Category Archives: Craig Byrnes

COVOR Fact #4: Knowledge is Power

COVOR

Making certain your children are safe is priority number one.  A valuable source of information designed to aid in child abduction prevention can be found on the Illinois State Police (ISP) website.  http://www.isp.state.il.us/crime/caparentsguide.cfm

The “Parents Guide to Preventing Child Abduction,” is broken down into 13 easy to understand tips/facts: Strangers are not always evil looking; How Child Molesters Gain a Child’s Confidence; Children are most vulnerable when left alone; Tell children to stay away from cars; Role Play with your kids; Report any suspicious activity immediately (Includes Tips for reporting suspicious activity); Children Should Try to Stay In Groups; Take time to know your surroundings; Strangers don’t always look evil; Walk away from streets; Stay away from cars; Yell and Tell; and finally, Recognize, React, and Report.

Talking to your children daily about safety practices is among the most important calls for action, and requires parents to be vigilant in regards to suspicious activity.  The guide points out, “Children do not put the same emphasis on suspicious activity as adults,” making it imperative for you the parent to ask direct questions in order to, “bring suspicious acts to light.”

Some tips for reporting suspicious activity are provided in the guide for cases involving a suspicious vehicle, and suspicious persons.  For vehicles always attempt to provide a license plate number and state, color of the vehicle, body style (i.e. # of doors, van, etc), location and the last known direction of travel, and if possible the description of occupants.

When reporting a suspicious person the ISP guide documents 7 areas of interest.  Remember to get the persons race, sex, clothing worn, facial features, height, weight, and location and direction of travel.  This vigilant reporting will help secure your child.  The guide urges immediately reporting suspicious activity is detrimental to the safety of all children.

Understanding the Redwine Model (TRM-COVOR)—the Basic Map

The basic map includes a minimum essential data set (MEDS) consisting of Ortho Imagery, Elevation, Hydrography, Transportation, Boundaries, Structures, Land Cover, Geographic Names, geology, soil, and more. Additionally, the basic map primarily consists of points indicating particular places such as locations where the victim was last seen, places where the victim has been known to visit, location of friends and family, known sex offenders living in the area, persons of interest, and other items of interest.

General Area Searches often include wooded and uninhabited areas according to the FBI’s Child Abduction Response Plan. It is of utmost importance that a “systematic approach” is used and GIS can absolutely make this possible. GIS similar to TRM-COVOR can also assist in the establishment of high ground required to monitor search efforts, and can also take inputs from aerial resources monitoring search efforts.

Side-note: The response plan also notes that making contact with trash companies to determine the location of dumpsters and their pick up schedule is necessary. This is information that can be transferred using GIS further supporting systematic search efforts.

Creation of this comprehensive basic map is similar to that of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) geographic investigative protocols, and has proven helpful in all aspects of TRM-COVOR investigations.

NCMEC came into being as the result of the Missing Children’s Assistance Act (MCAA) in April 1984 and serves as a national clearinghouse for all data concerning missing and exploited children with recovery rates of nearly 94 percent. Much like our COVOR model, children reported missing to NCMEC are assigned, “to one of four main missing case types—endangered runaway (ERU); family abduction (FA); lost, injured, or otherwise missing (LIM); and non-family abduction (NFA),” (Kochan, 2003). According to NCMEC in 2003, “ERUs represent approximately 72 percent of the children reported missing to NCMEC; FAs, 22 percent; LIMs, 4 percent; and NFAs, the remaining 3 percent,” (Kochan, 2003).

TRM-COVOR includes additional statistical representations in the form of distance rings on the basic map in order to enhance searches, and assist in the Neighborhood Canvas portion of the investigation in addition to general area searches. Logging all information collected in searches is one of the keys to successful recovery of any missing person, or item (USDOJ 2004). Taking this further by logging collected evidence, and additional clues, with points on the map can make patterns more evident, and lead to quicker recovery of the missing.

Information regarding the child’s family and friends is collected and coded for inclusion in the basic map as well. “This information is entered into the NCMEC database and automatically geocoded with latitude and longitude,” along with incoming leads/tips in the case (Kochan, 2003).

A custom java program written by Peg Flick—Chief Information Officer for NCMEC—runs in the background and ranks leads. “If the lead location is within a certain proximity of any of the addresses collected from the searching parent as possible locations, these leads are automatically given a high rank,” (Kochan, 2003). Map Objects software is then used, “to query each child’s case for the geographic distribution of leads,” moreover, “the visual display of these leads is searched for patterns, and a cluster of high ranking leads in a given area could warrant a targeted poster distribution.

TRM-COVOR cannot intake leads in the same way law enforcement or NCMEC can, but what it can and does do is operationalize a massive social media campaign designed to spread the word of Dylan’s situation, and create new actionable intelligence.

