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crime

Three woman walking down city streets.

A forensics student named Alex recently shared vital information on TikTok that all women should know. She detailed the specific signs male predators are looking for when they choose a victim.

Her video is based on a 2013 study entitled “Psychopathy and Victim Selection: The Use of Gait as a Cue to Vulnerability.” For the study, researchers interviewed violent criminals in prison and asked them the type of women they’d be most likely to victimize.

The study found that the criminals all agreed that how the woman walked was a deciding factor.


“What the selected women all had in common was the way that they walked and how they generally held themselves in public,” Alex says in the video she later deleted but has been shared broadly across the platform.

@gatita_bunee

How to walk for your safety! #women #safety #tips #walking #kidnapping #murder #attacks #fyp

“The selected women all had a similar ‘awkwardness’ to the way that they walked and carried themselves,” she continued. “The first part of the woman had a gait that was a little bit too small for their body, which resulted in smaller steps, slower speed and their arms more typically to their sides, or crossed, as well as their heads being down and not really taking in their general surroundings, which indicated three different things to these potential attackers.”

The woman’s body language signaled to attackers that she was fearful and anxious and because her head was down, she'd be easier to surprise. Alex then described the second type of woman the criminals said they’d target.

“On the other hand, the other part of the women that were selected had a gait that seemed a bit too big for their body and their arms tended to flail to the sides and seemed just overly awkward,” Alex continued.

The woman with the bigger gait signaled to potential attackers that she may be clumsy and won’t put up a good fight. “Because their arms were out and flailing to the side, it left the lower body open to, again, come around and grab them,” she said.

woman walking, predators, crime

Two women walking down the street.

via Mâide Arslan/Pexels

The video was helpful because Alex also discussed the types of women the attackers wouldn’t pursue. Alex says these women “walked with a gait that tended to be more natural to their body.” She adds they moved at the same pace as those in the immediate area, with their shoulders back and chins up and asserting a general sense of confidence.

“Essentially, the women that were not selected gave off an energy that said, ‘Don’t mess with me. I will put up a good fight.’ And that’s why they weren’t selected,” Alex said. “I know that it sounds silly, but something as simple as the way you walk or the way that you carry yourself in public could determine the likelihood that you become a target of a predator.”

Alex concluded her video by sharing an acronym that can help prevent women from being victimized while in public: STAAR.

S(tride) — Walk with a natural stride to your body and not too far apart or short.

T(all) — Stand tall. Keep your shoulders back and your chin up. Assert a natural confidence and dominance to those around you.

A(rms)—Swing your arms naturally by your sides, avoiding keeping them too close to your body or flailing out of your natural range of motion.

A(wareness) — Stay aware of your surroundings. Take notice if something feels or looks off.

R(elax): Stay cool, calm, and collected and don’t indicate to a potential attacker that you feel or see something is wrong.







Chris Blattman shares the results of a 10-year study on crime.

"What if I told you that roughly $500 for therapy + a little cash helped the most troubled young men in West Africa drop their crime and violence by half. For at least 10 years," Chris Blattman, professor of global conflict studies at the University of Chicago, opens a stunning tweet thread introducing the results of a study he began 13 years ago.

Blattman traveled to Liberia in 2009 with his wife as she did research on reintegrating ex-fighters from the war. Blattman had free time so he met up with Johnson Borh.

“He was a combatant in the war and now ran some kind of NGO. He seemed to know everyone and be able to go everywhere. So I asked him to show me around how the crime and drug markets worked,” Blattman tweeted.

Blattman couldn’t get over the fact that wherever they went, men would run over to Borh and give him a big hug. “How do you know Borh?” he asked them and every time he heard a similar response.

“I used to be like them,” and they’d point to the drug den or pickpockets. “But then I went through Borh’s program.”


For 15 years, Borh and his colleagues ran the STYL: Sustainable Transformation of Youth in Liberia program to help transform the most dangerous men in the city. “They met in abandoned buildings, in groups of maybe 20, for a couple of hours a day. Johnson trained some counselors, and they eked out a living on the program,” Blattman wrote.

