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May 16, 2016 09:00 AM

FBI Releases Preliminary Numbers on Law Enforcement Officers Killed in 2015

The FBI released preliminary statistics on the number of law enforcement officers killed during 2015: Forty-one officers were feloniously killed (down from 51 in 2014), and an additional 45 officers ...

FBI Releases Preliminary Numbers on Officers Killed in 2015; Director Pays Tribute


On May 13, 2016, Director James Comey—joining U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, other officials, and families and friends of fallen law enforcement officers—participated in the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial’s annual candlelight vigil held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to honor the lives of officers whose names were recently added to the memorial wall. The vigil is one of many events held in honor of National Police Week, which officially began yesterday, May 15.

And today, the FBI released preliminary statistics on the number of law enforcement officers killed during 2015: Forty-one officers were feloniously killed (down from 51 in 2014), and an additional 45 officers were killed in line-of-duty accidents, the same number accidentally killed in 2014. Of the 41 felonious deaths, firearms were used in 38 incidents, and 30 of the 41 killed officers were wearing body armor at the time of the incident. Final statistics and complete details will be available in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2015, which will be released this fall.

LEOKA press release | Director’s National Police Week message

May 13, 2016 11:05 AM

FBI Reaching Out About Female Genital Mutilation

The FBI is proactively investigating tips and leads on the illegal practice of female genital mutilation. Investigators are hoping victims and community members who are opposed to it will come ...

FBI Reaching Out About Female Genital Mutilation

More than 500,000 women and girls across the country—most of them living in metropolitan areas—are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation, a procedure that has long been practiced in many African and Middle Eastern countries as a cultural custom but has been illegal in the U.S. since 1996.

The FBI is proactively investigating tips and leads on this illegal practice. Investigators are hoping victims and community members who are opposed to it will come forward and report cases.

Full story

May 11, 2016 03:30 PM

Director Comey Honors Law Enforcement Officers in National Police Week Message

As thousands of law enforcement officers from around the country and across the globe begin to gather in Washington, D.C. in anticipation of National Police Week—which officially begins Sunday, May ...

Director Comey Honors Law Enforcement Officers in National Police Week Message

As thousands of law enforcement officers from around the country and across the globe begin to gather in Washington, D.C. in anticipation of National Police Week—which officially begins Sunday, May 15—FBI Director James Comey released a video message to personally express his gratitude for the brave men and women who have given their lives in the line of duty.

“These tragedies remind us that our safety and our freedoms, which we hold so dear, are purchased at great cost,” said Comey in his message. “The memories of these heroes inspire us to do all that we can to ensure that our fellow officers, deputies, troopers, and agents return home safely at the end of their shifts.”

In his message, the Director also acknowledged law enforcement officers who are still wearing the badge today. He recognized the pressures faced while working in communities, but also stressed the importance of outreach and relationship building.

“All of us in law enforcement have to continue to reach out to the communities we serve so that folks can understand better the difficult and often frightening work that we do to keep them safe,” said Comey. “At the same time, we have to continue to listen to their concerns and work with them to build and improve the relationships that are at the center of our success.”

May 10, 2016 12:25 PM

Child Sexual Exploitation

The case of a Tennessee man sentenced last month to 21 years in prison on child pornography charges serves as an important reminder to parents and children about the dangers of an online world where ...

Child Sexual Exploitation

Laptop, Smartphone, and Tablet Bearing Image of Man in Hooded Jacket (Stock Image)


The case of a Tennessee man sentenced last month to 21 years in prison on child pornography charges serves as an important reminder to parents and children about the dangers of an online world where things are not always as they appear and pedophiles may be lurking around many virtual corners.

Brian K. Hendrix was convicted earlier this year in connection with his operation of two websites whose sole purpose was to trick children into engaging in sexually explicit activity that he and his co-conspirators were secretly recording. An investigation identified more than 300 American children who were victims—some as young as 8 years old—and an estimated 1,600 other youths who were lured to the websites.

Full story

May 06, 2016 10:45 AM

ViCAP, Part 2: The Highway Serial Killings Initiative

Since the Highway Serial Killings Initiative began in 2004, analysts for the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program have compiled a list of more than 750 murder victims found along or near U.S. ...

ViCAP, Part 2: The Highway Serial Killings Initiative

More than a decade ago, analysts for the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP)—the only national database of serial crimes—began to see a marked increase in the number of bodies recovered along the side of the road. A majority of the victims were truck-stop prostitutes, and it turned out that many of the suspects were long-haul truckers. (While long-haul trucking is an honorable profession and the overwhelming majority of drivers are not murderers—it does happen, and the pattern is unmistakable.)

To make matters worse, these cases are extremely difficult to investigate. A long-haul driver can pick up a prostitute at a truck stop in Georgia, rape and murder her, and dump her body on the side of the road in Florida later that day. The victim has no connection to the area where she was found, and there may be no forensic evidence to collect because the crime was committed hundreds of miles away. The local police detectives investigating the case might have little experience dealing with a crime of this nature and may be faced with few, if any, leads.

To raise awareness among law enforcement agencies—and the public—about highway serial killings, and to focus ViCAP resources on helping to solve these cases, in 2004 the FBI began the Highway Serial Killings (HSK) Initiative, with support from the trucking industry.

Full story

May 05, 2016 04:20 PM

Statistics on 2014 Cargo Thefts Released

Today, the FBI released its second annual compilation of cargo theft data reported through its Uniform Crime Reporting Program. This latest release—which contains data from 2014—reveals that 547 ...

Statistics on 2014 Cargo Thefts Released

Today, the FBI released its second annual compilation of cargo theft data reported through its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. This latest release—which contains data from 2014—reveals that 547 incidents of cargo theft were reported to law enforcement during the year. The stolen cargo was worth more than $32.5 million.

