Kuschel of the gang unit for the Palm Beach County District Police Department examined a Web site at www.cPixel.com and found a photo of a teen holding an AK-47. “I went to talk to him and we recovered 14 firearms,” he said. “Then these kids started tying into gangs and we were able to kick apart a cold homicide.”
Kuschel adds that many Web sites are used by students to publicize that they are gang members or sell drugs.
Bob Breeden, special agent supervisor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Computer Crimes Center, says the Internet is being used in a wide range of crimes, including murders where the victim had communicated with the killer or a bomber posts online messages to request bomb-making instructions.
Lt. Cary Marks with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office says many online predators now go to teens’ personal Web pages at sites such as MySpace.com to get information on potential victims.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (01/21/06) P. 1A; Malernee, Jamie .