New approach has helped El Paso County Sheriff’s Office find missing persons, prevent crimes

In chasing runaways with urgency, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office says it has caught quite a few bad guys who harbor and abuse vulnerable teens, making significant strides in crime prevention.

Sheriff Bill Elder made missing persons cases a priority when he took office in January. Every case is on a detective’s desk within 24 hours, if not immediately, and major crimes deputies have solved nearly 100 runaway cases this year. Many times the public and social media have been instrumental.

“We were watching these kids run on social media,” said Sgt. Cliff Porter, who runs the program. “They were tweeting, they were Facebooking, they were Instagramming their location, their contacts, their friends, and we were using none of that.”

The push is a win for families, a success for the Sheriff’s Office and a big step toward preventing such things from ever happening at all.

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UPDATE: DCSO seeks information on men in connection with missing 16-year-old girl Victoria Glenn – Douglas County Sentinel: Local News

victoria glenn

Victoria “Tori” Glenn is missing and was last seen on Thursday, Jan. 2, last heard from by her father at around 11:40 a.m., according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. On that day, a neighbor witnessed a red sedan with two men. One man had a slender build and the other had a heavy-set build.

Now investigators say that two men appear to have posted to social media using the girl’s phone on Jan. 3.

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Beverly Knepper Update: 14-year-old missing Ga. girl found safe, report says – Crimesider – CBS News

beverly knepper

Beverly Knepper Update: 14-year-old missing Ga. girl found safe, report says – Crimesider – CBS News.

The Dangers of Social Media

The term “social media” was virtually unheard of ten years ago, yet today it’s an extension of many people’s daily lives. Most people – especially teenagers and young adults, have accounts across multiple networks that cater to slightly different interests. The volume of information shared is mind-boggling. A simple correlation of data across these networks of a person and the people they interact with can paint a frightening picture.

Going to the mall with your friends? Fantastic. Make sure you snap a picture of you and the girls hopping into so and so’s new ride and post it to Instagram. Once you’re at the mall, make sure you “check-in” on Facebook so everyone knows you’re there. You get the picture (sepia filter)…

That’s actually a very simplistic example. People exchange names, locations, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle types and license plate numbers to millions of people unknowingly without blinking an eye. Between information people personally put on the Internet compounded with what their associates contribute, it becomes very easy to paint a picture of a total stranger’s daily life.

This is free ammunition for the potential abductor.

Believe me, social media carelessness transcends all ages. How can a parent speak to their children about Internet safety if they’re making the same mistakes? Why would the children listen anyway? It’s not even so much about social networks per se, the problem is these colossal networks put a magnifying glass on the mistakes people make. For the most part, your words (posts) are forever etched in stone (Google).

Let me put it this way. Life is like a game of chess. Before you make your move, think how it can potentially affect the next dozen moves you intend to make. If you can instill this behavior in first yourself and then your offspring, you will be that much safer. Be safe my friends.