Beware: There’s a Serial Rapist in Miami-Dade County Who’s Been Victimizing Females Since 2013

by Juan Diasgranados9/28/2015
Florida International University
Snap it, Tag it, Share it... Help solve the mystery of man who's been terrorizing women in Miami-Dade County since 2013.

The latest incident was last month in Miami Beach. According to reports, a woman woke to a strange man in her bed at approximately 5am. She told detectives that a man, who she did not recognize, began performing oral sex on her and referred to her by name.

Police are stepping up their patrols and are redoubling their efforts to alert the community.

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Police Announce Arrest of Foot-Sniffer at Florida International University (FIU) Library

by Juan Diasgranados9/18/2015
Florida International University

Imagine you're sitting at the library and someone sneaks underneath the table to… smell your feet!

That's exactly what happened to some Florida International University students in Miami, FL this past month.

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Revolutionary Public Safety App develops an un911 Solution for the Crowd to share their Safety and Security concerns, anonymously

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot6/12/2015
mobile safety app

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla – (June 9, 2015) – sci-Shot’s innovative non-emergency public safety and security mobile App wins User confidence, as reported in sci-Shot’s last market research efforts. Anita Byer, sci-Shot’s Founder explains, ‘Users are onboard with the business model, supporting our belief that people can benefit from a universal, go-to App for reporting all things un911.’ The App, which serves as a convenient way for people to anonymously report non-emergency public safety and security concerns, can benefit a broad range of organizations, including, event management enterprises, shopping centers, apartment complexes, homeowners associations, indoor malls, and stadiums – virtually any venue where the public gathers or lives. More...

Technology Solutions for Sexual Assault on College Campuses

by Haadia Amjad, Editor - sci-Shot6/9/2015
sexual assault on college campuses

Sexual assault at colleges, notwithstanding a minority of false claims, remains a pervasive problem today, and under-reporting by victims, a major hurdle in tackling it. According to a US Department of Justice report published in 2014, only 20% of sexual assaults are disclosed to campus authorities or law enforcement. Furthermore, disclosure of sexual assaults by colleges to federal authorities, as required by law, is under-reported, presenting a two-pronged challenge to improving safety on campus. More...

Revolutionary Public Safety App to Utilize Crowd sourcing at Winterfest Boat Parade

by Marcelo Galperin, Brand Communications Coordinator - sci-Shot12/11/2014
phone overlooking boats

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla – (December 11, 2014) – sci-Shot, a new public safety and security mobile app developed by a South Florida company, will celebrate its official launch at the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade on December 13. The app, which serves as a convenient way for participants to anonymously report non-emergency, questionable or suspicious activity, will be monitored by Crime Stoppers.

“It’s a step below calling 911 and a step above doing nothing,” explained Anita Byer, sci-Shot’s founder. “We’re encouraging spectators to download sci-Shot, register as an anonymous user, and confidentially share pictures and video of non-emergency conditions that appear unsafe or threatening and cause concern.”

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Halloween Safety Tips

by Marcelo Galperin, Brand Communications Coordinator - sci-Shot10/29/2014
Halloween pumpkin and skull

It’s that time of the year again! People are dressing up in all sorts of costumes and it becomes difficult to determine who is out for a fun, harmless time and who is out planning on taking tricks a little too far. With so many people roaming the streets, safety becomes a major concern. The following tips can help you and your children stay safe this Halloween:

1. Travel in Groups - There is safety in numbers. Avoid trick-or-treating alone and have a trusted adult accompany any children.

2. Inspect Candy - Carefully examine the candy to make sure that it has not been tampered with. Do not eat any candy that is unwrapped or looks like it has been unwrapped. Make sure to also remove any candy small enough to be a choking hazard for young children.

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Domestic Violence Awareness

by Marcelo Galperin, Brand Communications Coordinator - sci-Shot10/22/2014
woman with injure on forehead looking into mirror

October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which has been recognized every October since its inception in 1981. Studies have shown that an astonishing 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and about 85% of domestic violence victims are women. Recent events have shed light on the seriousness of domestic violence, and how it may occur at any place, any time, and across all communities.

Ray Rice and the NFL:  A disturbing video of Ray Rice punching his fiancée, Janay Palmer, inside an elevator was released by TMZ.  The football player was suspended for two games before the release of video footage. Controversy ensued,  with the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, stating that the two game, ‘light,’ suspension was issued prior to the release of the video, and a full knowledge of the extent of the attack.  Nonetheless, the NFL is now aware of the dangers of domestic violence within their ranks, and has introduced a tougher domestic violence policy and response.

