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NCJ Number: 250332 Find in a Library
Title: IACP Project Safe Neighborhoods: Witness Intimidation in the Era of Social Media
Corporate Author: International Association of Chiefs of Police
United States of America
Date Published: September 2016
Page Count: 3
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Assistance
Washington, DC 20531
International Association of Chiefs of Police
Arlington, VA 22201
Sale Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance
US Dept of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
810 Seventh Street NW
Washington, DC 20531
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Factsheet; Issue Overview; Report (Technical Assistance); Technical Assistance
Format: Document (Online); Factsheet
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In advancing the mission of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, which aims to improve law enforcement’s capacity to interdict firearms trafficking and disrupt gang activity, this Fact Sheet discusses witness intimidation in the era of social media, including an example of this type of witness intimidation.
Abstract: In 2013, a police officer monitoring Twitter found an instagram account entitled, “rats215.” It contained photos of a witness and court records. This account was dedicated to exposing witnesses (“rats”) in violent crimes across Philadelphia (215 is the area code for Philadelphia). By the time the account was shut down, it had gained nearly 7,900 followers, identified just over 30 witnesses in violent crimes, and had posted approximately 150 photos. Those who witness an alleged crime are not the only witnesses to be harassed and threatened online. One target of such intimidation was a domestic-violence expert witness for the defense in the Jodi Arias murder trial. The ability to share and re-share content is a central function of social media, providing those who seek to intimidate witnesses with a reach greater than in the past. Secretly recorded court testimony, pictures of witnesses (including law enforcement), and case documents have all been posted to various accounts in an effort to garner aggressive, threatening comments against persons involved in court cases in various capacities as witnesses or court personnel. . Suggestions are offered for law enforcement countermeasures, including educating victims and witnesses about social-media intimidation and how to report it and obtain evidence of it, and checking regularly with witnesses about any online intimidation. 3 references and 9 notes
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): BJA Resources; Computer related crime; Criminal methods; Social Media; Victim-witness intimidation
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