With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, love is in the air. Before the hormones make you do something stupid, take a look at this map and see how likely it is you’ll grab an STD before the day is out. Get the full information and study after the jump.
Between Tinder, Grindr, and other very NSFW websites, casual hookups are an all time high. With increased casual sex comes some bad news: STDs have reached all times highs, according to the CDC.
To help you get your game on while staying safe, we put together a list of the best and worst states for STDs in America. To create this report, we used CDC data on STDs, state and county health agency data, and social media surveys. For empirical data, we used a rate of incidents per 100k residents normalized for population. We attached a weighted average to CDC and state health data, and factored in survey data to get our final rankings:
|Ranking [Worst to Best]||State||Gonorrhea rate per 100,000k||Chlamydia rate per 100k||Weighted Disease Score|
If you’ve never been a victim of identity theft, consider yourself lucky. Millions of people have had to fight their way out of serious financial trouble because of one wrong person getting hold of their personal information.
A 2016 study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that about 13.1 million consumers in the U.S are victims of data theft or cybercrime in one form or another, having an estimated total of $15 billion stolen – and the numbers keep rising each year. Identity theft is possibly the worst cybercrime of all, one that can easily destroy a lifetime’s worth of reputation, finances, and credit history, which can take years to recover from. If you’ve fallen victim to identity theft, this resource is your survival guide on how to gain back control, steps to recover from fraud and identity theft, as well as many useful tips and helpful information to protect yourself from being a victim of cybercrime in the future.
The most recent statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics are assessed on the data collected from 2014 and were published September of 2015 as an online PDF visual representation. They show that about 7% of people over the age of 16 were victims of identity theft. That may not seem like a lot, but when you take into account that there were 242 million people over 18 in the US in 2014, that would mean over 17 million people were taken advantage of. The bureau also reports that 14%, or 2.5 million, suffered financial loss from identity theft.
Women are more likely to have their identity stolen than men, at 9.2 million women compared to 8.3 million men. When dividing by race groups, Caucasians have a rate of 8%, African Americans are about 5% – as are Hispanics. Incomes of $75,000 or more annually were targeted most, at theft rate of 11%.
Identity theft is so much more than just having your credit card compromised, though that is what most people equate it with. The truth is that having your identity stolen can be much more damaging to your life than people realize. Not only can someone open up lines of credit under your name, but they can also rent apartments and even get a job. It’s even possible to file a tax return in your name and take the returns.
52% of victims reported they were able to resolve the issues in a day or less, but 9% spent more than a month working on fixing the damage done. 29% of victims that spent more than 6 months resolving problems due to identity theft reported severe emotional distress.
Surprisingly, children are 51x more likely to have their identity stolen than adults would be. They are vulnerable to someone who might try to manipulate them because they don’t realize the risk. The vast majority of childidentities stolen are used to open credit accounts and to substantiate loans, often by family members or relatives. Parents usually warn children about sexual predators and being modest on social media, but what they don’t usually think about is people who might pray on their naivety online and get them to give up pertinent information that would compromise their identity security.
In the first half of 2016, there were a record-breaking 621 mass data breaches reported worldwide. These are hackers who are attacking large companies and corporations, attempting to break into their databases and pull out any stored financial or personal information on their customers and clients. Some recognizable and newsworthy attempts have been with companies like Target, Anthem (Blue Cross Blue Shield), and Home Depot
Home Depot – in 2014, they were attacked via a vendor through their computer’s network and 56 million credit card numbers and 53 million email addresses were stolen.
Major companies may have better security but can also be a more tempting target for potential hackers because of the wealth of information that could be retrieved if they were successful. Obviously, the attacks on Target, Anthem and Home Depot were a huge pay-off for the hackers and a catastrophic financial nightmare for the companies and, at minimum, a significant inconvenience for their customers.
According to NASDAQ, “Data breaches totaled 1,540 worldwide in 2014 – up 46 percent from the year before – and led to the compromise of more than one billion data records.” By the statistics, 55% of breach incidents are from a malicious outsider who was intentionally trying to get in and steal information. 25% came from accidental loss and 15% came from a malicious insider.
The most hacked area was North America, accounting for 76% of the known breaches around the world. 72% occurred in the United States alone. The United Kingdom accounts for 8% of the breaches, Canada carries 4%, Australia accounts for 2%, and Israel and China both carry 1% of the burden.
As for credit card fraud, the United States only carries about 24% of the credit cards in the world, yet 47% of credit card fraud. Countries that have adopted the EMV or “chip” card have shown significantly lower occurrences of fraud. The United States’ slow adoption of the technology is suspected to be the reason their rate of fraud is much higher.
Before delving deeper into understanding identity theft, let us first look into some of the common terminology used in reference to these crimes:
Misleading emails that manipulate people to enter confidential information. This could be someone pretending to be a bank representative, a health service or medical assistant, or even a credit card company.
The same concept as phishing, but done through SMS or text messaging.
When someone hacks into a wireless network and installs spyware. This allows them to see what IP addresses are being used and what each device is doing, including personal information, usernames, passwords, and much more.
Software installed either by a hacker or virus that logs every keystroke done on a computer. This key logging software reports each keystroke to the person who planted the software and can easily be deconstructed to provide them your usernames, passwords, social security information, and any other personal data they find interesting.
Devices designed to be placed over ATM and gas pump card slots that still allow the card to work, but also store the credit card information. When the person who placed it retrieves the device, the information of every credit card used during the time it was installed is then accessible by the thief.
When a person looks over your shoulder at an ATM or other place you may be using a debit card and entering your pin number. They can get your card account number and then learn your pin number by watching you enter it. From there, they would be able to use your debit account anywhere they want.
So how does personal information get out into dangerous territory? 23% of identity theft begins with phishing emails. Potential scammers send emails posing as a legitimate business that a person may or may not already be associated with (i.e.: a bank or credit card company) and manipulate the victim into giving them pertinent confidential information. This release of information ultimately leads to their financial accounts and/or identity being used without their permission. A phishing email is usually recognizable because the sender is asking you to verify your information through a non-secure online source. Also, generally speaking, a legitimate business would not contact you through email if there were any sort of breach of security on your account; they would either call a customer directly and/or just shut down their card.
Sometimes, scammers will set up legitimate-looking websites that are really just a ploy to acquire the user’s information. This could be in the form of a merchant website online where the user thinks they are buying an item that they never receive and, instead, have their information stolen. Other times, the scammer will make a page that looks and acts just like a well-known or reputable bank or credit institution but with a slightly different web address. The user trusts the site because it looks like a real one, enters their information, and never hears back from the site, only to find out that their information was stolen and misused.
In addition, many people don’t realize that large corporations and popular businesses routinely sell their users’ information. These companies are required by law to put into their terms and conditions that they are able to sell your information but very few people actually look into that information when filling out forms online. By selling that information to third parties, it opens people up to spam emails, mail, phone calls, and a whole host of other problems. Don’t be fooled – these companies do not care that they’re selling your personal information; it is just money in their eyes.
Another way your information can be compromised is by physical collection. If you’ve ever lost your purse or had your wallet stolen or even left a credit card behind at a restaurant, you are in danger. Additionally, personal information can be acquired by dumpster diving or digging through trash to find anything that was discarded without being shredded. Most banks and doctors’ offices have policies in place where they are required to shred personal information, but it may not occur to people that their trash from home might be gone through either by people they allow into their home or predators who could dig through your trash bin out by the road before it is collected. Any acquisition of a physical piece of identification puts someone at risk. Not only could they have access to your account number but they could use the person’s ID and other pieces of information to open lines of credit and do major damage financially.
In 2014, 54% of people reported that their fraudulently used information was initiated by a phone call. Most commonly, a scammer will pose as a representative from a financial institution and tell the victim that they have had suspicious activity on their account and that they need to have the victim verify information. It is only later that the victim realizes that they’ve been lied to and that they basically handed over their entire security to a stranger on the phone.
Because it can be embarrassing to admit that you have been scammed, often times victims will let their pride get the best of them and will not report that they have been victimized. A lot of online scammers rely on the human ego to be too proud to admit that they have been taken advantage of and they will go unreported. The Bureau of Justice reports that fewer than 1 in 10 identity theft victims report the incident to the police.
It is important to have a physical copy of your accounts and credit/debit card information. This could be physically written or photocopied, but make sure it is stored in a secure place where no one can misuse this information. In a situation where a card is lost or your wallet is stolen it is important to know what was in there and have quick access to the account numbers so you can actively contact the companies and report the lost or stolen cards.
Acting quickly is integral to getting your identity back. The quicker you report it the sooner you can flag your accounts and avoid further damage.
There are a few warning signs that personal information is or could be compromised. If a red flag is raised, a lot of damage can be avoided.
Protecting your password should be a #1 priority. Most people don’t realize that wireless connections can be hacked relatively easily. If a user is on a wireless network at a local coffee shop he or she may be having everything they type logged using malware that is monitoring the network.
As a rule, avoiding malware in any form is integral to security. Apple computers are generally regarded as safer from malware because viruses are supposedly harder to create for their operating system along with them being less appealing because they are less used globally than windows computers. However, they are not impervious to spyware. Installing a network protection program such as Norton Anti-Virus can block infected downloads, warn you about known social media scams and flag suspicious content.
Using encrypted sites was mentioned in passing before but it is of utmost importance and needs to be remembered. If a website begins with http:// it is NOT encrypted and any information entered on it is subject to being public information. Only sites that begin with https:// are encrypted.
Alternatively, if you would like to take a more proactive stance at protecting online predators from getting your IP address, you could utilize a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, service. For as little as $5/month, VPN services mask your IP address and give you a generalized IP address from anywhere in the world you choose. Hackers won’t be able to use your IP address to access your confidential information any time you are utilizing this tool. Even better, it can be used on any computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone via a downloadable desktop application or smartphone app.
When in doubt, check with the Better Business Bureau. It is easy to do and can be a failsafe, validating the quality of a website or business. This is an especially helpful resource when considering buying something online. Before you hand over your credit card details for a cute shirt or a funny coffee mug, check the business to make sure it isn’t a fraud.
Passwords should be changed every 4-6 months, especially those linked to financial and medical institutions. Use a complex and unique password, utilizing capitalization, numerals, and symbols wherever possible. Also, passwords should not be the same across the board for every login. As complicated as it can be to remember each password, there are programs designed to keep track of that information for you. There are mobile apps for smartphones as well as desktop applications that keep track of passwords for you.
One highly recommended one is called LastPass, which is available for Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile for free. It not only stores your passwords in a safe place but also has a strong password generator. It is integrated into your phone’s browser and will automatically fill in login details for you. Users can choose to generate new, secure passwords and it will automatically add or update their list for them. This makes changing passwords easy to keep track of. It also syncs with your other devices seamlessly, allowing family password sharing.
Another app option is called Keeper and is available for free on iOS, Windows Phone and Android. Not only does it keep passwords but it also can secure personal information and share it with trusted contacts directly from the app. It, too, has a password generator and can auto-fill login information. It offers iCloud backup and syncing for a charge but gives you a free 30-day trial.
If trusting apps isn’t appealing or if you don’t own a smartphone, you could also keep a written list of usernames and passwords in a secure location. When not in use, lists including sensitive information should be locked up in a safe.