Managing Social Media using advanced business intelligence is a core tenet of TRM-COVOR.

Managing Social Media using advanced business intelligence is a core tenet of TRM-COVOR.

The social media operation takes place at Collective & Objective Voice of Reason for Dylan Redwine (COVOR-DR). COVOR-DR is a Facebook page designed to serve multiple purposes. Created as a community page about the official Facebook page Find Missing Dylan Redwine, it acts as an avenue towards collective analysis and insight for those with knowledge of the case.

COVOR-DR uses advanced business intelligence tools in concert with Facebook’s targeted advertising metrics in order to reach locations within the COVOR geographic area.

TRM-COVOR System Output

TRM-COVOR System Output

You will find more detailed information regarding the social media aspects of the investigation, as well as, additional GIS methodologies operationalized in future discussions.

Suggested Reading

Hanfland, Kenneth A., Keppel, Robert D., Weis, Joseph G., and Gregoire, Christine O. Case Management for Missing Children Homicide Investigation. 5-1-1997. Washington, US Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. 2-10-2013.

Kochan, Geraldine. The Search for Missing Children Aided With GIS. 2003. ESRI. 4-17-2013.

US Dept of Justice and FBI. Child Abduction response Plan: An Investigative Guide. 1-1-2004. 2-10-2013.

Understanding the Redwine Model (TRM-COVOR)—THEORETICAL ASSUMPTIONS

crimetriangle

Routine Activities Theory (RAT) underlies all prevention analysis provided by TRM-COVOR systems. “The theory states that a crime occurs when the following three elements come together in any given space and time: 1) An accessible target, 2) The absence of capable guardians that could intervene, and 3) the presence of a motivated offender,” (New South Wales Attorney General Office 2011).

This theory is one of the main theories of environmental criminology, providing, “simple and powerful insight into the causes of crime problems,” (Center for Problem Oriented Policing 2013). It has been suggested that if one of the three elements is eliminated a crime is prevented.

RAT can also assist in the initial determination of a missing child by uncovering whether the possibility of criminal action existed in the first place. It has been determined that in the case of Dylan Redwine, multiple opportunities presented themselves.

RAT also makes it clear that, “the spatial ordering of crime opportunities and the routines of offenders and victims creates many of the crime problems we see,” (Center for Problem Oriented Policing 2013). It focuses on settings instead of offenders, and seeks to, “forestall the occurrence of crime,” (Clarke 1997).

The bottom-line is situational prevention will bring lower levels of crime.

Suggested Reading

Center for Problem Oriented Policing. A Theory of Crime Problems. 2013. Center for Problem Oriented Policing. 2-19-2013.

Clarke, Ronald V. Situational Crime Prevention. [2nd]. 1997. Guilderland, New York, Harrow and Heston. 3-3-2013.

New South Wales Attorney General’s Office. Routine Activity Theory. 2011. State of New South Wales through the Department of Attorney General and Justice. 4-5-2013.

Understanding the Redwine Model (TRM-COVOR)—STATISTICS

Statistical Research on Missing Children and Child Homicide seeks to identify, “unique types of child murders, as well as examine more common offense patterns,” so a dynamic understanding can emerge. Indeed, any act perpetrated against a child, “is a highly emotional event, often attracting widespread societal and media attention,” making the investigative environment highly challenging (BOUDREAUX, LORD, and JARVIS 2001, 56-78).

Scientifically sound research is a requirement of future advances of the TRM-COVOR system, and thus far has appears to predominantly indicate, “that a child is more likely to be victimized by somebody they know,” despite this fact it seems, “the public is led to believe that a child’s risk of death by a stranger is far greater than from other individuals (i.e., family members or acquaintances),” (BOUDREAUX, LORD, and JARVIS 2001, 56-78). Consequently, TRM-COVOR, operationalizes intuitive coding of case types in order to populate alternative scenarios.

COVORcasetypes

Some Additional Reading

BOUDREAUX, MONIQUE C., WAYNE D. LORD, and JOHN P. JARVIS. 2001. Behavioral Perspectives on Child Homicide: The Role of Access, Vulnerability, and Routine Activities Theory. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 2, no. 1: 56-78.

Understanding the Redwine Model (TRM-COVOR)—SOCIAL MEDIA

TRM-COVOR operationalizes a Social Media Management plan to spread awareness and collect crowd sourced information that will increase the safety of children by providing a platform for analysis, and by carefully crafting questions that will help to determine the information needed, how it will be used, and who will use it (Mitchell 1999). Additionally, because TRM-COVOR is based in purpose, it will provide outputs that are characteristically descriptive, prescriptive, and predictive allowing for multiple methods of result distribution, such as maps, tables, and charts. When coupled with a validity assessment, COVOR GIS allows for quickly changing methods helpful for comparison, and an enhanced understanding of the overall investigation into the disappearance of Dylan Redwine, ultimately leading to greater levels of successful recovery of all missing children.

