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Local cyber crimes investigators ask people to speak up when they see threats online

Local cyber crimes investigators ask people to speak up when they see threats online. // WSBT 22 photo

Another mass shooting happened Thursday morning in California. Right now, only a limited amount of information is known about the suspect.

Police are still trying to determine a motive and look at his social media presence for clues.

It’s an unfortunate reality that in most cases after a mass shooting or act of violence, we learn that the suspect told others what could happen.

Most recently we know that happened in the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting. The suspect had a troubling history of posts on social media.

Local cyber crimes investigators ask people take note and speak up when they see threats online.

The message is see something, say something. That way steps can be taken to keep everyone safe.

“We don’t consider anything a joke, any threat that’s posted online, there’s no such thing as a joke anymore,” said Mitch Kajzer with the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit

The St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit takes online threats very seriously.

Kajzer says law enforcement agencies in our area are now learning how to assess threats.

What’s credible and what’s not? It’s tricky to find out because so many threats are vague. That’s why investigators look beyond the most recent post.

“We completely investigate and look at the person — their background, their circumstances, a history of what they posted online,” said Kajzer.

The goal is to prevent tragedies before they happen. Kajzer says that’s tough because no one can predict human behavior.

“But what we can do is evaluate the actions of someone – what someone is saying and come up with some sort of opinion. That is this person progressing down that route towards violence? And if he is, how can we get him off of that?” said Kajzer.

In many cases, investigators learn about troubling posts when the public reports it to them. Kajzer says it’s a good idea even if something just doesn’t seem right.

“Just by bringing it to our attention, you are not accusing anyone of anything. It’s giving us an opportunity to look into it further,” said Kajzer. “We have done so many cases just like that where it ends up being absolutely nothing, but we would rather have that then see something and decide ‘Well I don’t know for sure what this is. I don’t want to falsely accuse someone’ and then not report it.”

If a threat is found to be credible, law enforcement takes steps to manage it.

“Management could be just law enforcement making contact with them. Talking to them about it and it may go no further than that. Management may be making contact with them and ultimately getting them mental health services or in some cases managing it is making contact and arresting them so it all depends on the individual case,” said Kajzer.

Kajzer told WSBT 22 an initial evaluation of a case takes just about 10-15 minutes.

A deeper threat assessment on a person can usually be done within a couple of hours.

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