As technology progresses, more secure technologies are becoming available. This includes, but is not limited to, voice recognition, iris-scanning, and fingerprint recognition. The fingerprint is already being utilized in iPhones, the HTC One M9+, the Samsung Galaxy A8, and a handful of others. Even better, apps that allow purchasing or could benefit from added security are using the fingerprint software built into these platforms. Already, Amazon.com, eBay, the iTunes store and many others are encouraging users to utilize the fingerprint in place of a password not only for ease of use but increased security. It doesn’t hurt that it is much quicker to press your finger to the sensor than to type a username and password.
Security extends far beyond the digital realm, too. Making sure that personal documents are shredded rather than just discarded is something most people don’t think about but should. If you don’t have a shredder, there are companies like UPS or The Office Depot that will shred documents for a nominal fee.
Finally, make sure you review your credit report annually. Under the FACT Act, Federal law allows you a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. Make sure to run that report every year and review any flags for accuracy. Any incorrect information or reports can be disputed and an audit can be requested to review the information. Yes, it is time consuming and often arduous but it is absolutely worth the effort. Each of the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, offer a subscription service that allows you to check your score whenever you want but you can access your free reports by going to the Annual Credit Report website. This is a secure, federally assembled website that asks you for your social security number so make sure you are on a secure computer and in a private place where no one might snoop over your shoulder while entering your information.
If you’re overwhelmed, it is understandable. There are so many threats coming at us from various angles and it is almost impossible to stay ahead of the new ploys being conceived each and every day. It might be a wise idea to consider investing in Identity Theft Protection. Their job is to watch your back by monitoring new accounts being opened in your name and even watch for suspicious activity on your credit accounts. It can be expensive but it is worth it. Which company you choose depends on whether your identity has been stolen yet or not. If you have already suffered identity theft, you may want to consider a company like ID Watchdog ($14.95 or $19.95/month), whose primary goal is to help you recover your identity, even if the offenses happened before you joined their service. If protection before identity theft happens is the goal, a company like Identity Force might be a good option (12.95/month with 30 day free trial or $19.95/month).
Honestly, one of the best resources that I have found to date has been a compiled list of 87 security experts’ Twitter accounts. They tweet daily about the newest trends, news and security concerns to be aware of. There’s a comprehensive list found here and you can follow the experts individually or choose to follow all of them at the same time by accessing the list the author compiled.
Another useful list is by Heimdal security, which includes over 50 tips and tricks from various security experts and is a great resource to utilize.
Want to know more? Here are a few good places to look to find statistics and more in-depth information on identity theft and keeping security a priority.
Children and teens, who are just learning to navigate social relationships, often find themselves in social situations that are fraught with awkward exchanges. When the line between normal, even acceptable, playful teasing crosses into bullying, problems arise. It’s often difficult for them, and even adults, to discern when teasing becomes bullying, and when a laughing together becomes laughing at someone else’s expense.
Simply put, bullying can be boiled down to unwanted social attention. While it can be subtle or blatant; take place online, or in public; be physical or aggressive; there are a few characteristics that can help define bullying.
RIP is a good mnemonic to help remember the key elements of defining bullying behavior:
Bullying is repetitive, especially after the bullied person has asked for it to stop; thus, the bully is aware that s/he is causing the bullied person(s) physical/emotional discomfort, and furthering the power dynamic. Additionally, bullying is often focused, repeatedly, on the same person, or groups of people.
Bullying is done with the intent of hurting others. This can be physically, or emotionally. A bully is fully aware that they are hurting their targets, and do it anyway.
In general, a bully (or group of bullies) is in a position of social, or physical, power over the person(s) s/he is bullying. The misconception about bullying is that it’s done only by (a) physically strong person(s), or a popular person(s).
Bullying behaviors can range from anything to excluding others from social groups, to physical aggression. It is a wide range that includes verbal, social and physical behaviors. For example, verbal, physical and social behaviors are all included in the definition of bullying.
Physical Bullying can range from intimidation, threats, and assault. Bullies can resort to any form of violence, such as pushing, kicking, punching or other such examples.
Childhood Example: A child pushes another child down, and steals his toy, or swing, at the playground.
Teen Example: One teen accidentally-on-purpose bumps into another in the hallway, between classes, spilling his books and papers.
Daven, who was bullied as a child, tells Parents and Teens Against Bullying.org, that the constant physical abuse that he endured from his bully, such as flicking, punching, and even having his bully’s snot wiped on him, was humiliating. He describes the effect of this time as isolating, and full of self-doubt, and that like most victims of bullies, he regrets not involving an adult. Daven lived to tell his tale, and recognize that, in his words, “bullying is the weak choice,” but, according to a Yale University study, bullied victims are up to 9% more likely to consider suicide; and, in the UK, some studies have linked up to half of youth suicides to bullying.
Verbal/Social Bullying/Relational Bullying
Verbal bullying includes harassment in the form of teasing and taunting, such as name calling, manipulation, and spreading false rumors. According to StopBullying.gov, this is meant to destroy the victim’s reputation. Perhaps, most painful, relational and social bullying is also about socially isolating a victim, and making him/her feel like they don’t belong to their peer group.
Childhood Example: You are a poopie pants! You can’t play with us because you smell bad! We don’t play with poopie pants!
Teen Example: A group of girls stops talking as soon as Jennifer approaches. Jennifer, until a few weeks ago, considered those girls her best friends. She asks what their plans are for the weekend, and the girls exchange glances with one another, snicker, and one girl replies, “um, nothing you’d want to do.” The rest of the girls laugh. Jennifer walks away, and the girls immediately start talking and laughing again.
An Anonymous girl shares that her social isolation lead to her eventual need to be home-schooled, via a cyber-program. She says that it all started with a group of girls and a rumor that spread like wildfire; the anonymous victim lost all of her friends, and became increasingly isolated by her bullies. Still, she was not at peace, because her bullies created false social media accounts to leave cruel and taunting messages and comments on her social media pages. She wasn’t safe from their isolation, even in isolation. Ultimately, when she returned to school, her bullies weren’t finished with her. She tried to stand up for herself, but to no avail. Not unlike many bullying situations, this one doesn’t simply end; it trails on and on, highlighting administrative need for no-contact and knock-it-off policies.
Online bullying consists of harassing a victim through social media, text message, email and other messaging systems. It also includes using a school’s online resources, or false online accounts to destroy a person’s online reputation.
Childhood Example: Depends on the social media access a child has.
Teen Example: Nice bathing suit. Ever hear of a diet? Or the gym?
There is almost no end to the examples of online bulling stories in the media these days. For example, Hannah Smith, was taunted mercilessly regarding her weight, skin condition, and even a death in her family, on the messaging site Ask.fm, for weeks leading up to her suicide in 2013. Or, there is the story of Grace K. McComas, who was cyberbullied for months leading up to her suicide in 2012.
Online bullying may have a sexual component, such as blackmail, as the bully may have access to compromising information or explicit content. The misconception is that the teen always sends the compromising material to the bully themselves. This isn’t always the case; and even if it were, it doesn’t, or shouldn’t matter. For example, in the case of Erin Andrews, the TV Sportscaster and personality who was famously involved in the “peephole” video and subsequent cyberbullying saga, she was videotaped, in the nude, in her hotel rooms, as she traveled for work, without her knowledge over the course of several years. Her life and career was nearly destroyed by a bully, and she continues to endure cyberbullies who tweet and message her regularly about the incident. Often, teens have photos (or videos) taken of them in bathrooms, through windows, or when they are unconscious. The very real pain at the loss of reputation, coupled with the mockery from peers, can be devastating.
Take the suicide of Jessica (Jesse) Logan, a typical, otherwise happy high school senior from Ohio, who sexted a nude to her boyfriend. They broke up, and he cruelly sent the photo to everyone at their school. She tried to soldier on, but her grades dropped, she started skipping school, and to make it through the day, she’d hide in the bathroom to avoid the students who were calling her a slut, and a whore. She even tried to make the best of a bad situation, going on a local news program as a victim’s advocate for cyberbullying, hoping to prevent something similar from happening to someone else. But, after attending the funeral for someone else, another suicide, Jesse came home and hung herself in her closet.
Bullying can seem random, sometimes; but current research shows that nearly a quarter of students report being bullied. There is some data to suggest that certain types of students are at more risk for bullies than others, and certain personalities are more at risk for being bullies than others.
Students who are more likely to be bullied are generally perceived as “different” than their peers. LGBT youth, and those with disabilities, are especially at risk. However, these, and others, are protected under the law, from such provocation. For example, race, religion ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation and disability are all protected classes, under national law. Schools should all be versed on law, and have policies in place to protect these students, should conflicts arise.
Aside from the general idea of those who are less popular than the “in crowd,” students who simply don’t get along well with others, appear anxious, or are unable to defend themselves against provocation are easy targets for bullies. Of course, those who look different than others are always targets for bullies as well; this means that those who are overweight, or who dress differently, or wear their hair in a different fashion. None of the above list will necessarily guarantee that someone will be harassed, but it will certainly not help, if a bully is out to get them.
Often, educators focus on the victims of bullying, and fail to identify the types of students who can become bullies, and therefore don’t intervene before there’s a potential problem. But, it’s equally important to help the bully; according to the Olweus Bullying Prevention Group, 60 percent of boys who were bullies in middle school had a criminal conviction by 24. Shockingly, 40 percent had three or more convictions.
Bullies are born from students who are not only overly-concerned with social status, but also with dominance over their weaker peers to bolster, or mask, their own self-esteem issues. Bullies that turn to physical aggression, not surprisingly, often have issues with violent behavior, and with following rules and standards, and often “hang” with the wrong crowd. Perhaps most importantly, according to a University of Washington and Indiana University Study, administrators may be able to spot them early and intervene, by noting that bullies are far more likely to come from troubled and violent homes.
The same qualities of repeated, intentional, and social/psychological power plays are involved with cyberbullying. The only difference is that the bullying takes place via electronic mediums such as cell phones, computers or other electronic devices. Cyberbullying can be threatening text messages, e-mails; or, it can even rumors or information posted on public, social media sites or message boards. It can take place exclusively online; or, bullies can combine cyberbullying with traditional bullying.
It’s easy to confuse cyberbullying with cyberstalking, especially because we often hear these words used interchangeably, sometimes. It’s especially easy to become confused because cyberbullying has an element of stalking to it: the relentless messaging, the social media pages, and the ability to track the victim, online.
However, cyberstalking is a bit different. Cyberstalking is a repetitive, malicious vendetta often with no legitimate purpose, ironically against a very personal target, carried out with premeditation and obsessive zeal. Cyberstalkers disregard all warnings to stop their illegal activity, and reasonable reasons to stop (like that they are causing distress to another human being).
Cyberbullying is, in many ways, different than “typical” bullying. Cyberbullying is primarily psychological, as it’s perpetrated through social manipulation and intimidation via messaging and interference with one’s social status through message boards and groups. The primary, and most important, difference between cyberbullying, and traditional bullying, is that it can, and often does, occur 24-hours a day. Cyberbullying takes the “repetition part of bullying to the extreme.
Victims have no respite, or safe place, from their bullies. If they are being bullied on their cell phones, their message beep can go off, even in the safety of their bedroom, even when they are asleep. If they are gaming, involved in a safe community of peer players, it can quickly be infiltrated by bullies who attack them with brutal messages, or ostracization.
Another major difference with cyberbullying is that the “power” may not be the same typical social or physical imbalance that a typical bully has over their victim. Instead, a cyberbully may have access to virtual information, such as an “incriminating,” message, e-mail, or photograph that the victim doesn’t want anyone else to see. This is still an imbalance of power, but not in the traditional sense. It changes the power dynamic, and makes power somewhat of a grey area in the bully/victim relationship, as the bully may have access to this information because they were formerly close, or even intimate, with their victim.
