A total of 101 murders have been linked to Craigslist rendezvous, according to research undertaken by the Advanced Interactive Media Group and reported by the Washington Post Monday.
According to AIM, the 100-murders mark was surpassed three weeks ago when an attempted robbery in Indiana ended with a couple's death after they had arranged via Craigslist to purchase a 22-year-old man's car, the Post reported.
"Their attitude is, ‘We’re safe, we have billions of safe transactions’ — sure they do,” said Peter Zollman, the founding principal of the AIM Group, about Craigslist, according to the Post. “But every single day, there are also rapes, robberies and murders linked to Craigslist. And that is a serious issue.”
A bulletin board created by police officials shows mug shots of Philip Markoff, the so-called "Craislist killer," who was charged in connection with the 2008 shooting death of New York City masseuse Julissa Brisman, as well as photos of evidence that police say connect Markoff to the killing. (AP/Steven Senne)
Craigslist maintains that it cannot be held responsible for any crimes or murders that result from transactions gone awry, stating that the vast majority of its buyers' and sellers' business is conducted lawfully and legitimately, the Post noted. Nevertheless, the classified advertising website has posted various safety guidelines for its users to consider — whether they are looking into buying and selling or searching for a roommate or landlord.
In order to avoid possible scams, Craigslist advises users to deal both locally and face-to-face, to never release financial or personal information and to refrain from extending payment to someone who has not been met in person. To promote the personal well-being and safety of everyone involved, Craigslist also advises its dealers to bring a friend with them for all meetings or to tell a friend or family member where they are going, to insist upon meeting in a public place — such as a parking lot, police station or cafe — and to never invite strangers into a home.
But even with all these safety suggestions — and many more — in place, investigators still urge Craigslist users to exercise all caution.
"I believe very strongly that [Craigslist] could save lives by putting a meaningful effort into safety and security measures,” Zollman told the Post. “One hundred and one people have been killed as a result of Craigslist. If efforts were made to improve the site, a lot of those wouldn’t have happened.”
(H/T: Washington Post)
Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter