7 November 2013
With cyber crime and the related costs continuing to rise in the US, it's time we take notice and take action to avoid being a victim. Cyber crimes include online credit card fraud, phishing scams and identity theft. While such crimes can take many shapes and forms, here are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself.
By using a password that is your name, birthday, child's name or something similar, you're making it easier for others to gain access. Instead, use different characters, capital letters and numbers to make your passwords more complex.
One trick is to pick a sentence you'll remember and use the first letters of each word in the sentence. To make it harder to crack, add a number or character at the end. For example, if your sentence is "My first dog's name was Spot," your password could be MfdnwS%. Another thing to consider is using multiple passwords, so that even if one password is compromised the rest will still be safe.
Avoid clicking on pop-up ads that appear while you're browsing online. While some are just harmless ads, others may be an attempt to gain access to your information. If a pop-up asks you to enter your password or username, the best thing to do is usually to ignore it.
Anti-virus software is one of the best ways to protect yourself from malware and viruses. If you're using your computer for banking or business, you should have software to help detect and eliminate harmful programs that could be out to steal your data. Norton is one of the most common brands of anti-virus software.
In the real world, hanging out in bad neighborhoods makes you more likely to be a victim of a crime. The Internet works the same way. If you visit or download content from unsecure or unverified sites, you are at a higher risk of becoming a victim of a cyber crime. The same goes for opening emails, email attachments or social media messages from people or sites you don't know. When you're shopping online or using personal information, make sure the URL appears as https:// site instead of http://. The s stands for secure.
On the Lookout
When your bank or credit card statements come in, check them for suspicious transactions. If you watch for abnormalities, you have a much better chance of spotting cyber fraud before it becomes a major problem. If you notice anything that seems odd, contact your financial institution and make them aware of the issue as soon as possible. They may put a freeze on your account or stop payments to keep the fraudulent activity from happening.
Interested in learning more about cyber crime or other topics in Criminal Justice? Explore our Criminal Justice degree programs.
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23 July 2013
Electronic monitoring has comes a long way since 1983, when Judge Jack Love, inspired by a Spiderman comic, slapped an electronic monitor on a defendant and sentenced him to house arrest. By the late 1980s, the concept had grown in popularity, but many still had concerns on whether electronic monitoring was a step toward a civilized future or an undesirable invasion of privacy.
Since then, electronic monitoring has spread rapidly across the country as crowded courts and over-crowded jails required creative solutions. At approximately one-sixth the cost of imprisonment, electronic monitoring is one alternative to jail time, and advances in technology give criminal justice professionals a variety of monitoring systems to choose from. Let's look at a few.
Types of Electronic Monitoring
RF Monitors: The most common monitor is the RF "ankle bracelet." The radio-frequency transmits a periodic signal to a base station attached to a phone line. If the offender gets too far from the receiver, it sends an alarm either to the monitoring contractor or to the probation officer.
GPS Monitors: Offenders can be tracked in real time through a GPS unit either in the ankle bracelet or in a cell phone accessory. Contractors or court service officers can log in and find the offender at any time. GPS can be combined with RF units for extra security.
Drug and Alcohol Monitors: Common in drunk driving and drug cases, the substance monitoring bracelets periodically sample the wearer's perspiration and then run it through a device similar to a breathalyzer. The results are transmitted to the service center and positive results reported to the court.
Cell Phone Breathalyzers: Courts and criminal justice programs also use portable breath-testers to monitor for alcohol usage. The system sends out a call and the client has a limited time to blow into the phone's attachment. The cell phone camera snaps the client's photo to prevent cheating. Results are calculated immediately and transmitted to the contacts programmed into the phone.
As courts seek to find alternatives to incarceration, especially for non-violent substance abuse violations, electronic monitoring will continue to grow and evolve with technology. At least in Florida, electronic monitoring may be working. In 2011, the National Institute of Justice published a study entitled “Electronic Monitoring Reduces Recidivism” that found "electronic monitoring reduces offenders' risk of failure by 31 percent" in the state of Florida. With these and other studies showing the efficacy of the units, it appears that electronic monitoring may be here to stay.
- What is Electronic Home Monitoring?
- Not Just for the Drunk and Famous: Ankle Bracelets That Monitor Alcohol, The New York Times
- Electronic Monitoring Reduces Recidivism, U.S. Department of Justice
- Brief History of House Arrest and Electronic Monitoring, Northern Kentucky Law Review
- You're Grounded! How do you qualify for house arrest?
- Social Networks Triggering High Cyber Crime Levels
- Violent Crime Statistics Lowest in a Decade
Learn about your options for studying Criminal Justice at South University, Online Programs!
17 April 2013
April was officially dedicated to the eradication of sexual violence in 2001, with the goal of educating both individuals and communities on how to raise awareness and participate in prevention and advocacy efforts. However, by 2001, the month had been known for advocacy activities for more than a decade, starting with Take Back the Night marches and the establishment of Sexual Assault Awareness Week in the 1980s. In 2001, The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and Resource Sharing Project (RSP) took leading roles in expanding the awareness campaign to a full month.
Recognize the Problem
Sexual violence is a serious problem in society and one that is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. Thankfully with programs such as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, attitudes are changing. Each year, the month selects a campaign on which to focus, with the 2013 campaign focused on preventing child abuse.
While the majority of victims aren’t children, it is the attitudes we develop at these ages that mold our responses to threats as an adult. Sexual Assault Awareness Month asks groups and individuals to address these issues both with kids and parents. By focusing on teaching safe, healthy behaviors and attitudes to these populations, we can maximize our advocacy efforts.