Worst of all, much of cyber bullying, especially among older students, is sometimes sexually motivated, or sexually graphic. Even if untrue, cyber bullying can spread false rumors, ruining reputations through social groups. While the CDC reports that sexual promiscuity among teens is down, with an average of less than 30% of teens having engaged in sexual activity in the previous three months, 21% of those surveyed had been drinking or doing drugs, prior to sexual activity. With inhibitions lowered, photos, texts and videos are a problem.
The subjects of the new Netflix document documentary, Audrie and Daisy (2016), are teenage girls who both admit to drinking more than they normally would one night. These girls learn the hard way that the boys they thought they trusted to care for them at their worst are only lying in wait for their weakest moments, snapping photos of them as they disrobe them, probe their nude bodies, and then spreading videos, texts or rumors around their respective schools. Audrie’s will doesn’t withstand the torturous rigor of the texts, emails and constant shaming she feels at the loss of her reputation; she commits suicide. Daisy attempts to kill herself several times, especially when she learns that her perpetrators will not face sexual assault charges, and she’s called a liar and a whore by her fellow students, former friends via text and message, relentelessly.
However, not all victims of cyberbullying find online contact distressing. In fact, according to the Second Youth Internet Safety Survey, 38% of students weren’t bothered by being harassed online. It was only when online harassment crossed into offline harassment as well, did they feel upset by e-bullying.
Estimates of victims of cyberbullying vary; some studies find as many as 40% of students have reported incidents of cyberbullying. According to the CDC, 15% of high school students have reported being electronically bullied, in the past year; and, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, 7% of students between grades 6-12 experienced cyber-bullying. Noting that cyberbullying appears to more than double, when restricted to high school students, but is reported early, begs intervention and knowledge regarding how students are engaging, and how to intervene as early as possible.
Cyberbullying.org conducted a study that made it especially clear to students what the definition of cyberbullying is. They told students that cyberbullying meant “repeatedly mak[ing] fun of another person online, or repeatedly pick[ing] on another person through email or text message; or when someone posts something online about another person that they don’t like.” With this definition, about 25% of 10,000 randomly selected 11-18 year olds reported that they’d been cyberbullied (over the past seven years); but only 12% in the past year (January 2014). 17% admitted to cyberbullying others in the past seven years; and only 4% admitted to bullying others in the past year.
This data tells us that while we may have been behind, figuring out this arena where students have been harassing their peers, programs and procedures that are designed to target and reduce it, are working. Therefore, we need to continue to both recognize and highlight cyberbullying as a problem, and we need to work toward positive and effective solutions to eliminate it.
Identifying cyberbullying starts by realizing that you need to look for both victims and bullies. Unlike traditional bullying, victims and bullies share some similar behaviors, such as hiding their phone screens from teachers, quickly minimizing computer browser windows from adults, or refuses to discuss their online activity with adults (or others). However, victims and bullies do behave differently in other ways.
Identifying Cyberbully Victims
In this video, despite some of the out dated technology, we see many the examples of a “typical,” cyberbully, and a “typical,” cyberbullying victim. The bully makes attempts to socially isolate the victim, makes him feel socially inferior, and is cruel. The victim withdraws at home, seems sad and refuses to discuss his problem with his mother, quickly hiding all evidence.
According to recent data, students are less likely to report cyberbullying when their school promotes a climate with safe peer-to-peer relationships, and a generally safe environment. Currently, there is not enough research on this nebulous topic; but according to Cyberbyullying.org, students who agreed with statements such as, “feel[ing] safe at school,” feel[ing] that teachers at their school really try to help them succeed,” and “feel[ing] that teachers at their school care about them,” were less likely to report either being victims of cyberbullying, or being cyberbullies themselves. The good news, is that while incidents of cyberbullying are up more than 50 percent in the last five years, nearly 70 percent of students who felt harassed sought help from a trusted friend, parent, or other adult authority figure, leaving room for trusted practices to work.
There’s no room for bystanders in bullying. With over 80% of teens using a cell phone, it’s difficult to catch; but, that’s why it’s important for adults to be engaged in the lives of young people and adolescents. Ask questions. Be involved. Notice when things are different. Quite simply: pay attention. And remember, bystanders are victims too. Bystanders report symptoms of anxiety, guilt and shame associated with incidents of bullying.
There’s a relatively simple list of items/ideas that can help in any cyberbullying situation:
Be a friend to youth. Or, encourage your children to have an adult friend. It’s okay if your children feel more comfortable confiding in a coach, or teacher; just make sure they feel comfortable confiding in someone.
Mediation can sometimes help resolve a bullying situation, if it’s a misunderstanding that has blown out of proportion. Attempt a talk-it-out situation carefully, if you engage a trained counselor as a mediator and you are confident that violence won’t escalate.
Make sure you visit websites that your children frequent, with them, and learn the ins and outs of the pages. Get to know their online “friends,” and be aware of their online activity. Know when things change.
It’s never a good idea to add fuel to a fire; so, teach your children not to respond to cyberbullies. Don’t give them any information, respond to any messages, or let them know that they are bothering you. In many ways, this is not much different than traditional bullying; as emotional as it may seem, leaving it alone, may be the best answer.
Despite the grey areas of the laws, cyberbullying and cyberstalking are against the law. While there is some potential shame and fear associated with cyberbullying, especially if it’s related to sexual activity, or rule-breaking such as underage drinking or drug use, it’s vital that kids and teens are instructed to never delete any harassing messages.
All online services, such as Facebook, or even Craigslist, have reporting services to report unauthorized, or inappropriate usage, and cyberbullying. Without screenshots and evidence, it’s almost impossible to enforce their policies, however. Utilize their reporting services, and provide them with the evidence you’ve saved to quickly put an end to “small” incidents of cyberbullying.
Most schools have resource officers; engage them, and make sure they are aware of incidents of cyberbullying among the students in their purview. More importantly, make sure that they are aware of the laws that govern cyberbullying in their state, and how to enforce them. Resource officers are specially trained to deal with students and adolescents; sometimes, simply allowing the resource officer to intervene is enough to scare the cyberbully into stopping, rather than engaging criminal charges. However, if activity continues, or if harassment is especially malicious, engage the entire team and report activity to the local and state authorities.
If the bullying is especially pervasive or violent, and as such is affecting the learning environment, it is important to make sure that students are supervised and kept apart as much as possible, both to protect their safety, and to keep other students from being affected. It’s important to make sure that the situation is left to fizzle, rather than ignite. An adult can be provided to walk a student to class, to sit nearby, but not necessarily with the student, in the cafeteria, for example.
An anti-bullying task manager or team manager should be assigned at the elementary through high school level to work with faculty, administrators, counselors and staff to be kept abreast of all new information in the field, and to have “boots on the ground,” as it were, with the students. Engage a staff member who cares about bullying, stopping it, and about student mental health.
Zero-tolerance sounds good on paper, and it sounds good to parents; but, for kids it can sound scary and it can make them afraid to report bullying for fear of reprisal, perhaps even fearing that they may be disciplined themselves, as part of the bullying scenario. Zero tolerance policies have their merits, but it’s important to recognize their limits when dealing with complex bullying scenarios, adolescents and teens.
Parents are a valuable resource. In many cases, they will be the ones who will be able to tell you if the student’s eating, sleeping, or behavior habits have drastically changed, which will help sound the alarm to a more serious situation. Additionally, parents are a great resource to help reinforce school policy; as administrators you want them on your team, so listen to their needs and be conscious of them. Their primary concern, and yours, is stopping their child’s hurt.
Community leaders, especially city and county leaders such as mayors and city council members have taken strong roles in speaking out against anti-bullying. Take the time to engage them in speaking at your school, or in writing letters to your students. Engage your local sports teams, or other civic leaders to form a culture of anti-bullying at your school.
The best way to prevent bullying, of any kind, is to create an environment where bullying isn’t tolerated or condoned. In an ideal world, this is easy. All students love one another, and everyone gets along. There’s no gossip, everyone’s a star athlete, plays in the school band, and gets straight A’s. But, that’s not how it works. So, StompOutBullying, makes these Top 20 suggestions for “Stomping Out” Bullying in your school:
- Don’t laugh
- Don’t encourage the bully
- Stay at a safe distance, and help the target get away
- Don’t become an “audience” for the bully
- Reach out and become a friend to a bullying victim
- Help the victim in any way that you can
- Support the victim in private
- If you notice someone being isolated, invite them to join you
- Include the victim in some of your activities
- Tell an adult if you see bullying, or are being bullied
- Encourage your school to participate in bullying or cyberbullying prevention programs
- Start a peer mentoring program at school
- Raise awareness of bullying and cyberbullying prevention in your community
- Teach friends about being more tolerant of others, even if they are different
- Ask your school to set up a private box where kids who are bullied can report it, anonymously
- Get someone to sponsor a conflict resolution team
- Encourage school administrators to adopt Internet-use policies that address online hate, harassment and pornography
- Create events in your school and community to raise anti-bullying, and bullying prevention awareness.
- Create bullying prevention awareness posters for your school
- Stand up and do something when you hear someone making jokes or comments about: someone’s sexual identity, family member(s), weight, clothing, skin color, accent, or disability.
Consider allowing the use of smart phones, especially with apps like SitWithUs, an app designed especially for bullied kids, by a teenager, a victim of bullying herself. The app is designed for kids with no one to sit with in the school cafeteria; they can designate themselves as “alone,” and hope that someone else, an ambassador, will see their avatar and invite them to their table, or vice versa. So far, it’s being used in lunchrooms across the country, and even internationally. It prevents kids from being openly rejected, if they stroll up to a table, and try to make a new friend, while simultaneously being invited to be friends with new people. It means never having to eat alone, and never being rejected.
Currently, cyberbullying is covered at the state level. All states have laws covering cyberbullying, but there is a wide range of what is allowable, for prosecution, or what is considered legal, or protected, under the letter of the law. The Cyberbullying Research Center keeps an updated, interactive map of what states have what laws, including those proposed.
Importantly, laws must consider the fact that cyberbullying can occur both on and off campus. So, laws have to be proposed in such a way that educators have to make a determination whether cyberbullying that happens off campus is having a noticeable detrimental effect on the learning environment on campus. To understand the confusion, realize that states either have decided on criminal sanctions, school sanctions, school policy, or an off-campus policy (or a combination of these).
These terms can be confusing, because they all sound so similar.
A threatened penalty for disobeying.
Because cyberbullying (and bullying) can be classified as a crime, it is subject to criminal punishments.
Schools get to create and adopt their own disciplinary measures and policies.
The bullying law requires all states, apart from Montana, to set an anti-bullying policy to both identify behaviors and disciplinary policies.
In some states, the bullying law gives the school latitude to discipline students in certain appropriate ways.
As mentioned above, schools are allowed to discipline students for off-campus behavior, if they’ve determined that it disrupts the on-campus learning environment.
California has a “Yes” in all four categories above, for example; as does New Jersey, Louisiana and Pennsylvania and Tennessee. However, states like Wyoming are only 50% yes and 50% no. There are wide variations from state-to-state.
