A poster for a missing autistic 14-year-old named Avonte Oquendo, is viewed on a New York City street on Oct. 21, 2013. Family members focused their search along rail yards and in subway stations since the boy had a love of trains. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/HowStuffWorks Most parents wouldn't hesitate a second to call the police if a small child goes missing, but what's the protocol for older teenagers and adults? Aren't you supposed to wait 24 hours before reporting a friend or loved one as missing? And how much are the police able to do if an adult disappears without any evidence of foul play? The good news is that most missing person's cases are quickly canceled or resolved. In 2017, 651,226 children and adults were reported missing to the U.S. National Crime Information Center, and all but 11 of those cases were solved, some in just hours. (In 2016, the unsolved cases numbered about 3,000). But if you ever find yourself in the terrifying position of losing track of a loved … [Read more...] about What to Do If a Loved One Goes Missing
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Protestor Soren Mcclay, 14, (C) demonstrates outside a Center City Starbucks on April 15, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Police arrested two black men who were waiting inside the Center City Starbucks which prompted an apology from the company's CEO. Mark Makela/Getty Images We live in the age of "If you see something, say something." What started as a public anti-terrorism campaign in the wake of the September 11th attacks has morphed into a state of vigilance for any kind of suspicious behavior. And sometimes it pays off. In 2016, a day after 29 people were injured in a string of New York City bombings, two men saw a suspicious bag with wires sticking out of it left on a dumpster in Elizabeth, New Jersey. They alerted police, which used robots to disarmed five pipe bombs. Later that night, another 911 call led police to a man sleeping in a tavern doorway, who turned out to be the bomber. But for every report of suspicious activity that leads to an arrest, there are many … [Read more...] about Defining ‘Suspicious Behavior’ Without Bias Is Harder Than You Think
U.S. President Donald Trump, see here during a cabinet meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (right), is said to desperately want to know the identity of the New York Times anonymous OpEd piece. Win McNamee/Getty Images When you think of forensics, you probably think of bones in a shallow grave or fingerprints at a crime scene. And that's understandable. We can thank TV dramas like "CSI" for that. But forensics — "relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems" (thanks Merriam-Webster, for that)— is way more than femurs and fingerprints. There are forensic psychologists, for example, and forensic engineers. The American Academy of Forensic Scientists includes both forensic pathologists, the ones who deal with the injured or dead, and forensic accountants. Any field where science and scientific knowledge can be applied to the law — whether it's actually solving crimes or simply … [Read more...] about How ‘Word Cops’ Unmask Anonymous Authors
A study showed that 7.1 percent of boys and 5.3 percent of girls had cyberbullied themselves. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images When 14-year-old Hannah Smith from Leicestershire, England, tragically took her life in 2013, her family cited months of relentless cyberbullying via the web app Ask.fm. But when investigators dug deeper, they discovered something even more devastating: 98 percent of the abusive messages were sent by Hannah herself. It's called self-cyberbullying or digital self-harm, the act of setting up a fake social media account to post hurtful messages about yourself. And while it sounds bizarre — why would anyone, especially a struggling adolescent, want to bully themselves online? — it's much more common than previously thought. According to a 2016 national survey of 12- to 17-year-olds, 7.1 percent of boys and 5.3 percent of girls said that they had anonymously posted mean messages about themselves. Sameer Hinduja is co-director of the Cyberbullying … [Read more...] about Startling Number of Teens Cyberbully Themselves
The U.S. is the most heavily armed country, with 90 guns for every 100 people. See more pictures of guns. Katja Heinemann/Aurora/Getty Images More than 3.5 million pistols, revolvers, shotguns and rifles were manufactured in the United States in 2005 [source: U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives]. The next year, firearms were used in 10,177 homicides [source: FBI]. And a Swiss survey found that in 2007, the United States had 90 guns for every hundred people, a total of 270 million guns. India, the second-most-armed nation in the world, had 45 million. If you don't count the United States, there is one gun for every ten people worldwide. With the United States included, the ratio rises to seven to 10 [source: Reuters]. With all of these guns, it may seem like the chances of being shot are pretty good. In 1997, Americans had a 1 in 2,317 chance of being shot, based on the population and number of gunshot wounds [source: Centers for Disease Control]. So if … [Read more...] about Where’s the best place to take a bullet if you get shot?