Why does the FBI collect this data? Because cargo theft can have a significant impact on the U.S. economy and because it’s often described as a gateway crime that can lead to broader investigations in areas like organized crime, drug trafficking, health care fraud, terrorism, etc. Also, the USA Patriot Improvement and Re-Authorization Act of 2005 passed by Congress contained a mandate to “take the necessary steps to ensure that reports of cargo theft collected by federal, state, and local officials are reflected as a separate category in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system.”

Participation in the UCR Program is voluntary, and in 2014, a total of 29 states submitted cargo theft data to the FBI, up from seven states in 2013. The Bureau expects participation to increase further as states implement technical changes within their systems, align state and local policies with federal requirements, and provide education and training to participants.

Cargo theft data reported to the FBI will eventually be incorporated into UCR’s annual Crime in the United States and National Incident-Based Reporting System publications.

May 04, 2016 04:00 PM

Multi-State Takedown of Gangster Disciples Members Announced

Forty-eight alleged members of the violent Gangster Disciples gang—including the top leaders in Tennessee and Georgia—have been charged in two indictments, accused of conspiring to participate in a ...

Multi-State Takedown of Gangster Disciples Members Announced

Forty-eight alleged members of the violent Gangster Disciples gang—including the top leaders in Tennessee and Georgia—have been charged in two indictments, accused of conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise that included multiple murders, attempted murder, and drug crimes. Forty-five indicted defendants were taken into custody today across nine states, while three remain at large.

Today’s announcements of the indictments—made during press conferences in Memphis and Atlanta—came on the heels of multi-agency investigations involving the FBI’s Memphis and Atlanta Field Offices and numerous local, state, and federal law enforcement partners who targeted the Gangster Disciples, a national gang active in at least two dozen states. According to court documents, the scope of the group’s crimes is broad—from violent crimes and threats of violence to drug trafficking to financial crimes like credit card and bank fraud.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, Criminal Division, “It is the very of core of law enforcement’s mission to ensure that everyone feels safe in their homes and neighborhoods, and it is a hard reality that many people across our country simply do not enjoy this basic sense of security because of gangs like the Gangster Disciples. That is why it is so significant that today’s indictments charge top leaders within the Gangster Disciples.”

Added Special in Charge J. Britt Johnson, Atlanta FBI Field Office, “The Gangster Disciples are a highly organized and ruthless gang that recognizes no geographical boundaries, and its members have far too long indiscriminately preyed upon and infected the good people of our communities like a cancer. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, is committed to seeing this campaign through, and once and for all putting an end to the Gangster Disciples’ reign of terror.”

Related information:

May 03, 2016 10:45 AM

ViCAP, Part 1: Sharing Information to Stop Serial Offenders

At a recent training course, homicide investigators, crime analysts, intelligence analysts, and police department administrators were introduced to the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, a ...

ViCAP, Part 1: Sharing Information to Stop Serial Offenders


The homicide investigators, crime analysts, intelligence analysts, and administrators in the police department classroom studied their computer monitors, ready to receive instruction on—and access to—a powerful database that serves as a nationwide repository for certain types of violent crimes.

The men and women from regional law enforcement agencies were gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona for an introduction to the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP), whose mission is simple: share information to help solve serial crimes.

“ViCAP Web is the only national law enforcement database that contains both investigative and behavioral information related to specific types of cases,” said Rick Blankenship, an FBI crime analyst who travels the country to train law enforcement on the use of the system. “We are not looking for law enforcement agencies to enter every one of their homicides or sexual assaults in ViCAP Web,” he explained. “We are looking for cases of a serial nature, where we think this may not have been the first time the offender committed this type of crime.”

Full story

Apr 29, 2016 11:00 AM

Incidents of Ransomware on the Rise

Ransomware has been around for a few years, but during 2015, law enforcement saw an increase in these types of cyber attacks. And if the first three months of this year are any indication, the number ...

Incidents of Ransomware on the Rise

Graphic of Tablet Screen with Lock and Key (Stock Image)

Hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, small businesses, large businesses—these are just some of the entities impacted recently by ransomware, an insidious type of malware that encrypts, or locks, valuable digital files and demands a ransom to release them.

The inability to access the important data these kinds of organizations keep can be catastrophic in terms of the loss of sensitive or proprietary information, the disruption to regular operations, financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and the potential harm to an organization’s reputation.

And, of course, home computers are just as susceptible to ransomware, and the loss of access to personal and often irreplaceable items—including family photos, videos, and other data—can be devastating for individuals as well.

Ransomware has been around for a few years, but during 2015, law enforcement saw an increase in these types of cyber attacks, particularly against organizations because the payoffs are higher. And if the first three months of this year are any indication, the number of ransomware incidents—and the ensuing damage they cause—will grow even more in 2016 if individuals and organizations don’t prepare for these attacks in advance.

Full story

Apr 26, 2016 04:00 PM

Sextortion and Cyberstalking

The investigation that uncovered a far-reaching sextortion scheme by a U.S. State Department employee at the U.S. Embassy in London all started with a single complaint by a young victim in Kentucky.

Sextortion and Cyberstalking

Man Typing on Laptop Computer (Stock Image)


The investigation that uncovered a far-reaching sextortion scheme by a U.S. State Department employee at the U.S. Embassy in London all started with a single complaint by a young victim in Kentucky. She went to the police.

“The victim basically was saying that she was being cyberstalked by some guy who got into her e-mail and was threatening to expose compromising photos of her to her friends and family,” said FBI Special Agent Andrew Young, who interviewed some of the hundreds of victims targeted by Michael C. Ford, a former State Department civilian employee who was sentenced last month to nearly five years in prison for hacking into the e-mail accounts of young women to extort them.

Full story