In some cases, felony harassment charges can be brought against cyberbullies; but, there is currently no federal laws against cyberbullying, specifically. The only specific federal laws, are those that can be brought against protected classes, as mentioned in Section 1. Protected classes, such as those with disabilities, LGBT, or minorities should be versed in the following federal laws. School administrators and staff should obviously be equally aware.
Education and information is part of the answer to stopping cyberbullying. Teaching our kids how to respond to harassment properly, and teaching our kids how not to bully, is a big part of the solution. So, how soon is too soon to teach kids about cyberbullying?
Kid’s Health recommends framing discussions about bullying, in general, as early as Pre-K, in age-appropriate ways. Eyes On Bullying agrees, pointing out that, often, people overlook early childhood years in bullying prevention, because they underestimate both children’s intelligence, and their emotional maturity. Teach InCntrl promotes cyberbullying education for all students across all areas of the curriculum.
Bullying in very young children can look very different, however, with a strong tendency toward subtle bullying for girls and physical bullying for boys. In an example described in their book, Dr. Storey and Dr. Slaby describe a scenario in which a preschool girl, sitting at lunch begins a game in which she questions the children at her table, requiring them to raise their hands for affirmative responses with prompts like, “who likes X, Y, Z.” All of her prompts are things that all children would be sure to respond in the affirmative to, such as candy, movies and the like. But, when she gets to the end of her inquiries, she asks, “and who likes Madeline?” This is the beginning of social bullying.
hey suggest bullying education for children begin as early as preschool with social skills education, while they develop the language skills to express the feelings they are having. It’s important to catch bullying behaviors while they are happening and reappoint them into appropriate social interactions. Story time and circle, or morning meeting time, they suggest, is a good time to use examples and engagement to point out appropriate ways to interact with peers, and to define the line between teasing and taunting.
Additionally, they recommend the key life skills of empathy, problem solving and assertiveness to both address bullying, and to prevent becoming one. To learn empathy, they suggest that students learn to label their feelings and that they learn to compare themselves to others in a way that helps them appreciate their differences. Additionally, helping others to feel better teaches children to feel better about themselves, and helps reinforce the “golden rule.” Problem solving activities, such as team-work, and rudimentary what-if scenarios help preschoolers learn to deal with frustration in a safe environment to build their self-confidence. Assertion activities, such as teaching kids to keep their cool, and role-playing response scenarios, and learning when to ignore and when to get help are important tools for preschoolers to both build their self-esteem, and to understand the complexities of bullying scenarios.
There are several, national anti-bullying resource centers set up to both provide information, and to direct victims, parents, and educators to required resources. For example, the Victims of Crime Resource Center Hotline is reachable at 1-800-Victims, and through their website. Additionally, The Cyberbullying Research Center provides links to not only report bullying on all major social media sites, but also information and resources to victims, nationwide. StopBullying.gov also provides access to both information and links to both national phone number databanks, and links to local counselors.
StompOutBullying is a national website with a 24-7 web-chat service for teens to find access to help for support about bullying. Trained counselors monitor the chat room to provide support and assistance to teens who are looking for advice. Additionally, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s (AACP) website provides a clearinghouse of both information about bullying and cyberbullying, but also links to resources and links to counseling services in your child’s area.
New social media sites pop up seemingly every day. And, just as quickly fade away. Keeping up with what your tweens and tweens are doing online, and who they are doing it with, is important to helping them avoid both their being cyberbullied, or becoming one. For example, a newer(ish) social media site, Musical.ly has taken social media by storm, often outranking Snapchat and Instagram in the App Store. Musical.ly, a seemingly harmless video sharing site, where people can lip-sync to their favorite tunes, is no different than other social media sites, in terms of potential for cyberbullying or predatory danger. Privacy and user settings, and parental oversight can go a long way in preventing many dangerous, and harassment situations.
While it seems, sometimes, that Facebook set the gold standard for social media, it seems that teens began migrating away from it sometime ago. Still, they have a bullying prevention hub, especially targeted at teens. In their hub is access to a PDF, which includes step-by-step instructions and conversation starter ideas for teens who have found themselves in harassment scenarios.
The first step, is always to unfriend someone who is bothering you, and block offensive people. Of course, if there are false accounts out there, this can become problematic, and like cutting the head off of a hydra, but start there. And, FB warns that blocking is reciprocal, so you won’t be able to see what they post about you anymore, which can make you feel antsy, wondering if, on their page, false information about you is spreading like wildfire, now that you can’t see it anymore. Still, FB warns that the best steps are to stay calm and not to retaliate. They suggest that if there is something you find particularly offensive, you can delete it from the areas of FB that you have access to, but warn to save things you may need as evidence, if required. Additionally, they provide scripts and prompts to start conversations with people about how to calmly approach online bullies.
Interestingly, the provide the opposite side of the scenario. They provide resources for the bully. They consider what it might be like to be approached by a victim, and be blindsided as a bully, perhaps not even aware that they’ve committed an offensive act. They provide advice for the bully and suggest the most appropriate behaviors if you have been told that you’ve done something offensive to another person. For example, they suggest that you take the other person’s feelings into account, before you get angry and offended, and that the first thing you should do is apologize.
Block and Delete. The most common advice of any website is going to start with these simple instructions. If you are being bothered by “troll,” especially in an isolated incident, which, on a site like YouTube is the most likely scenario, the first place they advise starting is to delete offending comments, or to ask the user to do so, and block offensive users. YouTube does have specific polices against hate speech; for example, they do not allow violence or hate speech against anyone based on race or ethnic origin, relation, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity. They also have specific policies against setting up fake accounts, “Impersonation,” and any suspicion of such accounts should be reported immediately. YouTube also has very strict policies against Child Endangerment as it applies to depicting sex with minors, so sharing videos of underage children engaged in any sexual activity, is strictly prohibited and should absolutely be reported, especially as it pertains to cyberbullying situations. In these cases, being a bystander is against the law, not only against YouTube policy.
However, the rest of YouTube policy is a little greyer. For example, their policy regarding sexually explicit content is prohibitive when it comes to violent, humiliating or graphic fetish, but is inclusive when it comes to nudity when it is educational, documentary or artistic. Additionally, its graphic or violent content policy is essentially a free pass, so long as its journalistic, and especially if the title is descriptive and/or there is an especially clear warning to viewers.
Threats are taken seriously, and they caution that law enforcement should be engaged immediately; however. But, their policy on harmful or dangerous content, such as videos of drug use or of dangerous “challenges” such as the choking challenge, they deem allowable if the primary purpose is educational, documentary or scientific. Finally, they caution that the best way to avoid anything you don’t want to see is the block and delete button.
Because of Instagram’s user settings, and communication settings, it’s particularly easy for cyberbullies to contact, and harass their victims, in various ways. For example, users can add cruel comments and hashtags to user’s photos, or create unflattering photos and attach them to a user’s photo/profile. Instagram has a reporting process for harassment and bullying.
Snapchat’s 10-second-and-it’s-gone makes it both easier, and more difficult for cyberbullies. It allows them to take incriminating photos, sometimes without the victim even realizing it, and send harassment without evidence lasting long enough to be traced. However, with quick knowledge of how to take a screenshot, a victim can track harassment, and there’s a way to stop the onslaught of constant messages. Snapchat has community guidelines, such as no pornography, and protecting someone’s privacy, such as not taking pics without someone else’s knowledge. And, Snapchat’s policy is no screenshots, despite their anti-bullying stance. It’s a nebulous arena. Still, they also have a reporting area; but also recommend a block first policy.
Snapchat does have policies to protect user’s privacy, and to prevent bullying. Primarily, to prevent cyberbullying, they do not allow for invasions of privacy, such as taking snaps of others without their knowledge. Additionally, they don’t allow for impersonation, much like YouTube, which means creating fake accounts, even to impersonate celebrities. Finally, they have a strict no-harassment policy, which means once someone has blocked you, you may not continue to harass them from another account, or from a new account. Their no-nudity policy, especially for those under 18 can contribute to a no-bullying environment by not allowing for embarrassing content, because it even prohibits sexually explicit drawings on otherwise benign snaps.
According to both Buzzfeed News, and CIO, Twitter’s refusal to appropriately deal with cyberbullying and online abuse and harassment has drug the social media giant to near death. Twitter promises a revamp and an absolute focus on the issue. Their current advice starts with the same advice as the others: ignore, block and unfollow. They do have a reporting process on their website.
Skype’s online communities are a great way to meet and befriend all kinds of people, for all kinds of reasons, with all kinds of interests; however, there are all kinds of ways to find trouble when the world is so big. Communities on Skype can often help police themselves, with members reporting to one another when they are having trouble, and using the block and ignore feature. But, like all other social media features, Skype also has a report feature, depending on which interface you are using.
Messenger and other chat forums rely on a community standard of “knowing” who you are talking to, rather than primarily stranger interaction, such as YouTube. The best way to avoid harassment is to be engaged with friends and people you are comfortable with, not with strangers. However, like all teens and tweens, social groups change, and falling outs occur, which can spill over into an online community setting. Again, ignore, block and delete when there’s trouble. If there’s evidence, save it. If there’s serious trouble, report it.
Much can be drawn from the raw data provided by bullying surveys. The primary data-gatherers on this topic are the CDC, The National Center for Education Statistics, and The Cyberbullying Research Center. Each of these sources compiles and gathers separate, but equally important sets of data that give us vital information.
When looked at, over time, from 2007, through 2016, the rate of reported cyberbullying offenders has declined sharply from 19.1% to 12.0% of students reporting self-reporting; however, the rates also fluctuate significantly from year to year, sometimes as much as 5-7%. Cyberbullying.org compiles data from ten different studies to gather an average of roughly 15.8% students who reported cyberbullying others, across the 9-year study period, with a low of 11.5% reporting in 2009, with an especially low sample class size. Intriguingly, the study compilation shows a sharp decrease in bullies self-reporting in 2009, suggesting that cyber bullying education has been helpful, but then an uptick to outpace 2007 numbers in 2010, and nearly again in 2011. It’s baffling to educators to figure out what works, and what doesn’t, to prevent bullying, when numbers like this present themselves over long spaces of time.
Intriguingly, victimization rates are nearly double the self-reporting rates for bullies, which suggests that either bullies are bullying more than one victim, that victims feel victimized by actions that bullies don’t necessarily feel is bullying, or that bullies are under-reporting. And, unlike the chaotic rise and fall of the bully self-reporting, victimization rates seem on a steady climb since 2007, with the exception of two slight dips in 2010 and 2013. The average reporting rate for victims, compiled over ten studies from cyberbullying.org is 27.9% and includes cyber bullying in all forms, such as e-mail, in the classroom, and over other electronic media.
An interesting comparison to note is the difference between reported victimization rates between middle schoolers and lifetime victimization rates. The rate doubles (or even triples) in almost all cases. This suggest an almost “grace” period in middle school where educators might be able to reach students and target bullying education, before the problem erupts.
Cyber bullying does not appear to discriminate for gender. Unlike other types of bullying where, for example, physical aggression is more typically associated with males, and social aggression is more typically associated with females, cyber bullying is more equally distributed. Both genders appear to be equally associated with cyber bullying behaviors. The disassociated connection with screens makes it easier for both genders to engage with behaviors that they may not otherwise engage in, if they were faced with an individual, making it easier for both genders to engage in cyber bullying behaviors; it’s like it’s simultaneously happening to both a real, and a not-real person.
Subsequently, victims of cyberbullying are also, mostly, equally spread amongst gender. There’s a slightly larger number of reported lifetime female cyber bully victims, but in general, victims are equally spread between male and female, especially amongst the middle school population. This suggests, once again, that the magic moment to reach the student population with cyber bullying education is at the beginning of middle school.
