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A break through in cold cases comes to Hennepin County (0)

Posted in Solving Crime September 30th, 2008 @ 10:07 am by Linda 

Today the Star Tribune reported that Hennepin County has won a federal grant that will be used to help solve cold cases in the county. This is great news for family members and friends who have been waiting a long time to catch criminals that have caused so much grief in their lives.

A recent article in the Star Tribune also reported that after nineteen years the cold case of a Minneapolis woman who was viciously murdered has been solved by using DNA found under her fingernails. She was stabbed repeatedly while sitting beneath a footbridge across Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis. Back in 1989 DNA was in its infantcy but today with new methods and procedures DNA is capturing more criminals and solving more cases.

The criminal was already in custody for unrelated charges. When the DNA came back it was matched to his DNA and the police knew they got their man. Alfred L. Moen age 44 was charged with second degree murder. Moen claims he didn’t know the woman and of course that he didn’t do it. But DNA doesn’t lie. The motive is still unclear as to why Moen killed the woman. At least now the family of the victim will get closure to her death.

WARNING! Pedophiles are using text messaging (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention September 25th, 2008 @ 10:00 am by Linda 

In today’s world, many parents have given their children cell phones. Many of these latest cells phones have text messaging capabilities. What a great way to keep in touch with your kids. But, did you know that pedophiles are also using cell phones with text messaging?

According to the latest crime news video child predators are now using text messaging to entice children. These predators are surfing the chat rooms on their computers, obtaining your child’s phone number and texting them.

Recently a 50-year-old U. S. Air Force employee based at NORAD in Colorado Springs was caught texting a 15-year-old teenager girl, or so he thought. It turned out to be a decoy and when they agreed to meet, he was arrested.

Police say that these pedophiles are leaving their computers and turning to text messaging because they think it is harder to catch them in the act. While that may be true, it is important that parents need to teach their kids not to talk/text to strangers and to let their parents know if something unusual or uncomfortable is texted to them. Parents need to check their kid’s text messages and question any unusual messages they find. Or parents can buy software to keep an eye on your children’s phones.

Police officers make immigration arrests under Federal Program (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention September 24th, 2008 @ 1:57 pm by Linda 

The Colorado State Patrol is among the dozens of nationwide police agencies who have taken advantage of a Federal training program that identifies and detains suspected illegal immigrants. This Federal program began in 2006 and since that time, more than 68,000 arrests for immigration related violations were made.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has trained about 800 officers in 18 states in preparing charging documents and issuing immigration detainers. Since July 2007, when this special unit of the Colorado State Patrol was initiated, troopers have arrested 930-suspected illegal immigrants and investigated 40 human smuggling cases that went to court.

Other states that have ICE agreements include California, Georgia and Florida. In Arizona, there are seven participating agencies, North Carolina has eight, and Virginia has the most with nine. Since January 2006, Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department leads in arrests with 15,000.

The State of Minnesota does not have a similar program with ICE. In fact, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Worthington are considered sanctuary cities. They have a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. During this year’s Minnesota legislative session , Governor Pawlenty asked for a policy to crackdown on illegal immigration, but it never went anywhere. Maybe it’s time to ask your representative to rethink their stand on illegal immigration and start cracking down on those who commit crimes.

Human trafficking – a crime against humanity (0)

Posted in Misc Crime September 22nd, 2008 @ 10:37 am by Linda 

Transporting men and mostly women and children across national borders for labor or sex acts is the crime of human trafficking and considered as modern-day slavery. These people are forced, defrauded or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Annually, about 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not count millions trafficked within their own countries.

There are approximately 14,500-17,500 human trafficking cases in the U S with an estimate of one-third of them children. The U.S. Government has taken a number of serious and significant actions to combat trafficking. Congress has passed legislation to prosecute and sentence human traffickers with up to 30 years in prison. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is certifying trafficking victims so they may qualify for the same assistance available to refugees. In addition, HHS has a major public awareness campaign to help alert victims in the U.S. that they can seek help by calling HHS hotline number at 888.3737.888.

