Predator Panic turns police investigations upside down

When I was taking criminal investigation classes in college, students were taught typical investigations begin with looking at the most likely suspects and work your way outwards. Perhaps times have changed in the 20 years since I took my last criminal justice class; Braxton and Bri’ya Williams are missing in Jacksonville, FL and both local police and the media (particularly News 4 Jax) have devoted (read: wasted) valuable time and resources by focusing on the thirty registered persons living within a two-mile radius of the Williams family home. Meanwhile, unfavorable weather has interfered with searches to find the missing children in the surrounding areas. Time is of the essence, and people who could have been better used elsewhere have been assigned to harass registered persons in the area.

This is not a recent phenomenon, either. When Aliahna Lemmon was murdered in 2011, the focus was more on the fact the girl lived in a trailer park where 15 registered persons resided than on the person who murdered Aliahna. Among those registrants was Aliahna’s father, who was dying of cancer. (Apparently, his offense did not involve Aliahna in anyway.) The mugshot of Aliahna’s father was also plastered in many news stories about the murder despite having no connection to the murder other than being related to the child. Aliahna’s killer had no prior sex offense record but a history of physical assault, and there is not a national public registry for people who physically attack others.

Many crimes against children in general occur at home by someone the child knows, and rarely does this person have a prior record of crimes against children. Aliahna was killed by a trusted friend of the family, not by her father who was listed on the public registry and not by the 15 or so registered persons living in the trailer park.

As noted by the NISMART studies on missing children, stranger abductions are extremely rare; The NISMART-1 (1990) estimated 115 stereotypical kidnappings while the NISMART-3 (2011) estimated 105 stereotypical kidnappings. Perhaps more importantly, only 50 of the stereotypical kidnappings in the NISMART-1 and 63 of the estimated stereotypical kidnappings in the NISMART-3 involved “sexual assault or exploitation.” Of the total kidnapped, 45 in NISMART-1 and 8 in NISMART-2 were permanently missing or found dead. While each death is indeed a tragedy, it is an extremely rare tragedy, as there are over 71 million children in America. Experts estimate roughly 500 children are murdered annually by their own parents. The chances of a child dying by self-inflicted gunshot wounds (73 under age 12 accidentally killed themselves with guns in 2018) or choking to death on hot dogs (77 children in 2010) are still higher than the chances of being “stereotypically” kidnapped by a stranger for sexual purposes.

So why is the Jacksonville police wasting time on area registrants? The simple answer is found in two words – Predator Panic. It gives people a false sense of security whenever the police conduct these sweeps. They might arrest a registrant or two for not properly turning in all intrusive identification requirements or forsome petty criminal act like smoking a joint or missing a counseling appointment while on paper, then these police agents might hold a press conference proclaiming they are “making the streets safer.” Eventually, they may even crack the case of the missing children. While “stereotypical kidnappings” as America believes it to be does indeed exist, betting on the conclusion of this case will be found in the residence of an area registrant would be like betting on a 3 legged donkey winning the Kentucky Derby or the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl.

While it may seem unfair to those who lose their loved ones to be questioned for potential wrongdoing by police, criminal investigations have always began with the most likely suspects. Investigating those closest to the child to eliminate them as potential suspects have always been the place to start in the past, but Predator Panic has turned this tried-and-form of investigation on its head.

Police often do not divulge every shred of information in criminal investigations because in high-profile cases like the Williams kidnappings, police are bombarded with false leads. Social media posts are flooded with armchair investigators peddling ideas they’ve learned mostly from trash TV shows like Law and Order SVU. While police generally ignore junk like “physic investigators,” the police have been sold on the equally useless public registry, and have wasted time and energy on dead ends. In all of my years covering Predator Panic, I have yet to see a case closed by conducting an area sweep of registered persons following a missing child case; if had ever happened, the media would have covered it and registry proponents would be using this anecdotal example to justify these investigation sweeps.

News 4 Jax retracted a statement from their so-called “Crime and Safety Expert” Ken Jefferson for erroneously stating a 90% re-offense rate. If only the media (and law enforcement) could retract their entire focus on registered persons having nothing to do with the missing children and divert the limited resources on actual police work.

Derek W. Logue of

9 comments for “Predator Panic turns police investigations upside down

  1. Thomas Darby
    December 18, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Great article. Now if the LE people would listen… and ignore the falsely-panicked know-nothings, but instead do “good police work,” then maybe that would be a start to ending the pogroms of RC’s endorsed by talking heads, political hacks and other ignorant sorts.