According to cyberbullying.org, middle schoolers use the Internet for a wide variety of purposes, and in descending order, it’s first and foremost for online games and homework, and lastly for chat rooms. Having data like this helps educators fine-tune education programs and gear bullying messages for their students based on what they know their students will be using and where they might be encountering bullying messages.
Cyber bullying is part of a complex puzzle that, if reduced, improves student performance and success. But, we cannot forget things like the value of parental involvement, drug and alcohol education, other education on other teen behaviors that can affect student life, like sex education. For example, according to the CDC, for example, 10% of teens (over the age of 12) have used illicit drugs in the past month. And, it’s easy to forget, but many students come to school without having eaten a decent meal; in states like Missouri, over 20% of homes have food insecurity, not knowing where their next meal comes from. Alas, cyber bullying is a very important part of a student’s success, but it’s not the only piece of their puzzle.
And, in fact, determining the other pieces, and addressing those, may help suss out the cyber bullying problem. If a student is being bullied for being so-called promiscuous, for example; or, if a student is being bullied because he wears second-hand clothes; or, if a student is being bullied for getting bad grades; it’s obvious that knowing students is helpful. Additionally, having the appropriate district, counseling, and support services is vital to student success in all cases. There is no “stop bullying,” or even “zero tolerance,” in most cases. It is not as simple as enforcing a consequence, or mending a fence; it requires support for the victim, and likely for the bully.
Additionally, based on evidence, bullying education in primary and middle school grades is vital in prevention. As we become more screen-dependent, our children will be versed earlier in technology. Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ newly revised, and recently released, guidelines about screen time for young children, parents will continue to expose children to technology at younger ages, until they are practically programming satellites in the crib. If we are to expect our children to understand the limitless joy and knowledge that technology can bring, it is incumbent upon us to teach them the limitless responsibility that comes with it as well, including the responsibility they bear, as in all things, to not cause others pain.
When you go away to college or, better yet, send your child away for an advanced education, you want the peace of mind knowing that they are safe. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the 50 Safest Colleges in America. The data to create this list was obtained from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, who keep statistics on campus crime. Criteria for making this list were public and private 4-year universities in the U.S., with an enrollment of at least 5,000 students. Primarily online institutions were not included and most recent data available was for calendar years 2011-2013.
Established in 1970, this independent university of over 19,000 students in New York City, NY was named after Jewish leaders Judah and Isaac Touro. The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, and there were no on-campus crimes reported for Touro College.
With over 14,000 undergraduates enrolled, this state college in Niceville, FL is part of the Florida College System. The 264-acre campus in the Ft. Walton Beach area of Florida’s Panhandle provides a variety of undergraduate degrees, and there were no on-campus crime incidents here.
A private research university founded in 1955, NYIT is located in New York City, NY and its main Old Westbury campus encompasses over 1,000 acres. With over 12,000 students, there were no on-campus crime incidents reported at NYIT.
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university located in Bellevue, NE. With an enrollment of over 10,000, the university has been operating since 1966 and is the 4th largest private college in Nebraska. There were no on-campus crimes reported here.
Established in 1916, this private liberal arts college offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level in more than 25 areas. Recognized repeatedly as among “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News and World Report, the Brooklyn campus of over 5,000 students has no on-campus crimes reported.
Located in Honolulu, HI, this private co-ed university of over 7,000 students was established in 1965. There was just one on-campus burglary reported during the study period.
A private university in Columbus, OH, Franklin University was originally founded in 1902 through a sponsorship by the Columbus YMCA. Now with almost 8,000 students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs, its main campus had just one burglary reported during the study period.
Governors State University is a public university located in University Park, Ill, south of Chicago. GSU was founded in 1969 and, as of 2014, went from just an upper-level university to one that offers undergraduate through doctorate level degrees. There was only one on-campus crime reported involving a vehicle.
St. Johns River State College is a member of the Florida College System and is located in Palatka, FL, on the state’s northeast coast. The college has over 7,000 enrolled students and is an accredited arts school. There were just two on-campus crimes listed during the reporting period at this school.
Colorado Christian University (CCU) is a private, interdenominational Christian liberal arts university of just over 5,000 students. Located in Lakewood, CO, the school was founded in 1914 at the Denver Bible Institute and offers 45 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. There were only two on-campus incidents during the reporting period.
Located in historic New Castle, Delaware, this private non-profit university has an enrollment of over 20,000 students. Many degree programs are offered in its seven colleges at the undergraduate and graduate level. There were just three on-campus crimes reported at this school.
A private Christian university located in Virginia Beach, VA, Regent University was founded by Pat Robertson in 1977. The university offers over 70 courses of study, including a School of Law and a School of Divinity. There were three on-campus crimes reported at this university.
UHD is a four-year state university in Houston, TX that is the second largest university in the Houston area. The 14,000 students at UHD attend a 20 acre downtown campus, and UHD has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as No. 7 among top public universities. Four on-campus crimes were reported at UHD during the reporting period.
With over 16,000 students, the senior college of the City University of New York in Brooklyn has been ranked multiple times by The Princeton Review as a top college for value. This liberal arts college has five on-campus crimes reported during the period covered.
A member of the University System of Wisconsin, UW-La Crosse was founded in 1909 and offers over 100 degree programs in its five schools. The school as over 10,00 students enrolled and had five on-campus crimes to report.
Also known as Metro State, this public university located in the Twin Cities of Minnesota has over 11,000 students enrolled. There are over 70 degree programs at several academic levels. The school had six on-campus crimes reported.
Located in New Albany, Indiana, the Indiana University Southeast is a part of the Indiana University system and is located in the Louisville, KY metropolitan area. There are over 55 degree programs at this school of 6,800 enrolled students. Six on-campus crimes were reported at this school.
One of two satellite campuses of the University of Michigan, UM-Dearborn has over 9,000 students and offers over 100 degree programs. In 2014, UM-D was ranked the 36th best university in the Midwest by U.S. News. There were seven on-campus crimes reported here during the reporting period.
Located in Ocala, FL, this public state college is a member of the Florida College System and offers bachelor’s degrees in several areas. With over 18,000 students enrolled, there were seven on-campus crimes reported here.
The tenth and newest of the University of California campuses, UC Merced, is located in Central California. The campus owns over 7,000 acres of land and has a current enrollment of over 6,000 students pursuing a choice of 21 majors. There were seven on-campus crimes reported here.
Located on Long Island in East Farmingdale, NY, Farmingdale State College is part of the SUNY system and is a public college of the State University of New York. With over 8,000 enrolled students, the schools offers 29 baccalaureate degrees, and there were just eight on-campus reported at this school.
Located in downtown Brooklyn’s City Triangle, City Tech has over 17,000 students enrolled in its 66 baccalaureate programs. This public college had nine on-campus incidents reported.
#23 The New School
The New School is a private, non-profit progressive university located in Greenwich Village, New York City. With over 9,000 students enrolled, the school has a rich history in its open and intellectual teaching environment. The New School had just nine on-campus crimes reported.
Duquesne University is private Catholic university located in Pittsburgh, PA. Founded in 1878, the school now has over 10,000 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs. There were just nine on-campus incidents reported here.
#25 Biola University
Originally founded in 1908 as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, Biola University is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts school in southern California. With just over 6,000 enrolled students, this university in La Mirada, CA had nine on-campus crimes reported.
The Baruch College of the City University of New York system is located in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan in New York City. With over 17,000 enrolled students, the school offers undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs. There were ten on-campus crimes reported here during the reporting period.
Located in Savannah, GA this private, non-profit university was founded in 1978 and has over 11,000 students enrolled in its eight schools. The school is ranked Number 1 for Interior Design by DesignIntelligence, and there were ten on-campus crimes reported at SCAD.
A public university, NJCU is located in Jersey City, NJ and serves over 9,000 enrolled students in its three colleges, offering more than 65 degree programs. Considered a liberal arts school, NJCU had eleven crimes reported on-campus.
#29 Lewis University
A private Roman Catholic and Lasallian university located in Romeoville, Ill., Lewis University brings more than 80 undergraduate and 22 graduate programs to its 6,800 enrolled students. There were eleven on-campus crimes reported here.
A private research university, WPI is located in Worcester, Mass and is an applied sciences and technical arts school. Founded in 1865, WPI was one of the United States’ first engineering and technology universities. Just eleven on-campus crimes were reported here.
Founded in 1807, UMB is the original campus of the University System of Maryland has some of the oldest professional schools of dentistry, law, pharmacy, social work and nursing in the nation. With over 6,000 enrolled students, there were eleven on-campus crimes reported here.
Located in Kirksville, Missouri Truman State University is a public liberal arts and sciences university with an enrollment of over 6,000 students. The school offers 48 undergraduate and 9 graduate programs, and there eleven crimes reported on-campus.
Located in Golden, CO, CSM a public teaching and research university devoted to engineering and applied sciences. With an enrollment of 5,600 students, CSM was ranked 75th in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best National Universities” ranking. There were eleven on-campus crimes reported here.
Headquartered in Marion, Indiana, IWU is a private, evangelical Christian liberal arts university that is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church denomination. The largest private university in Indiana, there are over 15,000 students enrolled here and twelve on-campus crimes were reported at IWU.
Also referred to as MTU or Michigan Tech, this is a public research university located in Houghton, Michigan. Rated among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review, there are over 7,000 students enrolled here, and just twelve on-campus crimes were reported.
Since 2010, this liberal arts and sciences school in Worcester, Mass has been a part of the state university system. Now with an enrollment of over 6,000 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs, the school continues to grow and reported just twelve crimes on-campus.
Located in Chicago, Ill., this state university was founded in 1867 and has an enrollment of over 7,000 students. Its five colleges offer over 60 degree programs, and there were twelve crimes on-campus reported here.
Located in western St. Louis County in Creve Coeur, Missouri, Missouri Baptist University is a private evangelical university with an enrollment of just over 5,000 students. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in eight areas, and there were twelve on-campus crimes reported during the reporting period.
This public university in Steven Point, Wisconsin is part of the University of Wisconsin system and has an enrollment of over 9,000 students. The school offers baccalaureate and master’s degrees in several areas and reported thirteen on-campus crimes.
IU Northwest is located in Gary, Indiana and is a regional university campus in the Indiana University system. Established in 1963, the school has over 6,300 enrolled students and reported thirteen crimes on-campus.
With over 14,000, CSI is a four-year senior college in the City University of New York System, located on Staten Island, NY. The school offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal arts and sciences, and there were just fourteen on-campus crimes reported here.
The oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, WSU is a public university located in Winona, Minnesota. With an enrollment of over 9,000 students, the school offers over 80 programs of study. There were fourteen on-campus crimes reported at WSU.
A private co-ed Catholic university located in San Antonio, TX, UIW was founded in 1881 and sits on a 154-acre campus. There are over 9,900 students enrolled in this school that offers baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. There were fourteen crimes reported on-campus at UIW.
A private, non-sectarian university located in downtown Boston, Mass. Suffolk University has an enrollment of over 10,000 students, and some of its MBA programs are ranked among the top in the country. Suffolk University had fourteen on-campus crimes during the reporting period.
A public university located in St. George, Utah, DSU has over 8.500 enrolled students and offers more than 150 academic programs. There were just fourteen on-campus crimes reported at DSU.
