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Methamphetamine use up in several US states (0)

Posted in Illegal Drugs February 5th, 2009 @ 11:00 am by Linda 

A recent report from the Rand Drug Policy Research Center shows that in some states methamphetamine use is up from previous years. For example, the state of Colorado ranks eighth in the nation in per capita methamphetamine use, which is higher than the state of New York. One reason for high meth use in Colorado is that the population is young and transient because of seasonal ski-resort workers and oil-field workers. The cost of meth use and labs for the state of Colorado is roughly $1.4 billion a year. States such as Arizona and Wyoming are also seeing an increase in meth use and meth labs because of the easy highway access (I-25) from Mexico through these states.

In the state of Minnesota, meth use and meth labs have been declining since 2005 due to the passage and enactment of an anti-meth legislation.

The Rand report goes on to say that the majority of meth users live in rural areas and half of the users are women. Women account for only 25 percent of abusers of other drugs, such as cocaine or marijuana. Meth users usually steal credit cards and checks from mailboxes and use them to purchase their meth. One gang of meth addicts stole a U.S. Postal Service blue drop box and moved it to different locations every few days.

The costs to the public include the burden of arresting and incarcerating drug offenders, as well as the costs of additional non-drug crimes caused by methamphetamine use, such as thefts committed to support a drug habit. Other costs that significantly contribute to the RAND estimate include lost productivity, the expense of removing children from their parents’ homes because of methamphetamine use and spending for drug treatment.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that can be taken orally, injected, snorted or smoked. Long-term effects of meth use can include severe weight loss, diminished memory, mood disturbances and psychosis, extreme tooth decay, aggressive and violent behavior, and irreversible damage to certain brain functions.

Possible identity theft operation exposed (0)

Posted in Misc Crime February 4th, 2009 @ 2:06 pm by Linda 

Recently, police are searching for two people accused of stealing or counterfeiting hundreds of identities in Colorado. According to a local Denver, Colorado News Station that originally exposed the identity theft, Paul Emanuel Simmons of Lakewood, Colorado and Dawn Philbin have arrest warrants issued for them.

It seems that Paul Simmons rented a storage unit and when he did not pay for the rental, the contents of the storage unit were auctioned. The new buyer, Brandon Michael, entered the storage unit and found hospital records from at least 150 patients, real and fake driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and birth certificates – all stolen out of homes, hotel rooms, cars and a hospital over the last three years.

Brandon Michael took all of these items to the Denver Police Department but was told to just dump the documents. Mr. Michael then took the information to the local news station that started its investigation.

The news station found that Dawn Philbin worked at St. Anthony Central Hospital for five years, and was responsible for taking the records from the hospital. She confessed to taking the records and was soon fired from her job. It appears that she gave the stolen documents to Paul Simmons, who owns Pro Painters & Company. Simons has a lengthy arrest and conviction record in Colorado and Florida for crimes ranging from grand theft to burglary to dealing in stolen documents.

If convicted they face up to six years each in prison for each count of identity theft. However, it is unclear if any of these documents were used in an identity theft. The police are further investigating.

Cybercrime hits an all time high (0)

Posted in Crime Prevention February 3rd, 2009 @ 10:25 am by Linda 

Because of the recent economic problems, experts are saying that cybercrime has hit an all time high. From mid-September, the number of malicious programs circulating on the Internet has tripled to more than 31,000 a day. This new wave of Internet based schemes steal personal data and carry out financial scams. These criminals are taking advantage of the fear and confusion that tumbling financial markets have created.

Security experts, government regulators and law enforcement agencies are seeing all types of con games. From e-mail phishing scams that try to trick you into typing sensitive data at fake websites, to cyberhijacking, where thieves use stolen user names and passwords to access your online accounts.

During the last three months of 2008, cyber threats have escalated and experts say more may be coming especially if the economy continues to weaken. Organized cybercrime groups have become efficient at assembling massive networks of infected computers – called botnets – and deploy them to gather large caches of stolen data. Many of these cyber criminals are hacking into data storehouses and turning this stolen data into cash.

Even social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have launched many criminal schemes. These thieves snare account users names, passwords and Social Security numbers. They have sent tainted links in e-mail and instant messages that spread viruses.

Who are these people? Some experts claim they may be former IT people who have been laid off from large corporations and now are looking to make a quick buck by stealing peoples’ identities. They are looking for ways to breach the highest levels of the global finance infrastructure as well as a majority of home computers.

What can you do to make sure that you aren’t a victim of a cyber crime? Make sure that any transaction made on your credit card or debit card is what you authorized. If you think you have received a phishing scam, contact the company – usually a bank – directly. Banks never ask for private information via email. Most importantly, be aware of what sites you visit and if you don’t know the sender of an email, delete it immediately. Even by opening up an email, you may infect your computer.

Criminals surfing Craigslist (0)

Posted in Misc Crime February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:27 am by Linda 

Many of us have used Craigslist to buy or sell items. Most transactions are successful, but a 15-year-old Colorado boy wasn’t so fortunate.

Chris Anglin put his Xbox 360 up for sale on Craigslist. He got a buyer who was to meet him to complete the transaction. Unfortunately, when the buyer met with Chris Anglin he demanded that the boy get into his car. The boy ignored his request, but when the buyer pulled a gun, the boy wisely gave him the Xbox 360 and his cell phone. No money transaction ever took place. This low-life thief stole the boy’s Xbox and cell phone.

A similar incident happened later that night in a Sam’s parking lot with another seller. However, this time the thief had an accomplice in the car and the seller just gave him up his Wii. Fortunately, Denver police arrested the thief but his accomplice got away.

It seems both the boy and the other seller did the right thing. They meet the would-be buyer in a public place, but didn’t plan on the buyer bringing a gun to the transaction. Two lessons learned here are – stay alert and just give a thief what he wants. Your life is worth more than an Xbox or a Wii.

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