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What makes serial killers do what they do? (0)

Posted in Misc Crime April 30th, 2008 @ 11:27 am by Linda 

Lately, I’m sure you have heard about the Smiley Face serial killer or killers murdering dozens of male college students in the Midwest and making all the deaths look like accidents. This peaked my curiosity to find out what makes a serial killer do what they do.

In an article “The Real Serial Killer” by Pat Brown for Crime Library writes, “Everything we would like to know about how serial killers commit their crimes and how the cops catch these predators is detailed by profilers, ex-FBI men, true crime writers, and psychologists; we learn everything but the truth.”

Why is this?

Pat Brown further explains, “Because serial killers know they can get away with murder and most of the time we don’t even know they are out there. Even when some of them do get caught, we may not recognize what they are because they don’t match the distorted image we have of serial killers.”

Do serial killers do what they do because they don’t have control over their desires or is it because of genetic, hormonal, biological or cultural conditions? I don’t think anyone knows for sure until after a serial killer is caught and interviewed extensively. And then, who knows what goes on in their twisted mind at the time of their killings.

In her article “What makes serial killers tick” written by Shirley Lynn Scott for Crime Library she explains some of the excuses that serial killers come up with. Take for instance Henry Lee Lucas blamed his upbringing. Jeffrey Dahmer said that he was born with a “part” missing. Ted Bundy claimed pornography and Herbert Mullin blamed voices in his head told him to do it. One serial killer blamed a car accident and another said that the victims just deserved to die. As bizarre as this may be, most serial killers are rational and calculating.

Dealing with the human mind and emotions and explaining their actions is not a precise science. However, can this insight of what makes serial killers do what they do help law enforcement find the killer or killers of the Smiley Face murders? And is this true serial killings? For the sake of all the victims and their families, I hope they do find out the truth behind these killings.

Auto Theft crime can be prevented. (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention April 29th, 2008 @ 1:18 pm by Linda 

Auto Theft crime can be prevented. Yes, that statement may be hard to believe, but it is true. It takes just a few minutes of your time to make sure that your car is safe and theft proof. With summer just around the corner, the Anoka County Sheriff’s department has great tips on preventing auto theft and theft from your autos.

1. Lock your car doors and close your windows. Now that should be a no brainer! But how many of us don’t lock our car doors because we are only going to be a minute at the store. Or leave the windows cracked open because it’s hot. Lock it or loose it folks!

2. Don’t leave valuables in your car or when transporting valuables, place them in the trunk of your car. Just make sure to keep all valuables out of plain sight. This reminds me of the day my mother’s car was broken into. She had a bag in the back seat of her car and thieves broke in and stole the bag. The joke was on them it was just a pair of old shoes. But, the damage that was done to the broken window cost her money and she never felt safe again when leaving her car unattended in a lot.

3 When driving your car, keep your doors locked and the windows rolled up. If you stop in traffic or at a light, keep your car in drive and stay alert. And never pick up hitchhikers!

Finally, if you think you are being followed, go to a public place that is safe and call 911. Do not drive home.

The Minnesota State Patrol has resources to help prevent auto theft. Their Theft Prevention Board is made up of one full time investigator and 30 State Troopers specially trained in the area of motor vehicle theft investigations. We can help them out by making sure that we know how to prevent auto theft.

Crime Alert! Rapists attack University of Minnesota coed. (0)

Posted in Solving Crime April 28th, 2008 @ 9:34 am by Linda 

Early Sunday morning two rapists attacked a coed at the University of Minnesota dormitory. The rape occurred on the third floor of Pioneer Hall in one of the four-dorm buildings near East River Road.

An email alert was sent to all students and faculty members on campus at the University. Unfortunately, no one saw anything suspicious during that time. What is puzzling to police is that despite having over 1,200 surveillance cameras the police haven’t been able to identify the rapists.

Two young light-skinned black men between the ages of 18 and 24 confronted the coed in stairwell near a third floor men’s restroom in Pioneer Hall. One suspect grabbed the victim and pulled her into the restroom. The second suspect held her down while the first suspect assaulted her. When the assailants ran, the victim was able to get help from a friend in the building. The victim was able to give police a good description of her assailants who she did not know.

Campus police said that this was the first sexual assault of a victim by a stranger reported this year. In 2007 there were three assaults reported on campus and only two in 2006.

If you have information, contact University Police at 612-624-COPS or call an anonymous tip line at 612-626-TIPS.