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Safeguarding Public Venues

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot10/8/2014
large crowd at concert with smartphones

Large crowds gather at concerts with the expectations of enjoying a good show, but often times people let safety slip their minds at these venues. A growing number of songs are mentioning drinking-related content in their lyrics, and it is no secret that large amounts of alcohol are being consumed at these events. The combination of large crowds and alcohol often times does not mix as well as the rum and coke that is being ingested.  A couple of recent events highlight some of the major public safety concerns at concert:

Alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl: During the July 26 Keith Urban show in Massachusetts, more than 50 people were placed in protective custody and another 46 people were treated for alcohol-related illnesses. Among one of the many incidents at the concert, an 18-year-old male was charged with the rape of a 17-year-old girl that took place on the lawn section of the concert. Upon recounting the event, a witness stated that they saw the act take place, took pictures of the unusual event, and moved on because they thought the act was consensual.

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National Hazing Prevention Week

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot9/24/2014
teen getting hazed through texting

National Hazing Prevention Week runs from September 22-26 and is dedicated toward raising awareness of hazing, educating the public about the dangers of hazing, and promoting the prevention of hazing. Recent events confirm that hazing occurs in a variety of environments, from professional sports venues to college campuses.

Jonathan Martin and the Miami Dolphins: In professional sports, rookies are often accepted by the team after being exposed to certain rituals and treatments.  Many of these acts, while not condoned, are often harmless.  Harmless rituals, though, are not always the norm.  The scandal involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin raised major concerns about hazing and locker room culture. Martin quit the team after suffering mental distress after repeated instances of verbal abuse, both spoken and through text messages. Incognito and many of the Dolphins players argued that the acts were “tough love” and consistent across the locker room.

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Is More Surveillance Needed?

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot9/17/2014
holding phone in crowd

In the wake of one of the most controversial police shootings in modern times, a growing interest by the public has been placed on whether or not officers should be required to wear body-cameras at all times. In case you missed it, here is a brief recap of the events in Ferguson, MO:

Fatal Shooting: An unarmed, 18 year old black male was killed after being shot multiple times by Darren Wilson, a white male police officer.  Details of the incident were slow to be released, and in the absence of information, racial tensions and violence grew.

Questions have arisen. Did the officer feel threatened? Did the victim attack the officer? Was the shooting justified?  Details of the circumstance that led to the shooting have yet to be answered and tensions remain high.

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Are Your Children Safe?

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot8/13/2014
school bus and boy

The summer is coming to an end and it is that time of the year to send your children back to school. You expect school to be a loving place where children can make new friends, learn new things, and feel as safe as they do at home. While this is the case for most, there are some important safety tips that parents and children should review before the school year starts.

Just a few tips:

1. Do not write your child’s name on their backpack or clothing. This allows strangers to call your child by name, creating a more likely scenario for your child to approach them.

2. Have your child walk to the bus stop with a friend if possible. If your child must walk alone, stress the importance of not talking to strangers.

3. Make sure to come to a complete stop in your vehicle if a bus is stopped and kids are exiting. Vehicles on both sides of the street must stop!

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Information Sharing for Managing Crime

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot7/18/2014
laptop computer phone and pen

September 11th, 2001 taught American law enforcement just how critical information sharing and analysis is to preventing and responding to crime. As a result of this awareness, The U.S. Department of Justice developed the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (the Plan). The Plan provides a path to “improving the collection and analysis of information to create valuable and actionable intelligence products.’ (National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan, Version 2.0, Oct 2013).

For over 10 years, the Plan has provided law enforcement with assistance on internal business processes to improve access to intelligence data.  From this effort, significant strides have been made in the collection, analysis and sharing of criminal intelligence (intelligence-led policing) across all law enforcement communities.

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Earning Public Trust

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot7/10/2014
anonymous handshake

In the United States today, trust in government at the state and local levels is at an all-time low. In fact, a recent study by the Pew Research center reveals that a staggering 80 percent of citizens “never trust” the government.

Unfortunately, this public distrust seems to be trickling down from the government and spreading to other agencies – especially police departments.

Though there is not a clear explanation for why the public feels this way, certain events provide clarity. Six police officers in Wilmington, Delaware, were questioning a suspect in a local neighborhood when shots fired on the group, wounding a state trooper. Despite multiple witnesses, not a single person came forward – and the gunman still walks the streets.

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Increasing Public Safety, One Download at a Time

by Gabrielle Beecher, Marketing Assistant - sci-Shot7/2/2014
woman with cellphone

Too many people look the other way when it comes to reporting suspicious activity – the undisputed Elephant in the Room. This phenomenon of watching and avoiding, coined the ‘bystander effect’ by psychologists, has led to a staggering number of unreported crimes. But what if these observations were shared, rather than disregarded?

In our tech-savvy society, this question isn’t too far-fetched. If you have a Smartphone, you have access to one of the most powerful reporting tools in the world – and now, with the help of Mobile Apps, it’s not just limited to dialing 911.

