Fight teen trolls with help from the Cyberbullying Research Center

Cyberbullying Research CenterDr. Sameer Hinduja of Florida Atlantic University and Dr. Justin Patchin of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire work together to research the causes and consequences of cyberbullying. In addition to advice for parents and teens about how to prevent and deal with cyberbullying, the professors provide a current list of anti-cyberbullying laws by state:

Cyberbullying Research Center


Cops Getting Smart with Smartphones

MORISIt’s all well and good for us citizens to snap photos of crimes with our mobile phones and send them on to the police. But do our law enforcement agencies take advantage of portable web-enabled devices? Not usually, according to Officer Kenric Wu of the San Marino, Calif. police department. “We use our investigative skills & experience to solve the bulk of the crimes we deal with,” not smartphones or web-based apps. Although he notes, “This is changing though as law enforcement embraces new technology and thinking.”

An example of this change is a new smartphone application and device called MORIS (Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System) from Massachusetts-based BI2 Technologies ( MORIS fits on to a standard iPhone (and soon on Android phones). Officers can use it to snap a photo of a suspect and send it to a facial recognition database right from the scene. They can scan a suspect’s fingerprint and run it for matches. They can even scan a person’s eyeball and send that in for iris pattern recognition.

How a New Police Tool for Face Recognition Works

Emily Steel of the Wall Street Journal explains how MORIS works. Its biometric recognition functions are linked to a national database of criminal records. The hope is that MORIS will not only make policing more efficient, but will also help to identify accident victims and disoriented people.

The drawbacks? These new MORIS phones currently cost $3000 per unit. Also, their biometric-based identification capabilities raise questions about law enforcement violation of privacy and infringement of civil liberties.

Still, it seems that handheld mobile recognition technology will increasingly find its way into police work.

Get text alerts about crime in your area with Nixle

NixleLaw enforcement agencies across the country contract with Nixle to send text alerts and emails to citizen cell phones in geographically targeted areas. Register for free at the site and include your address, email, and cell phone number. Nixle will push to you alerts about emergency information, less urgent advisories, and community information. Users can select what types of information they wish to receive and can turn off text notifications at any time.

Crime Stoppers International unites community, media, and law enforcement

Crime StoppersIn 1976, Albuquerque detective Greg MacAleese was determined to find out who gunned down college student Michael Carmen at a gas station where he worked as a clerk. MacAleese filmed a video re-enactment of the murder and broadcast it on local media. The community responded with anonymous tips that lead to the arrest of the suspects within in 72 hours. That success prompted MacAlesse to establish Crime Stoppers, a non-profit organization that encourages cooperation between the police, media, and the community to “stop, solve and prevent crime” across Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the United States.

In America, Crime Stoppers USA ( and its local chapters across the country partner with local law enforcement to raise awareness of crimes and to communicate anonymous citizen tips to the police. Crime Stoppers assign informants a “secret number” that allows them to possibly receive rewards if their information results in a conviction. Visit the national website to submit a tip. Or, find a local chapter of Crime Stoppers and SMS a tip by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Crime Stoppers also offers a smartphone app to make it easy to report crime on the go. Tip Submit is free to iPhone users ( and those with Android phones (

Search Criminal Check to ID registered sex offenders in your area

Criminal CheckEnter your zip code on this commercial site and then choose the “Map Zip Code” button to see the location of the registered sex offenders in your area. Click on the individual entries to get perp pictures, addresses, and all the gory details.

Search the Nation for Sex Offenders on the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)

National sex offender registryThe U.S. Department of Justice pulls together information from the states to offer this national database of registered sex offenders. Click on “Search for Sex Offenders,” pass through an agreement and a captcha page, and then select “Advanced Search” by zip code. On the search page, simply enter a zip code to see a list of the sex offenders registered in that area. Click on a name to see a photo of the offenders, their addresses, and their crimes.

Harden your home against burglary with help from the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Center for Problem-Oriented PolicingDeborah Lamm Weisel, assistant professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at North Carolina State University analyzes the problem of home burglary for the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.  She reviews the characteristics of burglars themselves, who are usually males under the age of 25. She notes that these youths often break into houses in their own neighborhoods and do so repeatedly. Houses that have been broken into may well be struck again, often within six weeks. Also, houses near burglarized homes “face an increased risk of burglary after the neighbor is burglarized.”