GIS has proven to be a vital component to successful recovery of missing children, therefore this system will pool statistical research on child abduction and child homicide—and an analysis of competing hypotheses—in order to discuss mapping basic missing child cases (MEDS), implications of statistical representations, the importance of neighborhood mapping, hybrid social media management, and detailed site specific analysis in the case of Dylan Redwine. This will set the stage for further exploration of the advancement of GIS and predictive modeling, making it clear GIS cannot provide an answer on its own, but highlighting that it can provide for an environment fostering creative thinking, organization, and efficiency.

Some Additional Reading

Mitchell, Andy. The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis: Geographic Patterns and Relationships. 1-1-1999. Redlands, California, Ingram Publisher Services.
Mitchell, Andy. The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis: Spatial Measurements and Statistics. 1-1-2005. Redlands, California, Ingram Publisher Services.
Mitchell, Andy. The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis: Modeling Suitability, Movement, and Interaction. 1-1-2012. Redlands, California, Ingram Publisher Services.

COVOR FACT #3: Strength in Refusal, Secret Codes and Name Tags

Former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt offers valuable advice on how to safeguard your children from falling victim to a predator.  Among the many words of wisdom Van Zandt has to offer he reminds children they have the right to be forceful, saying, “you can be assertive and you have the right to say ‘No’ to someone, including adults and even relatives or friends who try to take you somewhere against your will, touch you or make you feel uncomfortable in ANY WAY.” 

Van Zandt also notes that, “many parents use a special code word that only the child knows to convey a message should someone other than a parent ask a child to accompany them anywhere.”  This offers an opportunity to bond with your child, while keeping them safe.  Try watching an age appropriate spy movie with them and talk about the code afterward.  They will think it a “cool” idea, and are more likely to recall in a time of danger. 

Finally, Van Zandt mentions something parents could innocently overlook.  When you buy your child something for school, be it notebooks, lunch totes, or backpacks, remember there is a right place and a wrong place to write your son or daughters name.  Notebooks are free space, but anything they will be carrying or displaying outwardly should have the name written on the inside.  According to Van Zandt you need to, “insure your child does not have his or her name on a backpack, etc., as this would enable a potential abductor to call out to the child by name,” and could make a preventable tragedy an awful reality.

You can read the article—“How to protect kids from predators, kidnappers”—at http://www.today.com/id/33436827/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/how-protect-kids-predators-kidnappers/

COVOR your backside…Share this fact with at least one parent you know who loves their child because sharing is caring!       

COVOR FACT #1

Situational Awareness by all citizens can prevent child abductions. 

 

According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), “many child abductions are witnessed by people who do not realize that a crime is being committed.”  If you see something questionable, write it down–descriptions of people, location, license plates–because a child throwing a tantrum when a parent tries to leave the mall/playground/store, and a child being pulled away kicking and screaming by an abductor can seem very similar, and while it is an innocent situation most of the time, sometimes it is not. 

 

Therefore, it stands to reason that we should all remember, just as NCJRS says, “nothing prevents a citizen from evaluating the circumstances, intervening, and, certainly, from noting descriptions and licenses numbers.”

Introductions by Craig Byrnes

Greetings! My name is Craig Byrnes and I would like to welcome you to the Redwine Model, a Collective and Objective Voice of Reason for Dylan Redwine (COVOR). Let me take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself.

I have earned a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from the University of Houston where I also minored in International Business and Print Journalism. During my time in the journalism field I had the unique opportunity to meet and interview President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates during the lead up to the Iraq war. Since then my studies have focused on predictive analytics in the areas of nuclear counter-terrorism, criminal intelligence analysis and foreign policy analysis in a freelance capacity.

Currently, I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Intelligence Studies at American Military University. I am a contributing member of the Academy of Political Science, member of the National Military Intelligence Association, and am an International Gold Key Scholar. That said, I have designed this collective analytical effort to operationalize and fuse various analytic frameworks so as to generate a predictive model that will mitigate cognitive bias, frivolous speculation, and nonsensical character assaults, and ultimately deliver comprehensive quantifiable OSINT products containing sound and transparent analytic judgments to the search for Dylan Redwine deliverable through a custom Geographic Information System (GIS).

Situational awareness and an open-mind willing to force objective thinking are a must if Dylan Redwine is to be found. Thinking intelligently, courteously and without preconceived “ideas” allow for an altogether diverse perspective and resulting experience.

Overall, COVOR for Dylan Redwine is an opportunity at structured alternative thinking. It is difficult to imagine what the Redwine family is going through. Those of you with children know how much love you have for them, and can remember the first time you held YOUR baby, and realized how beautiful life is. So, let’s thoughtfully and objectively help in the search for Dylan.

Together all things are possible. . .

Craig Byrnes

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