Bulletin Reports

Real Crimes in Virtual Worlds

This publication discusses gathering data provided within virtual worlds and online gaming communities to prevent violent crime. It examines how virtual environments can supply information to school administrators and law enforcement agencies regarding threats and criminal intent that may affect real-world educational institutions.

Following an act of violence, investigators often can gain knowledge by reviewing a suspect’s online posts in discussion forums. They use those new perspectives to assimilate possible connections between the threats and behaviors exhibited in virtual worlds with the perpetrator’s violent acts in the real world. Techniques described provide timely options and suggestions for law enforcement agencies and school resource officers to consider in school safety. Real-world incidents serve as case studies to explain how information and intelligence can be derived and used to help protect schools from violence.

Additional information on this publication can be found at the Office of Justice Programs, https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=266643, December 2013, NCJ 244562.