Recently the Minnesota Sun Newspaper reported that a 59-year-old Crystal man and his accomplice were sentenced for transporting undocumented women for use in prostitution throughout the Twin Cities. The U S Justice Department reports that the Twin Cities is one of the 15 largest human trafficking centers in the nation.

Parents, are your college student safe on campus? (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention September 18th, 2008 @ 10:07 am by Linda 

Many parents worry about their son or daughter heading back to their college campus, especially if this is their first experience away from home. September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month and a perfect opportunity for you to educate yourself and your student about some of the potential dangers that may exist on campuses.

A great program called “Raising awareness of the “Red Zone” on Campus” helps you and your student become aware of some of the dangers. The “Red Zone” is named for the high incidence area that occurs, for example, meeting new people, attending parties and events. This is the “zone” where sexual assaults and violent crimes may occur.

Today, many college campuses publish and make available to students and parents a report that contains three years worth of campus crime statistics, statements regarding campus security, sexual assault policies and information about where students should go to report crimes.

The key to not being victimized by a violent crime is awareness. Here are some tips to share with your son or daughter.
– Be aware of your surroundings and visualize your potential exit routes in case of an emergency.
– If you need to walk alone after dark stay in well lit and populated routes on campus.
– Always keep campus emergency numbers in your cell phone.
– Trust your instincts when something just doesn’t feel right.
– Finally, be careful with the type of information you post online on social networking sites. Predators are also surfing those sites.

College is a fantastic learning and living experience. Enjoy your college years but always remember to be safe.

Interactive Crime Mapping Web Site (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention September 17th, 2008 @ 10:34 am by Linda 

Recently, the Denver, Colorado police have unveiled an interactive crime mapping web site as a new tool to fight crime. This online mapping system gives residents information about different crimes happening in their neighborhood.

Minneapolis, Minnesota also has a crime mapping web site but this site is not an interactive site. The Denver site updates daily and allows users to search a specific time-period and details crimes within 500 feet of a location such as your home, schools, library or park. However, information on crimes involving juveniles or victims of sex crimes is not shown on the maps.

One Denver homeowner who accessed the crime mapping web site felt that her neighborhood was rather safe. But once she looked at her neighborhood site she was shocked to learn that she wasn’t as safe as she thought.

A crime-mapping web site whether it is interactive as the one in Denver or not interactive as the one in Minneapolis is still a fantastic tool to help you stay safe and be aware of crime in your neighborhood.

More criminal charges filed against illegal alien (0)

Posted in Misc Crime September 16th, 2008 @ 10:53 am by Linda 

A couple of weeks ago an illegal alien, Francis Hernandez, with an extensive criminal record – arrested at least 16 times – hit and killed three people. He slammed his SUV into a pickup truck pushing it into a local ice cream store in Aurora, Colorado where a little three-year-old boy died. (See article titled: “Illegal Alien involved in tragic vehicular accident.”)

This week according to a local news article the district attorney’s office filed nine more charges against Hernandez. The additional nine charges include childe abuse resulting in death, child abuse resulting in injury, third degree assault and leaving the scene of an accident. His court date is set for November 10, 2008.

Hernandez is believed to be from Guatemala and living in the U.S. illegally since 1991. Since that time, he has had many misdemeanor arrests. This time he is facing serious vehicular homicide charges.

New AFIS database helps to catch criminals faster (0)

Posted in Solving Crime September 15th, 2008 @ 11:45 am by Linda 

The Department of Public Safety of the State of Minnesota announced that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) with the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office has installed a new Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). This new database system has a larger storage capacity and offers a more rapid matching fingerprint response time.

Before it took hours to match fingerprints now it only takes a few minutes. Just like in the CSI shows!