Located in Highland Heights, KY, just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati, NKU is a public, co-ed university that is primarily a liberal arts school. With an enrollment of over 15,000 students, there were just fifteen on-campus crimes reported at NKU.
A public university in the New Jersey state system, Stockton University is located in Galloway Township, New Jersey and has an enrollment of over 8,500 students. Stockton University had fifteen on-campus crime incidents during the reporting period.
Located in Garden City, New York, Adelphi University is a private, nonsectarian university that is the oldest higher education institute on Long Island. With over 7,800 enrolled students, the school was ranked #153 among National Universities by U.S. News and World Report. There were fifteen crimes reported on-campus at Adelphi University.
Also known as UAFS, this is a public university located in Fort Smith, Arkansas that is part of the University of Arkansas System. UAFS is the fifth largest university in the state, with over 7,500 enrolled students and had fifteen on-campus crimes reported.
Located in Biddeford, Maine, UNE is an independent, non-profit university that was founded in 1831 and has over 8,000 enrolled students. UNE has the only medical school in the state of Maine and there were just fifteen crimes reported on campus here.
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The information age comes with countless advantages, streamlining communication and allowing people to connect instantaneously. In the past, several contacts and coordination were often required to get people on the same page, but today mobile phones and computer technology link us at all times. In business, deals can be conducted in real-time and global economics benefit from our ability to stay connected in so many different ways. But the access created by so many forms of communication also crosses privacy boundaries, and sometimes compromises our ability to insulate ourselves from undesirable elements. Social networking, for example, puts people at risk when managed improperly. That’s why when you try and hire someone, you should use EmploymentBackgroundCheck.com And local advertising sites like Craigslist literally open the door for strangers to come into our lives. Safe practices aside, Craigslist crimes are real threats – just ask the unsuspecting victims.
1. The Mentor Murders
Most teens look up to respected elders, admiring them for their accomplishments and abilities, but this twisted plot brought a grown man and his protégé together for all the wrong reasons. Brogan Rafferty was impressionable enough to participate in a crime spree hatched on Craigslist, participating willingly in the affair. Along with his mentor, Richard Beasley, Rafferty placed ads on Craigslist seeking laborers to work on a fictitious Ohio ranch. Instead of employment, respondents were murdered and robbed. The duo successful snuffed-out three job-seekers, attempting to kill a fourth man who escaped. The men were arrested after he went to the police with the outrageous story. Despite claiming he was coerced, Brogan Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison, the maximum penalty for his crime. He was a minor at the time of the killings, so the death penalty was not on the table. Richard Beasley, the demented mentor, was not as lucky. He was sentenced to death in April, 2013 for the Craigslist murders.
2. Forced Prostitution
College students are always looking for some extra cash, but Tamla Hutchins would not willingly prostitute herself to get it. Instead, she was lured into forced Craigslist prostitution by a nefarious would-be pimping duo named Carlton Simons and Shenett Reevey. According to the casework, the pair promised the student an opportunity to meet famous stars like P-Diddy and the rapper Lil John. Instead, she was forced to prostitute herself using Craigslist ads. The 2007 crime brought the victim from her home in North Carolina to Queens New York where the plot unfolded. For his role, Carlton Simmons was sentenced to six years in prison.
3. Donna Jou Disappearance
Some Craigslist crimes go unsolved, partly because of the nature of the site. Often, one-on-one meetings are arranged on Craigslist, which is never a good idea. In the case of Ms. Jou, a man has already confessed to involuntary manslaughter and served a portion of the 5-year term he received for the crime. According to John Steven Burgess, Donna Jou responded to his Craigslist ad and joined him for cocaine and heroin before dying at his home. When he woke to find her dead, he panicked and threw her body into the ocean. The truth of the account is suspect, and Burgess has already been released after serving a few years in prison. In fact, Burgess has since been arrested after again using Craigslist to lure women to his home.
4. Katherine Ann Olson Murder
Responding to a Craigslist ad for a babysitter put Katherine Olson in touch with Amy, a mother needing childcare from 10:30 – 5:00. The details were set before Ms. Olson reported to work at a split-level home in Savage. Once there, she was coaxed into an upper area of the home and murdered in cold blood. Michael Anderson, her killer, was a 19 year old man with poor social skills. He killed Ms. Olson with a .357 caliber handgun, before dragging her body down the stairs and tying her up. The motive for the killing is largely unknown, though Anderson received the mandatory life without parole sentence.
5. Philip Markoff Craigslist Killer
The highly publicized saga of the Craigslist Killer involved charges stemming from the death of Julissa Brisman, as well as two additional assaults carried out on women responding to Craigslist ads. The case drew scrutiny for the unlikely perpetrator, who was a pre-med student and seemingly normal chap. As it turns out, Mr. Markoff had a dark side, displaying sexual deviance and other hidden irregularities. But perversion is not thought to be the primary motives for the assaults. Rather, Mr. Markoff appears to have been in dire straights financially, afraid to reveal the situation to his fiancé. Markoff took his own life in 2010, while serving a life sentence in prison.
6. Raped Maid
Michael Delgado called a maid he found on Craigslist to clean his home, but evidence pointed to a different motive for bringing her in. According to the 42-year old maid that came to his home, Delgado was little more than an opportunistic Craigslist rapist. Once there, she claims to have been raped for over an hour, leading to false imprisonment, assault and rape charges against Delgado. Tried at the end of 2012, Mr. Delgado’s jury ended in deadlock, failing to convict or acquit him on the six felony charges he faced. He will be retried on at least some of the charges.
7. Baby For Sale
Paul Marquez probably looked over the ‘for sale’ section for quite awhile before trying to sell a baby on Craigslist. The internet swap meet does not maintain a section for human trafficking. Mr. Marquez posted the ad out of irritation with his newfound girlfriend who mothered the child. According to the complaint, he asked $100 for the infant because it was “on his nerves”. The Craigslist ad was flagged and removed, but the perseverant Marquez reposted the offer. A responder was given the actual mother’s phone number, who then called police to report Marquez. several charges were levied, including child endangerment.
8. Wine Snob Beating
Seeking the finer things in life is to be admired, but pursuing high-end wine from a discount Craigslist posting carried unanticipated risks for one wine aficionado. When Quy Duc Nguyen showed up to purchase a handful of rare bottles, he got more than he bargained for. Traveling all the way from coast to coast, his arrival was tainted by a beating and robbery that left him with sour grapes.
9. Phone Home Shooting
Jonathan Clements used Craigslist to advertise his need for a new mobile phone. When he set up a meeting with Alexander Lyons, he expected a routine $95 transaction the men agreed upon. Following safe protocols, the meeting was arranged for a public gas station where safety would not be an issue for the men. Lyons pretended to be lost though, and instead was directed to Mr. Clements location, his Aunt’s house. Mr. Lyons was prepared for violence, and soon shot the unsuspecting buyer with a semi-automatic handgun. Mr. Clements died at the hospital a short time later. A life sentence was handed-down to Lyons, and the accomplice who furnished the weapon was also charged with murder.
10. Dao Xiong Auto Ad Killer
Craigslist is widely used for selling cars and motorcycles, so meet-ups are scheduled frequently. St Paul native Youa Ty Lor used the listing service to advertise his Nissan for sale. Unfortunately, a car thief was trolling the wires looking for victims. Mr. Lor agreed to meet Dao Xiong for a test drive, but Xiong reportedly never intended to buy the vehicle. He claims to have been interested only in stealing it, but his plans went awry when Mr. Lor was killed with a forty caliber semi-auto handgun. The murder weapon and telephone records quickly tied Xiong to the crime, leading to his arrest and conviction for the killing. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
11. John Katehis S&M Killer
When George Weber placed an ad on Craigslist, he was seeking a partner for a sex-related meet-up. The respondent, who later agreed to a sexual encounter for $60, was a twisted Satanist and S&M fetishist. He had a particular preoccupation with knives, which he eventually used to stab Mr. Weber to death. More than 50 stab wounds were present on his body and neck, inflicted by the sixteen year-old killer. Katehis was charged with second-degree murder, as an adult.
12. Long Island Killer
Answering ads for sex is the standard approach for this Craigslist criminal, known as the Long Island Serial Killer. The unidentified perpetrator is though to be responsible for as many as 15 murders in the GilGo Beach area. Over the course of several years, 10 bodies have been recovered from the area, each linked to the killer. While theories abound, it is certain the killer preys on prostitutes and women advertising sex on Craigslist.
13. Boat Buyer Assault
Ronald Kroll used Craigslist for its intended function, placing an ad to sell his boat. After communicating with an interested buyer, Darin Leutbecker, by phone, a test-drive was arranged and the men met at the boat. The 37 year-old Kroll fought back after Leutbecker pulled a gun on him, resulting in shots fired. The men struggled in the boat, before falling into the water, where Kroll eventually remained as his boat was stolen. Kroll was able to inflict some damage of his own, stabbing his attacker with a pocket knife before he fled.
14. Diamond Deal Killers
James Sanders had a diamond ring to sell, so he placed an ad on Craigslist. When four individuals responded for a meeting, Sanders directed them to his home. The Edgewood, WA man was told the ring was to be a Mother’s Day gift, but once inside his home, the group held Sanders and his family captive. As he struggled to protect his children, he was shot dead by the attackers. All four criminals were captured and tried, including 24 year-old Clabon Berniard who received a life sentence.
15. Auto Sale Kidnapping
Selling his BMW was all Alexander Filatov had in mind when he placed an ad on Craigslist. Travis Landry, who responded to the posting had different ideas for Filatov, including a 400+ mile trip in his own trunk. After meeting at Landry’s location, Filatov agreed to a test drive, and the men conducted what appeared to be a legitimate transaction. After accepting payment, Filatov opened the trunk for Landry, who asked to see it. With threats of violence, Landry forced him into the trunk of the BMW, before taking-off on a 450 mile drive. Filatov was not harmed, and his help led police to Landry who was later captured and tried.
16. Work Shirt Robbery
Craigslist does not discriminate among criminals, so it is not surprising that the site aids robberies too. A particularly clever criminal posted an ad for day laborers, instructing them exactly how to dress for the job. Ten men reported to the designated location, dressed as instructed. As they waited for their job assignments, another man emerged in the same outfit. He sprayed an armored guard with an irritant and ran off with a bag of money. The men served as distractions, as the perpetrator jumped into the nearby river. Despite the creative approach, Anthony Curcio was arrested and tried for the robbery.
17. Ellis T. Jones Craigslist Crimes
Ellis Jones played football at San Jose State, where his coach said he was not a disciplinary concern. A different story unfolded as Jones was linked to a robbery plot involving Craigslist. The man used classified ads to lure multiple victims to his location, before Tasing them or threatening them with a gun. The motive was robbery, which did not end well for Jones who was eventually removed from the football team and brought-up on 13 charges of Craigslist wrongdoing.
18. Killer: Alejandro Hernandez Rivera
Prostitution advertising is not limited to women on Craigslist. Alejandro Rivera was a male prostitute advertising regularly online, when he met sixty-six year-old Theodore Neff in 2008. The retired bank employee was a collector of rare flutes, which Rivera targeted to steal. in the end, Rivera strangled Neff to death, before setting his house on fire and taking off with his expensive instruments. Attempting to sell the flutes back to their maker, rivera exposed himself and was arrested for the murder.