The new “KHAT” illegal drug on the block (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention April 23rd, 2008 @ 10:05 am by Linda 

What’s the name of an illegal drug that you don’t smoke, you don’t inhale, you don’t inject – but you chew? Give up?

The new drug that law enforcement is fighting these days is known as “KHAT.”

Originally grown in Somalia, Africa this drug looks more like a plant and is chewed, similar to chewing tobacco. The effects of this drug are similar to an amphetamine, which means it’s an upper. A KHAT user chews on the plant to extract the drug from the plant. The user will either spit the left over plant material into a cup or on the floor or out the window. The chewed up material looks very pasty and similar to green chewing tobacco. The best effect for this chewable high is fresh harvested plant. The plant needs to be kept cool or frozen right after harvesting. Many users conceal the plant in bundles, wrapped with twine-like material or wrapped in banana leaves.

There’s no strong order associated with the plant except it may smell like rotting vegetables. Effects of the drug are signs of being “up,” being very talkative and seemingly wide-awake.

Possession of KHAT is a Federal Crime and depending on the outcome of the tests on the drug, penalties for abuse may include up to three years imprisonment and/or a $250,000.00 fine.

Criminal gang members still roam the streets of Minnesota (0)

Posted in Solving Crime April 22nd, 2008 @ 10:06 am by Linda 

Back in January of this year, a violent home invasion happened at a Robbinsdale, Minnesota home. The police are focusing on two Minneapolis residents who have ties to the Emerson Murder Boys Gang.

The owner of the home, Jamis Marks 28, was killed by two armed men with rifles during the robbery. These criminals also stole watches, jewelry, credit cards, cell phones and intimidated the surviving household members. Police were in shock at the brutality of this home invasion. However, they did receive good tips linking two 22 year old men bragging about robbing houses. These criminals also bragged about committing physical violence towards their victims. No arrest have been made yet.

On the north side of Minneapolis, gangs roam the streets and commit crimes. Police have said that gangs in Minneapolis tend to be affiliated with large national collectives such as the Bloods, Crips and Vice Lords, but only loosely. Local “sets”, such as the Emerson Murder Boys, often have nothing to do with other sets that claim allegiance to the same gang. They may be rivals, killing one another over drugs and women. These local sets of gangs also change names and affiliations and when they do commit crimes, such as a home invasion, tend to be more violent.

If you have any tips about this home invasion in Robbinsdale, please contat your local police department. Minnesotans should not have to put up with violent gang members roaming the streets and killing its innocent citizens.

National Crime Victims’ Identity Theft Rights Week (0)

Posted in Solving Crime April 21st, 2008 @ 9:13 am by Linda 

This week is the National Crime Victims’ Identity Theft Rights week. The national theme this year is “Every Victim, Every Time.” This is to remind us that every victim deserves respect and compassion, assistance to recover from the impact of this crime and full access to the criminal justice system.

Governor Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, recently announced executive actions and legislative proposals to curb Identity Theft. He proposes to increase the penalties for identity theft to gross misdemeanors and felonies. This crime occurs when your personal identifying information such as Social Security number or driver’s license is stolen and used to commit fraud or other crimes.

The Federal Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse reported that 2,872 Minnesotans were victims of identity theft in 2006. Minnesota is ranked 33rd in the nation in per capita identity theft reports. Resolving identity theft has caused Minnesotans hundreds of dollars and on average 81 hours to repair the damage to their good name and credit record.

You can go to the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site for helpful information on Identity Theft. This site also contains valuable consumer information on the steps to take if you become a victim.

Marijuana Drug Busts in Minnesota (0)

Posted in Solving Crime April 16th, 2008 @ 10:21 am by Linda 

Call it what you want – blunt, pot, grass, reefer, ganja, joint, weed, Mary Jane, Sinsemilla, roach, Thai Sticks, smoke and dope – but marijuana is still illegal and a dangerous drug especially in the hands of teenagers.

Recently, six men were busted on federal charges of running a marijuana growing operations out of their homes in Brooklyn, Park, Burnsville, Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville and other Twin Cities suburbs. More than 4,900 plants were seized and police recovered more than $31,000 in cash at the one Brooklyn Park home. Dan Moren, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Minneapolis said that this could be one of the largest marijuana growing operations in the history of Minnesota.

During the raids, more than 2,300 plants were seized at two Maplewood homes. Other large quantities of marijuana were found at various locations. Each of the six men face charges of conspiracy to manufacture 1,000 or more marijuana plants.

