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Social sting

Inspector Warren Williams.

Inspector Warren Williams.

KINGSTON — The Forensic and Cybercrimes Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary has established a link between activities on the various social networks and a number of persons who have gone missing.

“What we have seen is a lot of crimes being committed via social networks, especially amongst youngsters,” Inspector Warren Williams, who heads the Communication, Forensic and Cybercrimes Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, told editors and reporters during the weekly Monday Exchange meeting of the Jamaica Observer at its Beechwood Avenue office in St Andrew.

“We see on the television most evenings, missing persons and a lot of these youngsters get involved with other individuals online, not knowing who they are, who they are speaking to, volunteering information about themselves, every single thing they do they put it up on Facebook and there it is they become a victim,” Williams explained.

While unable to provide figures to support the claim at the time, Inspector Williams said the police have established a clear connection in these cases through intelligence.

“Once they start communicating with this person they begin meeting with this person and then you don’t know where they are, they are missing. We have seen a lot of youngsters who are involved in that,” he said.

In the meantime, he said instances of cyber bullying have also increased.

“You will have these unscrupulous persons coming online who use fear or threat which means as a result, they (victims) will volunteer personal information about themselves and their families which will just expose them in a negative way,” Inspector Williams disclosed.

“We have had persons who have become victims because of this kind of action by adults, and sometimes younger persons, who become involved in this kind of activity. Certainly it is something we must look at,” he noted further.

He also said that there was a worrying trend amongst even school-aged youngsters who have taken to “broadcasting” sexually graphic material of each other, most times for malicious reasons.

“We are also seeing a lot of broken relationships amongst youngsters; they were probably involved in a relationship and it went south, they put up pictures and videos defaming the person, their parents become broken up and they, too, become victims. It affects youngsters in the nook and cranny of Jamaica,” Inspector Williams told the meeting.

He said the situation was affecting “not only schools in the Corporate Area, but across Jamaica”.

“We have been invited to several schools, to give talks on the dangers of social media, and we have seen a lot of schools where kids become victims of this. I may not be able to give you empirical data as it relates to missing persons, but we have been able to assist with investigations and providing technical information in locating persons who have gone missing,” he said. (Observer)

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