19. Baby Killer
After posting an ad on Craigslist for baby clothes, Korena Roberts met Heather Snively. the two became fast friends, sharing what was thought to be mutual pregnancies. The grisly case took a terrible turn when Roberts, who was not pregnant at all, carried out her unseemly plot. the woman killed her friend, beating her to beat with a police baton, before removing the unborn baby from her womb. Both victims died, for which Roberts received a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole. During the investigation, it was revealed that Roberts had attempted the scheme previously without success.
20. Weyrick Murder
Sarah Weyrick was in dire straits financially, so she placed an ad on Craigslist to make some money. her ad was found in the casual encounters section by a 31 year-old man with grisly intentions. Some time after meeting with Phillip E. Bolden, Weyrick’s body was discovered in a burned-out vehicle. She had been stabbed to death, with multiple knife wounds to her neck. The car she was placed in was set ablaze to conceal the evidence, but the killer was eventually caught.
21. Len Dykstra Craigslist Sex Crimes
Former professional baseball player Len Dykstra has previously been convicted of grand theft auto, resulting from a scam wherein he bought cars with fake paperwork. The sports star turned criminal has had other run-ins with the law too, including a Craigslist crime spree involving sexual misconduct. Dykstra admitted to his crimes, which are essentially the same in each instance. He would call-in Craigslist advertisers for help around his home, only to inform them that the “help” included massaging him. Several women came forward, including one claiming he held her at knifepoint, forcing her to rub him. Dyksta served his sentence for the Craigslist crimes concurrently with his auto theft stint, released in the summer of 2013.
22. iPhone Robbery
When a buyer responded to a Craigslist ad offering a box of iPhones for sale, he got more than he bargained for. According to the complaint, the Seattle man was instructed to meet the seller at a business location where he said he worked. Once there, the buyer got into a car driven by the seller’s associate to complete the deal. Given a box said to contain the phones, he set about getting the 10K in cash out of his trunk. Instead of closing the sale, the seller pulled a gun and demanded the money. The box the man was given contained only scraps of metal and trash.
23. Sister Act
Two Raleigh, North Carolina sisters hatched a robbery plot using Craigslist as their trap. The offer was straightforward – two smartphones for $1100, according to the ad the girls placed. When a Raleigh man showed up to close the deal, things got a little out of hand. Instead of the smartphones, Sherida Quanette Bullock and Acqua Bullock produced a handgun, demanding the cash from the would-be buyer, Ibrahima Diouf. When the man fled instead of giving up the money, the sisters unleashed a hail of bullets in his direction. The Bullocks were each charged with robbery, as was a third woman, Sherie Brooks, who was eventually tied to the crime.
24. Minister Goes Above and Beyond
Hiring a minister to conduct your wedding ceremony shouldn’t put you at risk, but apparently when Craigslist is used to find a pastor, anything can happen. After officiating at their wedding, one Portland minister made-off with the couples’ wedding gifts. Since the pair were remodeling, a majority of their gifts came as Home Depot gift cards. The pastor was easy to locate by tracing the numbers on the cards, which led police to security videos showing the man redeeming them.
25. Girlfriend Revenge
Breaking up is hard to do, but getting even was all that mattered for one Craigslist poster who used the site to seek revenge on his ex. The depraved plan was to post an ad on Craigslist seeking a rape encounter, directing respondents to his ex-girlfriend’s home. Unbelievably, he posted the ad and within a week a man broke-in to the girls home and raped her. The former boyfriend, Jebidiah Stipe, communicated with the rapist even after the ad had been taken down, providing the woman’s home address and additional details about her “fantasy”. Stipe was arrested, as well as the attacker Ty McDowell.
26. Stripper Strike
Hiring strippers for bachelor parties is a tradition to some, but for two would-be strippers it was a one-sided affair. A Huntington Beach man, doing his diligence as the best man, hired two women from a Craigslist ad to strip at a party for the groom. Instead, the ladies collected their $500 fee and then bolted without stripping at all. When the men tried to stop them, they were pepper sprayed and punched in the face. The women escaped with the cash.
27. House for Sale
The deal of the century presented itself to two Oregon women who had a chance to buy a luxury home for pennies on the dollar. The deal they found on Craigslist appeared too good to be true, but the pair, Elizabeth Dorscht and Chandler Cook forked over the down payment anyway. Not surprisingly, the house turned out not to be for sale, and the Craigslist poster disappeared with their money. Lynne Sisto eventually pled guilty to orchestrating the creative scheme.
28. Transgender Assault
Edward Terry Wallace responded to a Craigslist ad placed by three transgender ladies who identified themselves as such in the post. The Chula Vista man reported to the trio’s home and proceeded to rape and beat them. He used a stun gun to control them and robbed each of their cash, before sodomizing at least one of them. For his crimes, Mr. Wallace received a 12 year sentence for sexual battery and robbery of the three.
29. Sex Trafficking Trio
Selling sex is illegal in most places, but prostituting kids is in a whole different class of bad judgment. Nonetheless, three enterprising Craigslist users managed to launch a child prostitution ring on the site. Surprisingly, one of the perpetrators was a woman named Jessica King. Along with her co-conspirators, Jordan Arnold and Christopher Black, King posted pictures of girls in lingerie on Craigslist. The photos lured johns who hired the young girls for sex. All three pled guilty to coercion and enticement of a juvenile into prostitution. Sentences for each defendant were around five years apiece.
30. Rape My Wife, Please
The bonds of holy matrimony didn’t stop an Idaho man from posting ads on Craigslist seeking men to rape his wife. The twisted approach included communicating with the men who responded, eventually steering more than one of them to her home. When one man tried to assault her, the wife grabbed her gun, discharging the weapon. Police responding to the gunfire were brought up to speed about the depraved plot. The husband admitted to his crime and faced the music in a courtroom.
31. No Sex, No Money
A Texas man has been acquitted of killing a woman he met on Craigslist. the man responded to an ad for sex, arranging to pay the woman $150 for the act. He lived up to his part of the bargain, but she took the money without performing her end of the deal. As the two argued over the cash, the woman, Lenora Fargo was shot to death. In a bizarre legal twist, the act was ruled self-defense because the shooter, Ezekiel Gilbert, was trying to recover stolen property at the time the shots were fired.
32. Steven Lewis Kills iPhone Buyer
Lots of Craigslist crimes involve electronics deals gone bad, including the tragic shooting of Mr. Aung Thu Bo. Responding to an ad for an iPhone for sale, Bo and his girlfriend met innocently with Steven Lewis. But Lewis is a convicted felon who ended up taking the unsuspecting Bo’s life. Despite trying to cooperate with the thief, Aung Thu Bo was shot dead in cold blood. Lewis eventually confessed to the crime, claiming the gun went off accidentally.
33. Marine Shot Over Necklace
Lt. Col Karl Trenker stood-in for his fiancée who had posted a Craigslist ad to sell a gold necklace. Trenker went to meet a potential buyer in her place, but ran into some trouble. Despite meeting in an open area, the two men posing as buyers decided to steal the necklace and take-off. As he pursued them on foot, Trenker was shot multiple times by one of the men. Jeff Steele fired on Trenker as he chased him, striking him at least three times. Using his military training, the 48 year old Marine plugged the wounds with his fingers, possibly saving his own life.
34. Tiara Pool Murder
Tiara Pool’s killer responded to her Craigslist ad, prompting a meeting between the two. They left the public meeting place to return to Pool’s apartment, where she was brutally murdered. Her killer, David Sparre was 19 years old at the time of the crime, stabbing Poll more than 80 times. The deranged Sparre was sentenced to death for the crime. In a twisted jailhouse letter, Sparre told his ex-girlfriend that he would like to kill again.
35. Daniel Cook ATV Killing
Daniel Cook and his girlfriend were interested in looking at an all-terrain vehicle offered for sale on Craigslist, so they traveled to Philadelphia to meet with the seller. After separating Cook from his girlfriend and another traveling companion, Thomas Coffee robbed and killed him. According to the girl, they were waiting for Cook to rejoin them when two gunshots rang-out. The 23 year-old Willow Grove man was eventually arrested and charged with murder for posing as a Craigslist seller and taking Cook’s life.
Clever thieves find all kinds of ways to get their hands on bank reserves, donning outrageous disguises and crafting elaborate strategies. Throughout history, particularly brazen criminals have logged spectacular thieving efforts across the globe. Success rates vary, but crime generally does not pay. Public interest in robberies is directly related to the entertainment value provided by the crooks. Interesting approaches, high paydays, and outright successes are embraced by observers, who root for creative criminals that beat the system. Robin Hood effect aside, robbing banks is hard work – just ask the would-be gangsters on our list of outrageous bank robberies.
1. Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery
Spectacular robberies are especially captivating when criminals heist huge sums of money or large amounts of valuable goods. The $98 million taken in this 1987 robbery ranks it among the top dollar-amounts ever stolen. To pull-off the heist, mastermind Valerio Viccei and an associate entered the security deposit facility pretending they wanted to rent a security box. Once guards and security personnel were vulnerable, the men overpowered them and took control of the bank. After putting up a closed sign and letting-in their helpers, the men proceeded to clean out the safety deposit boxes.
The strongarm robbers did not get away with their crime. Viccei was arrested and jailed, but due to laws in Italy where he was imprisoned, he led most of his life with lots of liberties. He died under suspicious circumstances as police were sure his next plot was underway. Like many criminals, Viccei led a high-profile life of luxury, which led to his downfall. Before committing the Knightsbridge robbery in England, he was already wanted for dozens of bank robberies in his native Italy. Interestingly, Viccei befriended one of the law enforcement officers responsible for his arrest, frequently corresponding with him while incarcerated.
2. Dunbar Armored Robbery
Armored trucks ferry countless sums of money between banks and financial institutions. In 1997, an employee of the Dunbar Armored Company decided to make a play for one of the largest cash heists in U.S. history. The mastermind behind the crime, Allen Pace, was an inspector for the company who used his time there to plan a robbery.
With the help of five friends and passkeys required to access the facility, Pace took control of the depot on a busy cash night. The men simply overpowered each driver as they came in with trucks full of cash, transferring the take to their own rented truck. Iin the end, the men loaded-up nearly $19 million dollars before high-tailing it. the men managed to elude capture for years, making efforts to conceal their wealth. A group of clues eventually led to one of the members of the crew, which started the whole case unraveling. The men were eventually sentenced to terms ranging from seven to twenty-four years. Most of the money was never recovered, including some that was burned to avoid being traced through sequentially numbered bills.
3. Brink’s – MAT Warehouse
One of the most notorious heists ever committed, the Brink’s-MAT robbery targeted the company’s bank facility at Heathrow Airport. The conspirators got a little more than they bargained for, intending to steal a few million in cash. Upon arrival, the six-man crew was greeted by nearly $30 million dollars worth of gold bullion, diamonds and cash.
The job was an inside effort, in part, aided by the cooperation of security guard Anthony Black. The man is also responsible for the downfall of the group, as he was the one to turn over his fellow conspirators. Once inside, the men disabled the remaining guards by dousing them in gasoline and threatening to set them ablaze if they failed to cooperate. The crooks made off with 3 and one-half tons of gold, most of which has never been recovered. Of the six original thieves, only two were ever sentenced for the crime, and the restitution for the entire amount stolen – nearly $28 million, was placed on a single perpetrator Micky McAvoy. Survivors associated with the crime are said to be cursed by it.