Numerous software developers across the United States have not only recognized the benefits of using modern technology to report crimes, but have provided the public with convenient ways to do so. sci-Shot, the newest of these Community Watch Mobile Apps, strives to revolutionize public safety efforts by creating a network of connected citizens who choose to report suspicious activity rather than ignore it.

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Identifying Suspicious Incidents

by Gabrielle Beecher, Marketing Assistant - sci-Shot6/18/2014
confidential report

When people witness an incident that is not imminently threatening but suspicious nonetheless, they are faced with one major question: To call 911, or not to call? A recent study by the Bureau of Justice illustrates that many people – including witnesses of violent crimes – elect to not contact law enforcement due to fear of reprisal or reluctance to become too deeply involved.

sci-Shot, a Community Watch Mobile App, helps to alleviate these fears by providing the public with a convenient tool to get involved, to the extent desired, in reporting suspicious conduct. sci-Shot is committed to providing its Users with a trusted and impartial alternative to traditional report lines. It allows a caring public to express concerns anonymously, with little effort, and no repercussions. sci-Shot Users do nothing more than download the App, Upload a picture or video, and tag the Media – sci-Shot will take it from there, getting the report in the right hands.

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Revolutionizing Non-Emergency Hotlines

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot6/11/2014
man on phone

Non-emergency report hotlines have been available to the public for years. From the abandoned car to neighborhood vandalism, government and law enforcement have sought methods to ensure that the public’s observations of the seemingly hazardous, harmful or illegal are reported and acted upon. While these hotlines and their web-based (as well as emerging Mobile App) counterparts have had some success, they have yet to develop a mass audience of devoted Users – and a majority of incidents go unreported.

Today’s citizens are eager to participate in our collective public safety, but need the right tool to do so. The sheer volume of hotlines across government agencies, cities and states is unwieldy and most citizens are confused as to which line to use for what purpose. These hotlines also fail to attract the new mobile generation of citizens that communicate through ‘sharing’ on social networks. Then, there is the issue of trust and intimidation. How many of today’s hotlines are truly anonymous? How certain are any of us that an inaccurate ‘tip’ will not result in consequences?

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Technology Deterring Crime

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot5/21/2014
globe and keyboard

Public Safety Stewards are continuously implementing new technologies to prevent, reduce, and investigate criminal activity. Before technology began playing a role in ongoing investigations, criminals had little reason to worry after committing a crime. However, technological advancements have come so far that law enforcement can now use data to predict when and where certain incidents will occur. The technology available to law enforcement is always changing. See a few of the latest tools highlighted below:

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Protecting Public Venues

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot5/14/2014
officer on phone

Every year, thousands of people gather to attend events such as concerts and marathons in public venues. While these events typically offer increased security measures, the number of attendees greatly outweighs the number of Public Safety Stewards. Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, we have seen a sharp increase in incidents occurring at large public events.

Security Guard Trampled: A security guard at the Ultra Music Festival was sent to the hospital in critical condition this past March when the crowd broke through a fence and forced their way onto the property. Miami’s homicide unit continues to search for witnesses in hopes that they can identify and locate members of the mob who were responsible for causing the incident.

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Partnership Brings Increased Surveillance

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot5/7/2014
video surveillance camera

Criminals can often run, but thanks to the emergence of social media and technology, they cannot hide. Surveillance cameras not only provide an image of the suspects, but they present indisputable evidence to corroborate eyewitness testimonies. Oftentimes, the videos or still images extracted from surveillance cameras are shared on social media, resulting in tips and additional information used to identify and locate suspects.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department recognizes the importance of the evidence provided by surveillance cameras, which is why they recently partnered with PublicEngines, a cloud-based solution that facilitates crime analysis, to increase the video footage available in surrounding areas. The main initiative of their partnership is to gain access to commercial and residential security cameras quickly and effectively. Community involvement is essential to making this happen. Citizens can register their cameras through CrimeReports.com and agree to share basic information. The information and camera footage will remain anonymous, and law enforcement must still request access to the footage. However, Public Safety Stewards will be able to view the location of the cameras in order to contact camera owners in the event of an incident in the area.

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Still Seeking Answers

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot4/30/2014
police car and police tape

Social Media provides an invaluable source of information to law enforcement for crime prevention and criminal investigations. It permits a real-time dialogue with the public and has been instrumental in apprehending fugitives, identifying associated suspects, and linking individuals to criminal activity. Despite its many successes, though, Social Media is not a complete solution. More public-private partnerships are needed.

Gorenberg Murdered: March marked the seventh anniversary of a tragic murder that remains unsolved. Randi Gorenberg was shot and killed on her way home from the mall near Jog Road, Florida. Randi’s mother and detectives continue to seek answers in hopes of identifying the victim’s shooter. They continue to ask the public for information that may lead to an arrest.

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