Talk About It, Early and Often
Preventing abuse often starts with education. As adults, it’s important to talk to children about setting boundaries and their right to privacy. Adults should also allow children to make their own decisions about showing affection. For example, children should decide whether they prefer to give a high five or handshake instead of a hug. As an adult, you can teach children polite ways of refusing kisses, hugs and other forms of affection they may not be comfortable receiving. Assault survivors often lament staying in dangerous situations out of fear they might overreact and hurt someone else’s feelings. Thus, teach children to respect their instincts and their right (as well as everyone else’s right) to privacy and control over their bodies.
Parents and adults should also allow for open communication with children and honestly answer questions as they arise. A child who feels scared to talk about these issues faces another obstacle to seeking help. Adults should also learn the warning signs of abuse, and be prepared to speak out when needed. Although it can be difficult to speak up, especially if the adult is someone you know, you should always report suspected abuse to the police, child protective service or a local or national hotline.
25 March 2013
In honor of Women’s History Month, South University, Online Programs presents five influential women in the history of criminal justice.
Sandra Day O’Connor (1930-) was the first woman United States Supreme Court Justice, serving from 1981 to 2006. In 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After becoming an attorney, O’Connor couldn’t find a law firm that would hire a woman, but found employment as a secretary for a firm. She later went on to serve in the Arizona state legislature and the Arizona Court of Appeals in Phoenix before being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court (Kuiper, 2010).
Freda Adler (1934) is an influential criminologist renowned throughout the world. Adler served as the President of the American Criminological Society from 1994-1995 and has also served as a consultant for the United Nations on issues of crime. Adler has contributed a substantial body of literature in the field of criminology and etiology of crime and has published hundreds of papers on international crime, female criminality and substance abuse (Flynn, 1998).
Alice Stebbins Wells (1873-1957) was the first female police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. A former minister from Kansas, Wells joined the LAPD after appealing to the mayor, city council and the police department. Wells founded and became the first president of the International Association of Police Women. She traveled throughout North America promoting the recruitment of female police officers, serving as an advocate for the welfare of children and speaking frequently about the prevention of juvenile crime (International Association of Women Police, 2009).
Janet Reno (1938-) was the first female U.S. Attorney General and the longest serving in the 20th century, serving from 1993 to 2001. Reno received her law degree from Harvard, one of only 16 women in a class of 500. Prior to serving in the Justice Department, Reno served as the State Attorney in Miami, FL (The United States Department of Justice, 2013).
Bevery J. Harvard (1951-) was the first African American women to be chief of police of a major city- Atlanta, GA. Serving as chief of police from 1994-2002, Harvard began her career as a police officer in 1977 and was also the first woman to graduate from the FBI’s National Academy (Steverson, 2008).
These are just some of the many women who have left a lasting impact on the history of criminal justice. At South University, Online Programs, we look forward to finding out how our students and alumni from our Criminal Justice programs will also help to shape the future of the field.
- • Flynn, E. E. (1998). Freda Adler: A Portrait of a Pioneer. Women & Criminal Justice, 10, 1-26.
- • International Association of Women Police. (2009). IAWP History. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from Alice Stebbins Wells: www.iawp.org
- • Kuiper, K. (2010). The 100 Most Influential Women Of All Time. New York: Britannica Educational Publishing.
- • Steverson, L. A. (2008). Policing in America: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO Incorporated.
- • The United States Department of Justice. (2013). Janet Reno. Retrieved 03 02, 2012, from Office of the Attorney General: www.justice.gov/ag/aghistpage
8 March 2013
At South University, Online Programs, we strive to create a supportive, engaging community for our students. To help you get to know the inspiring and talented individuals who make our community so special, we’ll be featuring more students, faculty and staff on this blog in the coming months. Today, we’re sharing a Q&A session with one of our Criminal Justice students, Sarah Hargis.
Q: What motivated you to continue your education?
A: Teenagers and victims of sex crimes. Twenty-five years ago, I was a victim of sexual assault and I was too afraid I would be in trouble to tell anyone. Now, I want to have closure and help other victims, while also trying to prevent it from happening to someone else.
Q: How did you decide which program to choose?
A: Since I have been a victim and I had no guidance through it, I have decided to be there for others in the same boat. I also want to get into the minds of criminals to find out why they do these things. Is it their up-bringing, environment or what?
Q: How did you decide online learning was the best choice for you?
A: I am an epileptic and have been since I was 8 months old. I haven't been able to drive because of it, but I am not going to let that stop me. So here I am, an online student going for my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.
Q: What has been your proudest moment in school?
A: My proudest moments have been when I received Dean’s List certificates, which has happened four times now. Another proud moment was when I was accepted back into South after I had a really bad seizure and couldn’t keep up with classes in 2010.
Q: We believe that peer-to-peer interaction is important for online students. Have you met a classmate or student who has played a part in your success?
A: I know a few on Facebook, and we talk and guide one another through motivation. The only South student I have spoken to via phone is my former finance counselor. He is going to graduate the same year as I am, so I hope we can meet at the ceremony in Savannah, GA.
Q: Why did you choose to go to South University, Online Programs?
A: I actually started at another school, and I am glad I changed schools. South advisors are there for you no matter what is going on in your life, not just in school. Whether it is something to be happy about or sad, they understand and help me through it.
Q: Anything else you would like us to know about your experience at South University, Online Programs?
A: South is awesome! The people there help and guide students to a better life and career. I want to thank South University, Online Programs for accepting me back to class after I had my really bad seizure in 2010. I have made a total turn around in my classes with their help and guidance.