4. Dog Day Afternoon
Al Pacino portrayed a memorable bank robber in Hollywood’s Dog Day Afternoon, a depiction similar to a real life bank hold-up. In August, 1972 two men, John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturile, undertook an infamous bank robbery plot that didn’t end well for the pair. The poorly planned heist was a crime of passion, executed without basic precautions. For example, the men were not disguised, leaving them vulnerable to identification later. To make matters worse, they made no effort to conceal their fingerprints.
The men were homosexual, adding a further layer of notoriety to the crime, which actually drew gay rights activists to the crime scene. the bumbling robbers spent too long looting the bank, so the police were able to resond and surround them. The ensuing hostage stand-off provides the subject matter for the movie, in which Wojtowicz negotiates for help escaping. The poorly executed crime was too nerve-racking for the eighteen year-old Naturile, who was eventually shot dead by the police. For his role in the crime, John Wojtowicz received a prison sentence totaling more then 27 years. Wojtowicz served 6 years of his sentence. Although the film takes liberties with the story, most of the events depicted are true. Some of the money given to Wojtowicz for his story was used by his partner to get sex reassignment surgery.
5. Northern Bank Robbery
This cash robbery stands as one of the largest takes in Ireland’s history. There have been money-laundering arrests associated with the crime, but it remains unsolved in large part. There is speculation that the IRA was involved in the heist, but all factions of the organization have denied involvement.
The Donegal Square headquarters of the Northern Bank was robbed in December of 2004, giving up nearly thirty-million pounds sterling to the thieves. First, the gang of criminals gained entry into the homes of two prominent bank officials. Holding their family members hostage, the men were forced to participate in the robbery. The timing of the robbery, before Christmas, gave the criminals access to a cash storage facility loaded with currency bound for the holiday shopping season. With the help of the terrified bank staffers, the gang was able to make off with millions worth of bank notes. Since the robbery, bits and pieces of the haul have been recovered, and some individuals have been charged with attempting to launder proceeds from the robbery, but the investigation continues to this day.
6. Cheddington Mail Van Raid (Great Train Robbery) of 1963
An English train robbery intercepting a Royal Mail coach yielded a sizable pay day for the brazen gang behind the robbery. As much as 2.6 million pounds was seized as the men took-over control of the train. The coach was travelling between Glasgow and London, when the men engineered the track signals to facilitate their crime. One of the men on the crew was an experienced train robber, so the men had his abilities to guide them. After boarding the train and disabling the conductor with blows to the head, the men were able to gain control.
Bruce Reynolds, one of the group’s core members, along with 15 other men, concocted the robbery scheme including several of the gang’s central figures. After gaining control, the men unhitched the cars they did not need and proceeded up the track to their waiting getaway truck. Two tons of mail bags were loaded into the truck before the crew departed to a hideout seventeen miles away. The crew divied up the take and hurriedly left their safe house as the area heated-up with police. Their downfall ensued when a member of the gang failed to do his part by burning down the hideaway. Using clues left at the hideout, investigators eventually caught up with a dozen conspirators, some of whom were given jail sentences of 30 years each.
7. Dar El Salaam Bank
This modern-day heist came amid turmoil in the Middle East, allowing guards at a Baghdad bank to walk away with a staggering sum of money. In 2007 a group of insiders worked together to orchestrate one of the richest heists in history, bilking an Iraq bank out of an estimated $282 million in United States currency.
There are still mysteries surrounding the crime, which left the private banking facility reeling after several prison guards banded together to pull off the heist. The guards, who slept nights at the bank, disappeared along with the money, singling them out as suspects immediately. The guards wre arrested quickly, and most of the money was recovered. The incident is reminiscent of a move pulled by Sadaam Hussein in 2003, when he used his son to withdraw nearly one billion dollars from the bank before his collapse. Most of the money was later found in the walls of the despot’s palace, but hundreds of millions have yet to be recovered. While it is more of a “fleecing” than a traditional robbery, Hussein’s approach was no less criminal than that of the guards at the private Baghdad bank.
8. Cornerstone Bank Waco, Texas
Some bank robberies involve huge sums of money and cleverly devised plots, requiring intricate coordination between multiple participants. Others are less complicated. While giant paydays are the stuff of bank robbing legend, it is not only the dollars attached which make robberies outrageous. Sometimes the motive, the amateurish crime itself, or the ridiculous follow-up create the true spectacle surrounding a crime. In the Waco case of the Cornerstone bank, it is the antics of the unskilled criminal which propel the bank robbery into the outrageous category.
Hannah Sabata, a troubled 19 year old girl, had a beef with the government for taking away her child and charging her with neglect. She also had mounting debt with no means to pay-up. Hannah’s solution was not a summer job, but instead an impromptu bank robbery. The young lady first stole a car to use for her getaway, before appearing at the bank to demand money. With threats of violence, she convinced the teller to hand over the loot, which she successfully fled with. Full of herself, and proud of the effort, she promptly logged on to her YouTube account to brag about her exploits. So specific were her amateur videos that she showed the key to the car she stole and the stack of money taken from the bank. Not only did she talk about the crimes, but she reinforced her guilt by writing about them for the world to see.
9. Bank of France Robbery in Toulon
The suspected mastermind behind this high-profile French robbery committed suicide in prison this year. Marc Armando, sentenced to 18 years for his role in the famed heist, was incarcerated awaiting trial for a drug trafficking charge when his body was found hanging in his cell. It is thought that Mr. Armando provided the coordination behind the 1992 Bank of France robbery known as the heist of the century.
To carry out the plot, a group of about 10 conspirators kidnapped a family member of a guard working at the bank. With threat of harm to his loved one, and a back-up cache of explosives strapped to his body, the guard cooperated with the gang of thieves. The crooks made away with around $30 million dollars, most of which was never recovered. Some of the gang members were never prosecuted for their crimes, but a bulk of the gang was held accountable in court. Within a couple months, authorities had rounded up a majority of the gang’s members, but only about 10% of the money they stole has been recovered to date.
10. Banco Central in Fortaleza, Brazil
In terms of values stolen during high-dollar bank robberies, this one lands in the Guiness Book of World Records for a “pure” bank heist. Sure, Saddam Hussein fleeced his own bank for a cool billion, but that wasn’t a genuine effort like the Brazilian affair. In 2006, a group of criminals numbering in the dozens banded together for the creative Brazilian bank robbery. The gang posed as landscapers working in a nearby building, before digging a tunnel underground to their intended target. The 250 foot passageway took them to the base of the bank, which they bored-into over the course of a weekend. In the end, the group took off with an estimated $70 million worth of stolen funds.
The gang was successful in removing what amounted to three tons of currency, and eluding police for a time. To date, 28 members of the gang have been held accountable for their crimes, including Antonio Reginaldo de Araujo, considered to be the criminal mastermind behind the robbery. Some of the conspirators already convicted are serving sentences as long as fifty-three years. Despite rounding up a good share of the gang, only about 10-percent of the stolen money has ever been recovered.
11. Sentry Armored Car Courier Company
One of the largest cash robberies in United States history, the crime was against an armored transport company, but the take was money from banks. Bounty valued at more than $11 million dollars was taken from the bank truck facility with the help of an insider. One of the guards on duty the night of the crimes assisted the thieves, pretending he was the victim of an attack and robbery committed by three men. The conspirators were exposed due to various money-trails left in their wake. According to the gang, seven-million in cash was split between four robbers, resulting in money laundering concerns for the group. After attempting to conceal some of the booty in Greece, and other amounts in Switzerland, some of the crooks U.S. holdings were exposed, leading to their arrests.
The guard on duty was found handcuffed to a pipe, complete with a detailed account of how he ended up there. Unfortunately for the inside man, security records indicated that a garage door had been accessed by the guard. His story unraveled when details of his account did not match facility records. To date, only about $1.5 million worth of the stolen cash has been recovered.
12. Seafirst Bank Robbery
This high-dollar heist became well known for the staggering take, but also for a quirky characteristic shared by the thieves. When the two men robbed the Seafirst Bank in Lakewood, Washington they were commiting the richest bank robbery in history (at the time). But they also wore trenchcoats, which immediately assigned the iconic feature to the case, forever known as the “trench coat robbery“.
Despite the novelty of the attire, real guns were used and the men behind the coats were not casual about their profession. Ray Bowman and William Kirkpatrick were professional bank robbers, suspected in at least two dozen other robberies in Washington State. At Seafirst, the duo walked away with nearly $5 million dollars and a place in the record books. Unfortunately for the pair, they would trip themselves up with less than professional behavior. Kirkpatrick was pulled over for speeding, yielding all kinds of clues during a search of his car. In addition to fake documents and crime tools, Kirkpatrick carried close to $2 million dollars with him. His counterpart, Bowman, didn’t fare much better, failing to pay his storage locker bill on time. The owner of the locker opened it up, alerting the police to a cache of weapons found inside. It was not long before Bowman was in custody too.
13. First Interstate Bank Bellevue, Washington
This bank was one of many robbed by a prolific couple doing business on the West Coast in the late eighties and early nineties. John Madison and Carolyn Marie Williams carried out more than fifty armed robberies across California, Washington and Texas before being prosecuted for the First Interstate heist. The couple used a precise M.O. each time they robbed, with Carolyn driving the getaway car and John brandishing a gun inside. In fact, his calling card was to discharge a round from the gun into the bank ceiling, showing robbery victims he meant business. His quirky habit earned him the nickname “Shootist” from police officers.
Both of the Williams’ pleaded guilty to their crimes and Johnny Madison received sentences totaling 92 years for the crimes he could be prosecuted for. His own record-keeping helped police outline the eight year string of successful robberies committed by the Williams’. By the time he was brought down in 1994, his running total was approaching one-million dollars.
14. Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery
In October of 1997 an enterprising employee of the Loomis Fargo Company put a robbery attempt in motion that would yield a $17 million dollar payday. The mastermind was David Ghannt, a supersisor at the regional vault of the Loomis Fargo Company. The robbery represents the largest cash heist on U.S. soil, but the bid was unsuccessful.
Eight people were eventually indicted as direct conspirators, as well as sixteen others identified as playing peripheral roles in the scheme. Ghannt was suspected for his role in the crime almost from the beginning, as he went missing to Mexico shortly after the robbery. His co-conspirators spent lavishly once he was out of the country, drawing suspicion and getting everyone noticed by the feds. Nicknamed the “hillbilly heist” because of the participants’ lack of savvy, the crime was a highly popular late night comedy target. Despite the high-profile spending of the gang members, around 95% of the total take was eventually recovered or accounted for.
15. Geezer Bandit Hold-Ups
There is no way of knowing exactly what lies beneath the disguise of this bank robber associated with at least 16 crimes across California. Is an elderly man, as it appears, really committing the brazen robberies? Or is it the work of a clever master of disguises concealing his youthful identity in an effort to misguide investigators? Whatever the case, the circumstances surrounding the robberies provide entertainment value as well as serious concern for victimized banks.
Many of the Geezer’s targets have been Bank of America locations, but his patterns are not exclusive to any particular company. His approach is the same everywhere though. He enters each bank with a satchel or briefcase, from which he extracts a note for the teller, which describes his or her imminent death if cooperation is not forthcoming. His total estimated take has not been revealed, but the growing tally is assumed to be significant given the number of successful crimes he has pulled off. During one robbery, he was seen to be fleeter of foot than most elderly subjects, supporting the theory that it is a younger person in disguise. His or her popularity is explained by the unique nature of the effort, but there are twenty-thousand additional reasons for the public to pay attention to this story. Information leading to the Geezer’s capture is worth $20,000 to the FBI.