‘Crime’

Some Forensic Alertness Can Be Practiced by Anyone

online scams and fraud

Boredom Therapy is one of those crazy Internet ad/story websites that require visitors to click through several pages to get a heartwarming story about a child, a dog, a cat, a wild animal or the elderly. One of their stories details an incident where a Walmart service desk worker was alert and used her forensic instincts to help an elderly man. The story details an elderly fellow who was just getting ready to celebrate Christmas with his grand kids when he gets a call. “Papaw, I had a wreck and I need bail money to get out of jail.” The old man, Cecil, lived alone, and for him, family was everything. He quickly rushed around, got the money and went to Walmart to send the money. But when he got there, he shared his story with Audrella, the cashier on duty. “I’m not going to send this money,” she said. “I think you’ve been scammed.” She suggested that before he did anything, he should call his daughter and ask about the grandson. Sure enough, there had not been a vehicle accident and the young man in question… Read More

Forensics, Schools and Election Year

nicholas cruz murders kids

Even numbered years are usually election years, and 2018 is no exception. Among other offices under consideration this year are several openings in Parkland school board in Broward County. School board elections are not usually so heated, but this one reflects the emotional atmosphere left by the Parkland school shooting. A Little Background On February 14, 2018, troubled 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire in a high school in Parkland, Florida. Before his shooting spree was over, he murdered seventeen people and wounded seventeen others. When he was done, he calmly ditched the gun and blended in with the students as they left the school. He then went to Walmart and purchased a soda from the Subway there, then went on to McDonald’s where he purchased food. He was subsequently arrested in the Coral Springs district, having been identified from the school surveillance tapes and eye-witnesses. He has since confessed. Aftermath Although school shootings have occurred in frightening numbers since 1999 despite tightened school security, they are still occurring. The Parkland shooting was so horrific that a $75,000 grant for bereavement counseling was given to the community. It… Read More

Fishing in Heraclitus’ River: An Examination of Criminal Psychology and Rehabilitation

heraclitus

Who was Heraclitus and why would his river have anything to do with criminal psychology or rehabilitation? Here’s an examination of some ideas that revolve around Heraclitus’ most famous saying, advances in criminal psychology and rehabilitation. Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher who said that we could never wade in the same river twice. He was referring, on one level, to the way water washes past the land and that the droplets that are there one moment are gone away downstream the next. Advances in Criminology An article written for the journal, European Psychology, entitled Heraclitus’ River and Advances in Criminology by Alexander F. Schmidt and Ruth E. Mann, suggest that “advance” might be overstating the study of criminology. They contend that many of the practices currently in use were around during the 19th century. Some of them have, they add, have proven useful, while others that are still in use are less than efficacious in reducing crime or making productive citizens out of criminals. They lay out several types of crime but focus on sex offenders – a group that is often considered… Read More

Confessions, Forensic Psychology, and DNA Evidence

criminal confession

One of the tasks of a forensic psychologist is to interview an alleged perpetrator who has given a confession with an eye toward judging whether the person understands the gravity of having confessed and whether he or she understands what it is that has been confessed. It has been discovered that confessions are not always the last word in accuracy and that they can be extracted in a variety of ways. Once there is a confession, efforts to locate new or contradictory evidence concerning a case might be diminished or completely cease. A Famous Example For example, Juan Rivera confessed to the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Lake County, Illinois. However, the DNA evidence taken from the girl didn’t match Rivera’s. The prosecution theorized that she had had consensual sex with someone else and that Rivera had killed her in a fit of rage when he was unable to perform. Rivera was convicted. Fortunately, the story has a somewhat better ending than might be expected. Two weeks later the appellate court threw out the confession, and Rivera was not only exonerated, he was awarded… Read More

Forensic Psychologists Examine Why Criminals Post Crimes on Social Media

social media used to post evidence of criminal activity

For those of us who live quiet, law-abiding lives, it seems difficult to imagine why anyone would incriminate themselves by posting videos of a crime in progress, or activity leading up to a crime. Yet an article in the Guardian reports that crime connected with social media have risen 780% over the last four years. The posts ranged from grooming, stalking, and preparatory statements to “selfies” of violent crimes in progress. Police are challenged with having to walk a fine line between allowing freedom of speech and getting ahead of real threats. Forensic Psychologist Look for Causes Forensic psychologists are examining this phenomenon and have come to one conclusion: the people who are posting videos of violent crimes against humans, and those who post videos of cruel behavior toward animals, are seeking attention. They want to be noticed for their actions. It isn’t new behavior. Jack the Ripper, for example, sent letters about his crimes all over London. The investigative tools now available were in their infancy, so despite publicity, he wasn’t caught. Why Study the Behavior How Stuff Works has an entry that delves into the… Read More