    I must ask, since it isn’t defined, what is NISMART?

    And it’s “Psychic,” not “Physic.” Lol.

    • December 21, 2019 at 9:36 am

      I know how it is spelled, sometimes when people type fast sometimes the letters aren’t pressed hard enough.

      • Kayt
        December 23, 2019 at 3:46 pm

        Re: typing I do that all the time! I understand, exactly! And, not only that, I wish spell check would mind it’s own business!

  2. Tim in WI
    December 20, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    The nation’s investment in the database driven infrastructure has given LEO an unconstitutional advantage that could only be used to impose affirmative restraint of liberty. As we see in Michigan, the people’s house is stuck hard against the electronic domestic surveillance saints and their benevolent economy. Community Policing (See OMNIBUS: 68- 94) could not have been promulgated without the electronic infrastructure in place and in every state of the union. All had to be convinced of the potential benefits first, Byrne Grants made the obscured plain indenture more palatable. The sexual oriented offender made the ideal scapegoat for big brothers advance.

  3. December 23, 2019 at 6:52 am

    NISMART or the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Throwaway Children, was a research project supported by the United States Department of Justice. It was enacted to address the 1984 Missing Children’s Assistance Act (Pub.L. 98-473). This required the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to conduct periodic national incidence studies to determine the actual number of children reported missing and the number recovered.

  4. LJ77
    December 23, 2019 at 8:49 am

    We live in a time where even the President of our Country is not immune to illegal investigations or being the scapegoat for the political elite. When you compare that to our battle against illegal and criminal acts of Congress passing these unconstitutional laws like SORNA and pushing them upon each state, what chance do we have of ever getting our rights reinstated? Well maybe this is exactly that time. Maybe because the American people are right now questioning their representatives and the FBI, this may be the only time we have a chance to bring our plights to the forefront. Imagine if we all served our local city, county, state and the federal government COL violations for stripping is of our rights based on falsified information and creating fear to subjugate us which is the definition of domestic terrorism. There are hundreds here at Sosen and approaching 1 million of us on the registry nationwide. If we all filed against these atrocities they would have to hear us. How would that affect the political stage? If all the current and past congressional representatives who supported and signed these laws were suddenly under investigation under threat of arrest for violating citizens rights we would have the attention of the populous as well. We have for so long watched one small fight by one individual at a time through litigation. Some we win, some we lose while we still suffer under illegal laws. We need a bigger stage and all of us United to stand up and start pushing back the tides of this war. Make no mistake we are fighting a war. A war for human rights. We can do more so we can finally have a one and done win to settle this once and for all.

    • December 31, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Trump is under a legal investigation because he has committed multiple actions that would have us all locked up by now if it was anyone but him being protected by his Republican cronies. There is no comparison between Trump getting investigated for flagrantly abusing his office and registrants being harassed by the police based upon status alone. But Trump won’t be held accountable because Republican politicians got his back. Who the hell do we have?

      • Tim
        January 5, 2020 at 11:03 pm

        To be sure both D&Rs are capitulating to the big data firms and their donor dollars. The Don has be subjected to scrutiny about those behind his unexpected election. No path to victory turned out to be wrong and very wrong at that. The Don could not care less about improving conditions for registrants. His venture into criminal justice reform was mostly a matter of appearing interested. He played to the left, hedging some future votes on his direction. Much has been made about his attack upon the deep state cronies but he in my opinion does it to attack the union’s involvement by discrediting their intent as purely partisan. At this point the D&Rs are in a stalemate, just like the state of Michigan. The database, and control of the machines use is the gorilla in the background. Data collection & storage for tracking individual citizens was approved for the sex offender first, the rest naturally followed soon after. Both parties will continue to gain every advantaged possible over the other to win seats in gov. This will include the expansion of electronic gov blacklists.

  5. Tim in WI
    January 11, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Effective law enforcement would not be permitted to interview registrants not already connected to crimes as there would be too many bootless exercises involved. I cannot imagine the number of hours spent and wasted using SOR databases in the Tippits and Closs cases. The courts reject “suspect class” pleas in constitutional challenges as unfounded, yet LEO’s behavior suggests otherwise when the scope and variety information data requests outpaces proven modus via conviction for committing “strict liability” offenses. Strict liability sex crimes specifically limit the necessity and availability of men’s rea defense. That is what the people get for electing former prosecutors. Fact is prosecutors do not necessarily need valid evidence to gain conviction. See DNA exoneration.

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