Back in June 2007, a $1.8million marijuana garden was seized containing 1,254 plants from inside an Apple Valley, Minnesota man’s home. DEA officials were tipped off about the marijuana growing by the electric company who responded to a burned out transformer outside the man’s home. The DEA found he had tapped into the electric line ahead of the meter, apparently to power grow lights for his crop without suspiciously affecting his electrical bill.

Marijuana is Minnesota’s most commonly used and readily available illegal drug. Marijuana is still shipped into the state and controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations. However, large quantities are homegrown. Perhaps with this latest episode buying marijuana will be in short supply.

Don’t let Domestic Violence shatter your life. (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention April 15th, 2008 @ 10:44 am by Linda 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. One in 33 men have experienced and attempted or completed rape. In 2006 in Minnesota, there were 12,067 filings for orders of protection. There were 2,681 domestic assault cases and 113 felony charges brought against the offender in 2004. At least 20 women were murdered and 12 children killed as a result of domestic violence in 2006.

These are shocking statistics. In a country that respects diversity and believes in human rights, why is domestic violence so prevalent in our country? Domestic violence destroys homes, families and marriages. Domestic violence is not the victim’s fault!

If we can’t stop domestic violence in our country we should be at least aware of the symptoms of domestic violence. Look for signs of your partner wanting to gain power and control over you. If your husband or boyfriend won’t let you be with your friends or family, walk – no run – away from the relationship. This is the first sign of domestic abuse. Look for verbal degradation whether in private or in public settings. Never, ever allow another person to hit or beat you. If you are sexually abused, call the Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line at 1-866-223-1111.

Let’s stop domestic violence where it starts at home now.

Arson and burglaries destroy scenic lake resort in Minnesota (0)

Posted in Solving Crime April 14th, 2008 @ 10:48 am by Linda 

Early Sunday morning the fire department responded to ten structures set on fire at Big Pine Lake five miles from Finlayson, Minnesota. Ten structures were on fire and three other structures were burglarized. Most of the structures were vacant cabins within a two-mile area of each other along Big Pine Road.

This beautiful summer recreation spot is now totally devastated. Fifty-year-old cabins filled with happy memories of generations are gone. A sportsmen’s club a few miles away was also among the burned buildings but some of the structure is still standing.

The police said that the arsonists made their rounds of each of the cabins, burglarizing the cabins and then burned them as they went. Police authorities also said that there have been similar incidents in the neighboring Aitkin and Kanabec counties. Police are investigating to see whether any of the crimes are connected.

The Minnesota Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators makes a determination on reward money for information about arson. For example, you can receive up to $2,500 for information or assistance that leads to the arrest of person(s) on a charge of arson. The crime of arson is malicious, intentional and willful destruction of property. Add burglary before the crime and now you have a double crime against innocent people. If you have any information to help solve this crime, contact the Arson Hotline Number at 1-800-723-2020.

Phishing in Minnesota (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention April 9th, 2008 @ 9:45 am by Linda 

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes with terrific fishing for walleye and northern pike. However, you definitely don’t want to take part in this type of “phishing.”

Phishing is an Internet crime where unsuspected consumers provide their personal information to criminals. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, Internet fraud reached an all time high in 2006 costing victims $198.4 million.

This is how a “Phishing” scam works: A fraudulent operator sends out an e-mail impersonating financial institutions, government entities, internet service providers, national chain retailers, internet auction companies, or other companies, requesting that you “verify” your personal information. The phishers then use this information to commit identity theft. You can also be caught up in a phishing scam over the phone, through text messaging, through phony or hijacked websites, or social networking sites.

Minnesota lawmakers have criminalized this type of identity theft in two ways. First, Minn. Stat. § 609.527, subd. 2 makes it a crime to transfer, possess or use an identity that is not the person’s own with the intent to commit, aid, or abet any unlawful activity. Second, Minn. Stat. § 609.527, subd. 5a criminalizes the electronic use of a false pretense to obtain another’s identity, often referred to as “phishing.”

Tony Bradley, Director of Security for Evangelyze and a Security Consultant with BT INS in Houston, Texas, offers some advice on how to protect yourself from phishing scams. He says to be skeptical of any message you receive that asks for your username, password, account number or any other personal or confidential information. When you receive an email regarding your account, don’t delete it, call the bank or credit card company to report the email. Also, don’t be afraid to report suspicious activity: If you receive emails that are part of a phishing scam or even if they seem suspicious, report them to your ISP and to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov.

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