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Real Crimes in Virtual Worlds

NCJ Number
Dr. Brian Regli; Michael Mitkus; Dr. Robert D’Ovidio
Date Published
December 2013
15 pages
This publication examines how to mine information provided within virtual worlds and online gaming communities to better prevent the possibility of violent crime.
This publication examines how virtual environments can provide a fertile source of intelligence to school administrators and law enforcement regarding threats and criminal intent that may affect educational environments in the real world. Following an act of violence, investigators can find new meaning in a suspect's online posts in discussion board forums, using those new perspectives to draw possible connections between the threats made and behaviors exhibited in virtual worlds with the perpetrator's violent act in the real world. The techniques described in this publication offer timely options and suggestions for law enforcement and school resource officers (SROs) to consider in school safety. The publication highlights several real-world incidents to serve as case studies in describing how information and intelligence can be derived and used to better protect schools from violence. This publication is intended to educate law enforcement, SROs, and school administrators about these issues and offer strategies that can be employed to improve school safety. 20 notes