Monday, September 10

Acting Responsibly: Crime Bloggers


Communication remains one of the most powerful but underutilized tools for any business, organization, or community. And while most have remained slow to embrace it, I anticipate some sweeping changes as more best practices and fewer abuses receive public attention.

Just one story that caught my attention last week demonstrates the positive power of communication, community, and social media in a very profound and personal way. Joy Roy, who maintains Southern Sass on Crime, Robert Bush, who publishes American Proud, Warriors for Innocence, Perverted Justice, and others have all played a role in tracking Jack McClellan, a self-labeled pedophile who has avoided prosecution to date.

McClellan originally came to the attention of authorities because of the Portland-based organization Perverted Justice. According to the Los Angeles Times, the group began monitoring McClellan because he had created a Web site on which he posted photographs of children in public places and discussed the best local places to watch little girls.

While the Web site was eventually shut down by his provider, McClellan still managed to publish his information for months, placing information in the hands of those who might abduct children even if McClellan himself never intended to. After being exposed and ordered to stay away from minors, McClellan decided to leave his last state of residence because, he said, “I can’t live here under Orwellian protocol.”

Since he has never been charged as a sex offender, he does not have to register with the authorities, leaving it up to private citizens to take matters into their own hands. What McClellan doesn’t realize is that what he did might even be worse than committing a direct crime against children: his original Web site and subsequent actions make it easier for criminals who are more likely to take action against young women and minors.

This is a growing problem that requires immediate attention. It is also one that I am increasingly sensitive to given our Las Vegas headquarters, where stories of missing persons and human trafficking is becoming all too common. One immediately comes to mind: Glendene Grant’s daughter went missing from her home in Las Vegas in March 2006 after living in the city for about 10 months. (You can read the story here).

Better use of social media might have made a difference in this case (and it is still not too late) if citizens and authorities begin to develop dedicated social media applications across the country, funded or supported by social networks and other technology providers. While some steps in this direction have been taken, much more work needs to be done.

Specifically, notifications of missing children and missing people need to be actively promoted beyond missing persons. Recently Missing Children is one example of what can be done They have a national widget that is a step in the right direction, but more state-by-state public-private widgets need to be developed (we’re adding Wayne Wirs’ Recenty Missing Children widget to our community service blog and space for Ad Council public service campaigns soon).

For additional information about missing persons in Nevada, please visit PINow.com. From there, you can access information for other states.

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3 comments:

Jericho Saved on 9/10/07, 12:15 PM said...

Very sad, Rich. Got the widget for my blogs. So many things we could all do to help remedy this situation. Thank you for casting light on it.

Rich on 9/10/07, 1:34 PM said...

Jane,

Yes, the problem is sad. The idea that a solution exists but has not been fully explored is sadder.

You're a good person to add it to all three of your blogs. We're going to be focused on several important social awareness efforts in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned. :)

Rich

Rich on 9/10/07, 6:59 PM said...

More words:

Glendene Grant and I have been in contact via Facebook. She sent me the following link that provides more information on her daughter.

Jessica Edith Louise Foster
http://www.jessiefoster.ca/

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