SPEAKER OF THE WEEK
This week's speaker was DA Jon Blodgett. Jon recognized the importance of service organizations, such as Rotary, in the community. He spoke to us about the problems of heroin use and about cyber crime.
Heroin is still a major problem. It is a danger to young people and the family unit, and to future generations to come. He is working to raise awareness of the heroin problem. In 2013, there were 66 heroin deaths reported....in 2014, 145 deaths. From January 1st -February 28th of this year, 32 people have already died from a heroin overdose. There is a ripple effect in the families from these deaths, affecting not only the addict, but other family members as well.
Jon next spoke about the influx and increase of cyber crimes. Cell phones can be very dangerous regarding these types of crimes. There are three prominent types of cyber crimes - financial trickery, harassment, and violence/sexual assault.
Financial trickery is devastating to the senders of funds that are scammed of their life savings. A man in Methuen received an email that looked like a law enforcement agency was informing him that is grandson was in jail for drug trafficking. The bail was $25K. The man wired the money to the entity. He received a call saying that they also found a gun in the grandson's card, and they wanted him to send another $20K. He sent that as well. He received another call requesting more money, but the teller at the bank caught on to the scam, and refused him any more withdrawals. The man had sent about $65K out of his $85K life savings. The IP address of the thief was tracked to Pennsylvania, then to California, where he was eventually arrested! So, if you get a solicitation that is questionable, call the police. They can help!
Harassment is another way people are damaged by cyber crime. A couple in Andover was harassed by one of their neighbors. The neighbor filed false claims of child abuse against the couple, and also used their telephone number to falsely advertise "free golf cards" and the sale of a Harley Davidson. After 6 months of being harassed, the couple was on the brink of emotional breakdown. Again, the IP address of the aggressor was used to solve the case. The individual got committed jail time for his actions. He appealed the case, but the conviction was upheld in State court.
Cyber violence/sexual assault is when young people are groomed for crimes of sexual violence. A person of interest described as a "15 year old boy" was talking to a 14 year old girl in North Andover over the internet. When the girl went to meet "the boy", it turned out he was a grown man. The man had groomed the young lady learning everything about her. The police set up a sting with an undercover detective to try to catch the man. The man ran upon being caught, which led to a 100 mile an hour chase. When they finally caught him, they found a tarp, video camera, knives, and handcuffs in his trunk.
These are the successful cases, unfortunately, there have been many that were not successful. It is important that parents and those in the community work with schools, and are careful with all phone use. Also, talk to your kids regularly!
NEXT WEEK'S SPEAKER
The speaker for next week, March 10th will be Mike Stare from Spectrum Fitness.
- March 17th - Randy Burba will speak about his service trip
- March 24th - Linda Saris from LEAP for Education
- March 31st - Alyse Barbash from Haven for Hunger
- In the spring, the Mayor will make her yearly visit to update us on what is happening in the City.
- May 12th - Scholarship awards will be held at the PEM, East India Room