This technology also makes it possible to match more fingerprints of lower quality that you may get at crime scenes. Even partial fingerprints and palm prints can be matched. This helps in both investigating and solving crimes.

The state of Minnesota funded $5.4 million and a matching $5.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security funded the AFIS upgrade. St. Louis County received AFIS workstations and rapid identification units through the partnership.

If you want to see a demonstration of this technology, check out the BCA website.

Illegal alien involved in tragic vehicular accident (0)

Posted in Misc Crime September 10th, 2008 @ 10:38 am by Linda 

It was a warm Thursday evening in the city of Aurora, Colorado. The local Baskin Robbins ice cream store had several customers enjoying the taste of cool ice cream to beat the heat. Two women were driving to the ice cream store to pick up some ice cream when suddenly their pickup truck was struck by an oncoming speeding SUV. The SUV shoved their pickup truck into the store. The driver of the SUV fled the scene. When the mayhem was over, the two women in the pickup truck and a small boy age 3 who was eating ice cream in the store were killed.

It took police several hours to find the driver of the SUV. Francis Hernandez age 23 called a friend to pick him up a few blocks from the accident. When the friend learned what he did, they called police and turned him in.

Hernandez has an extensive criminal record (arrested at least 16 times) and is an illegal alien. The police found that Hernandez goes by different names, has no driver’s license and no insurance. Currently, Hernandez is in jail on a $250,000 bond and on a hold by immigration officials with an additional automatic $250,000 bond.

Now everyone is pointing fingers at each other. Even the governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter is saying that the “system” is broken .

Whatever the problem is the distraught families, friends and the community want answers. With such an extensive criminal record, why did the system allow Hernandez to continue driving? Why wasn’t Hernandez in jail? Why was Hernandez allowed to stay in this country illegally? Why wasn’t he sent back to his home country after the first violation?

We don’t know who dropped the ball on this one. Was it the justice system that continued to let him out of jail even with so many criminal felony charges? Was it law enforcement not advising ICE? Was it ICE not enforcing the rules?

Unfortunately, a tragedy such as this happened and there is no turning back time. Two fine women and a little boy died because of this senseless act due to the irresponsibility of the legal system and law enforcement. When will judges, law enforcement agencies and state legislatures get it? Currently there is no law on the books in Colorado. Does it take a tragedy such as this one to awaken the lawmakers of Colorado?

Housing scams on Craigslist and eBay (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention September 9th, 2008 @ 9:20 am by Linda 

With so many homes on the market today, many people looking for a good deal are turning to Craigslist or EBay to find a home. If you have been thinking about buying a home from one of these on-line markets, once again we encourage you to beware of unethical practices.

Take for example a couple who was trying to relocate to New York and used Craigslist to find a new home. Instead, they found that their home was listed for rent on Craigslist and they didn’t post the listing! Many real estate experts say that this scheme is becoming more common. At least three of these types of listings have been reported in the last thirty days.

Scammers find listings on for sale properties, put them up on the online marketing sites and claim the listings as their own. As a result, the scammer gets the money and not the owner. The scammers are from somewhere overseas and possibly originating from South Africa.

Another type of housing scam comes from eBay. The trend now is to buy and sell foreclosed homes. Local and outside buyers are buying vacant homes that need repairs. They buy these homes from banks and government agencies, list and sell them on eBay. Once known as “flipping” this type of practice is setting a whole new level of speed. Homes can be bought for as little as a couple thousand dollars, often come with boarded windows and stripped siding, and are sold in a short period of time.

The problem occurs when these homes are flipped even before a title transfer occurs. This leaves the new owners with whatever citations and violations come with the house. For instance, if the former owner had any type of city or local violations with the house the new owner runs the risk of ending up in Housing Court to pay these fines. Daily fines can reach $1,000 and sometimes jail sentences of 180 days imposed for failure to fix a property.

Once again, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Don’t get caught in the middle because you end up paying more at the end.

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