Blattman got his team of researchers together to do a larger version of a similar program using the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques used by Borh. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an approach for reducing self-destructive beliefs and behaviors and promoting positive ones.

“Things looked really good. So I recruit my coauthors to help run a large-scale study,” Blattman tweeted. “We scaled up, raised a million dollars, and ran a huge randomized controlled trial with 999 of the toughest men in Monrovia.”

The therapy sessions focused on three types of behavioral change. The first was an attempt to get the men to “behave and self-identify as normal society members rather than as an outcast or criminal.” The second was to foster future orientation over present-biased behavior. The program taught skills to “manage emotions, reduce impulsivity, become more conscientious and persevering, and become more planful and goal-oriented in their daily activities.”

Finally, the team worked to teach the men how to deal with anger, interpersonal violence and threatening situations.

The researchers also held a cash lottery where some men were randomly selected to win $200. The men were told they could do anything with the money but were encouraged to use it to start a business or make home improvements.

The team followed up a year later and the results were inspiring.


Those who received the CBT and the cash slashed their antisocial behaviors by 50%. Those who had just therapy saw decreasing results over time, but those who received the cash and therapy had their new, positive behaviors more deeply entrenched.

Ten years later, the team was a little uneasy about seeing if the impact had lasted.

“I was pessimistic,” Blattman said. “We surveyed experts in advance. Almost all expected CBT Only or Cash Only to have no effect whatsoever after 10 years. For Therapy plus Cash, one-third of the experts predicted no effect at all. 2/3 predicted steeply diminished impacts.”

However, the researchers found that crime and violence were still down by 50% with those who got the CBT and cash.

“The therapy helped participants change their intentions, identity and behavior, and provided almost daily commitment and reinforcement,” the study’s conclusion states. “After eight weeks of therapy, the grant provided some men with the cash they needed to maintain their new identity—to avoid homelessness, to feed themselves, and to continue to dress decently.”

Blattman believed that his team’s findings are important and should be put into practice today in America for two reasons. “Gun violence is spiking in the Americas,” he tweeted. “Cities need solutions. They’re searching for ones that don’t involve coercion.”

Second, it works.

“All the evidence suggests CBT-informed programs are fast, effective, hyper-targeted, non-coercive ways to reduce violence,” he wrote.

@litcapital/Twitter

The IRS requires criminals to report their illegal income.

You know how sometimes you see something come through your social media feed and you think, "There's no way that's real," only to then have your mind blown when you find out it actually is real?

This is one of those times.

Twitter user @litcapital shared a post that appeared to be a screenshot from the IRS website with two entries on it:


"Illegal activities. Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 8z, or on Schedule C (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity.

Stolen property. If you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it unless you return it to its rightful owner in the same year."

Yes, you read that right. Dealing illegal drugs? Gotta pay taxes on that income. Stealing property? Gotta report that as income.

Surely this is made up, right?

Nope. Go here: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p17. Do a "Find" search with your browser and enter the word "illegal." Then put in "stolen." You'll find the entries listed under "Other Income," worded just like this.

We can all agree that taxes are overly complicated, and few of us have the time to read through every single IRS publication to figure them out. But requiring criminals to report illegal activity and stolen goods on their taxes? Really?

Someone had to actually come up with this policy. Someone had to say, "Hey, I think we should tell criminals that they have to report their criminal profits on their taxes," and someone else had to say, "Yeah, that's a good idea." Someone had to approve it. Someone had to type it up and publish it, too.

Did they all do this with a straight face? Was it a serious conversation? Did any brave soul say, "Um, that's stupid. No one is going to do that," because it's obviously stupid and clearly no one is going to do that?

That was my first thought upon seeing these tax requirements.

However, as it turns out, there actually is a good reason these policies exist. Illegal income does get reported sometimes, namely when someone has been caught (or thinks they're about to be caught) in some illegal activity and they don't want to get hit with a tax evasion charge in addition to whatever financial or property theft crime they've committed.

