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Cheers to #SMILEcon

Cheers to the upcoming SMILE Conference, September 24-26, 2013. To celebrate the SMILE Conference coming to Omaha, the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting a special giveaway. Each week from now until August 19th a SMILE registrant will win a gift card to one of Omaha’s popular watering holes. Register for the 2013 SMILE Conference and you’re automatically entered for a chance to win one of the following:

  • $20 gift card to Tap House – Drawing date: August 9
  • $40 gift card to Beer and Blatt – Drawing date: August 16
  • $50 gift card to Upstream – Drawing date: August 23

In the meantime, start planning your trip. Finds things to do and where to eat at www.visitomaha.com. If time permits during the conference, Instagram a video as you explore the world’s largest indoor desert, tweet a pic of yourself standing in two states at the same time and check in on Facebook as you enjoy a frosty lager at one of Omaha’s friendly neighborhood bars. Share your experiences using #OmahaWeekend!

Burglars do not use social media!

Editor’s note: Previously on this blog we posted and infographic titled “How burglars use social media”. On the heels of that posting came this infographic as a result of research done in The Netherlands suggesting just the opposite.

‘Don’t advertise that you are away. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a risk if people know you are away and your home is empty’. This is a frequently repeated message. Taking precautions is reasonable but why make such a fuss about it when there is none scientific proof that burglars do use social media?

This research makes clear that it appears to be quite difficult to use social media in regard to finding a suitable home/target for burglars. The research states that 77% of the social media-users protects their online information. Because of all the well protected information, burglars find it difficult to find useful information and even more so to use this information to actually steal something. In addition, an experiment in which two groups of cops (in training) were playing the part of burglars, makes clear that compared to the ‘old fashioned way’ (scouring the streets), social media is not lucrative. The ‘burglars’ in the control group were asked to find as many suitable targets in the streets. The ‘burglars’ in the experimental group were asked to find as many suitable targets while using social media. It appears that searching through or with social media is quite difficult and above all extremely time consuming. This makes the control group – and the old fashioned method, more profitable. Moreover, a burglar has to check the house once more before actually entering the house.

After all: the best way to enter the house is not updated on social media and has to be observed while standing in front of the house. The following infographic – made by Renée Penris – demonstrates the other conclusions following this research.

Linda Nagelhout just completed her MsC in Criminology at De Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her final thesis was about Burglary & Social Media. This infographic is the result of her research. @Lindo1509

ConnectedCOPS Awards 2013: Finalists for Social Media Investigator

The Social Media Investigator award is sponsored by LexisNexis.

The ConnectedCOPS Social Media Investigator Award is generously sponsored by LexisNexis. The finalists in this category are doing extraordinary work with open source investigations. They demonstrate a consistent, methodical, persistent and high quality approach. The judges were very impressed with the quality of nominations in this category. Mary Craige is the Marketing Manager for LexisNexis’ Law Enforcement Division. She said “This year’s nominees for the ConnectedCOPS Top Social Media Investigator illustrate the importance of law enforcement’s ability to find, mine and analyze activity in social media. All of these nominees show their understanding of the medium and their ability to adapt their investigations to how the social media landscape is changing.”

ConnectedCOPS Social Media Investigator

This award is given to the sworn law enforcement investigator at any worldwide law enforcement agency who, as a practitioner, has used social media successfully to solve crime. The Social Media Investigator practices appropriate security measures and supervision in his/her investigations. 

The three finalists are:

Jeff Bangild Detective Bangild works for the Toronto Police Service. He is highly respected for his work involving the Internet and social media especially in cases of criminal harassment. Bangild has made ground breaking headway in obtaining reasonable and probable grounds for arrest and charges with reasonable prospect for conviction by using social media investigative techniques that don’t require a forensic analysis of a suspect’s computer. Complainants who deal with him have the utmost respect for his demeanour and tenacity to get the job done, often when other police officers haven’t a clue where to start to investigate. Bangild is currently part of a team at Toronto Police Service designing policy to facilitate community and officer safety better using social media tools.

Eric Draeger Officer Draeger is with the Milwaukee Police Department. His work is primarily in the area of juvenile gang crime. Draeger’s work is said to have made a significant impact upon the safety of the Milwaukee area. His work has led to preventive measures taken by law enforcement to intercept threats of widespread violence during city events. In a recent adult trial Officer Draeger was able to take 31,000 pages of discovery from Facebook and develop a way to insert the evidence into a searchable database. His analysis lead him to be able to pinpoint that the defendant attempted to purchase a handgun the day before armed robberies had occurred. Draeger is also able to explain the intricacies of his social media investigative work to non-technical people and gain convictions in court.

Sam Palmer Detective Palmer is with the Phoenix Police Department. He is highly regarded in the law enforcement community and is regularly called upon to share his knowledge at law enforcement events. In several cases, when given little information, Palmer was able to identify the suspects with analysis of social media and employing techniques to connect the dots. One case involved threats against a high profile person in Phoenix. The other involved a series of robberies. With only nicknames, was able to identify five subjects and provide detectives with thorough profiles on each. In addition to assisting with on-going criminal investigations, Detective Palmer spends time educating youth so they are smarter and less vulnerable when they post information on social media sites.

Finalists in the other awards categories will be announced throughout the next several days on this blog. Check back to see the finalists for Social Media Event Management on Monday. Winners will be announced September 25th at The SMILE Conference™ in Omaha, Nebraska.

The ConnectedCOPS Awards were created by LAwS Communications with the intent of recognizing the good work being done by individual officers and law enforcement agencies with social media. The international law enforcement community will be considered for these awards. Any officer or agency anywhere in the world is eligible.

How do we overcome Twitter abuse?

These sorts of vile attacks are horribly commonplace

The story of how hundreds of men mounted a sustained online attack on Caroline Criado-Perez, threatening her with rape and violent assault in reaction to her successful campaign to get the face of Jane Austen on British £10 bank notes has caused public outrage.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the story is how commonplace this sort of vile attack is. Most women Tweeters with any sort of public profile have experienced unprovoked online assaults.

The vast majority of us want to see a fast, reliable way of the perpetrators of this sort of abuse facing the consequences of their actions.

But none of us has yet come up with an effective response.

There are too many of these cases to expect the police to prioritise online investigations.
In the same way, Twitter would have to change fundamentally (not allow anonymity or charge hefty membership rates) if it took over the role of policing itself.
Similarly, although Tweeters will usually support others under-fire, the fact that this sort of perpetrator can swiftly set up numerous anonymous accounts makes that form of action ineffective.
Tweeters who are targeted can of course block offenders, but that’s almost impossible to do when you’re under sustained attack – and why should the victims of any crime be responsible for taking action?
I don’t have a great idea for a magic bullet myself.

However, there are some good articles and blog posts out there suggesting different ways forward.

I’ve assembled these into the Storify below to help readers formulate their own ideas.

Please suggest any new ideas that I can add to the collection.


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