Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

UK: Twitter Rape Threats Lead to Arrest, Investigation

What happens when threats are made over social media? In Britain they are considered serious by authorities, especially if a Government minister is the victim. Journalist Caroline Criado-Perez and British Government official Stella Creasy were harassed on Twitter yesterday after spearheading a campaign to place author Jane Austen be placed on the £10 note. Creasy received threats of rape suggesting they “meet near her house.” Another said ”You better watch your back….Im gonna rape your ass at 8pm and put the video all over the internet.” One other said “If I meet you in an alley you will definitely get f***ed.” Creasy retweeted the threats and responded to assailants by telling them she was alerting authorities.

The threats were widespread, sometimes reaching as many as 50 an hour. Both victims and a senior Government official were displeased with the social media site’s response to the threats. A petition campaign to add a “Report Abuse” button received more than 55,000 signatures. Today, investigative agency Scotland Yard is following up on the threats and police in Manchester have arrested and interviewed at least one suspect.

More about the psychology of Internet crime: Internet Predators and their Prey

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