According to CNN Money, New England accountant Tom Hughes paid taxes on money he stole from his clients in 1999, 2001 and 2004. "I knew the money was taxable, there was no doubt about that," Hughes told the outlet. "I had already been caught, and I didn't want to face federal tax charges."

He now gives speeches on financial crime and professional responsibility. Go figure.

However, Hughes is the exception, as tax experts told CNN that most criminals don't report their illegal incomes. Duh. According to San Francisco tax attorney Stephen Moskowitz, most of those who do are facing embezzlement charges and are trying to avoid Al Capone-ing themselves. He has helped some of those clients document their illegal gains to avoid doubling their legal trouble due to illegal tax activity.

So basically, we have to have official tax requirements for illegal income in order for criminals to not be able to get away with tax evasion for that income. Still seems like a bizarre policy to actually write out in words, though, even if it makes sense from a legal perspective.

Humans are weird and money is weird and both things just seem to keep getting weirder. Yay us.

While kidnappings by complete strangers in broad daylight are extremely rare, they can and do happen. If a child ever finds themselves in that situation, it's important for them to know what to do.

A security camera captured a scary kidnapping attempt in Florida that has people praising the 11-year-old girl who fought off her attacker and even left a clue that helped police identify him.

Video footage shared by the Escambia County Sherriff's office shows the girl sitting alone at her bus stop at around 7:00 am when a white car turned at the median, then returned a minute later. A man exits the vehicle, runs up to the girl, and grabs her, attempting to carry her back to the car. Sherriff Chip Simmons told reporters that the man was carrying a knife. The girl put up a fight and the man stumbled, then ran back to his car and drove away as the girl ran in the opposite direction.


The girl was playing with blue slime when the man approached her, and she wiped some of it on his arm in the struggle. When police arrested the suspect, who has been identified as 30-year-old Jared Paul Stanga, they saw the slime still smeared on his arm.

Simmons told reporters at a news conference that Stanga has an "extensive" criminal history that includes sexual offenses against children. Stanga has now been charged with the attempted kidnapping of a child under 13 and aggravated assault and battery.

"I cannot help to think that this could have ended very differently," Simmons said. "Had this 11-year-old victim not thought to fight and to fight and to just never give up, then this could have ended terribly. Why else do you think that this man stopped, stopped his van and tried to pick her up and take her into that van? It doesn't take a genius to figure out what his intentions were, but they were not good."

Simmons also told reporters that Stanga had approached the girl about two weeks ago at the bus stop and "made her feel uncomfortable." She told school officials and her parents about the incident, and her mother started accompanying her to the bus stop. Tuesday was the first day her mother had not been with her at the bus stop since that incident.

Simmons called the girl his hero for fighting to get away. She ended up with some scratches—and obviously experienced some trauma—but otherwise walked away uninjured.

"My message is that she did not give up," he said. "She did the right thing, and she fought and she fought."

Parents don't want to imagine anything like this happening to their child and may not want to scare them by telling them it could happen, but it's also important to prepare kids for all possibilities. Some children might freeze in fear or confusion in a potential abduction situation, but experts recommend kids fight back if someone actually physically grabs a child and tries to take them someplace.

"Kicking and screaming, opening the door, shouting, 'Who are you? I don't know who you are. You're hurting me. Stop it.' To try to call attention to the situation they're in," Marylene Cloitre of the New York University Child Study Center told ABC News. There are even formal programs in some places that teach kids what to do in various situations and have them practice using their voice and putting up a struggle, such as this one in the Chicago suburbs.

Training teaches kids to yell, run and fight back to escape kidnapperswww.youtube.com

There is no audio on the security footage in Tuesday's attempt, but it's clear the 11-year-old was not going to go quietly. Her instinct to fight back paid off, and thankfully she is home safe now. Hopefully, the justice system will now do what is necessary to protect her and other kids from the would-be kidnapper.