Posted On Monday, June 25, 2012 at 09:01:25 AM
Being net savvy and on social media networks is how one stays in touch with friends and families these days, but for runaways, that’s how the police connected with them. In the last six months, over a dozen cases including runaway teens and adults have been reunited with their families after the police tracked them because of their cyber habits.
|Pune police’s cyber crime cell
For example, six months ago when two girls from Chennai aged 15 and 17 ran away from home and could not be traced, a Chennai police team came to Pune and informed them that the girls were computer savvy.
The police team studied the hard discs of their computers and learned that they were in contact with a man from Punjab. When police traced the address of the man, they found the girls there and brought them home.
But sometimes police teams don’t have to go through the missing person’s computers for clues. In a case three months ago, a 25-year-old married woman from Sahkarnagar left home after a fight with her in-laws. She changed her cellphone number and became untraceable.
Aggrieved family members approached the city police who realised she had still been checking her emails regularly. She had also posted something on her social media page indirectly stating that she wanted a job.
Cyber crime officials sent her an email stating that an interview was scheduled at a hotel located on M G Road. When she came to the hotel, she found her family members there.
This is how the city’s cyber crime branch solves missing persons’ complaints, if the missing person accesses their email or social networking sites. A team including Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber, Economics) Sanjay Shinde, Police Inspector Sangeeta Alphonso-Shinde and Assistant Inspector Sanjay Tungar solve such missing persons’ cases.
Two months ago, a woman from Nairobi was supposed to reach Mumbai and then head to Pune, but went missing after landing in Mumbai.
The woman, who continued to log into her social networking website did not disclose her location herself, but police traced her IP address to Kashi. She had apparently heard of Kashi and wanted to commit suicide there. Cyber crime officials traced and counselled her.
PI Sangeeta Alphonso-Shinde said their team is armed with up-to-date software and contact monitoring systems primarily allowing them to nab criminals, but this technology also comes in handy to trace and unite families.
“Youngsters use computers and surf social networking sites. They continue to do so even if they run away from home after having quarrels with their parents or guardians,” she added.
It is also helpful that while running away from home, most youngsters carry their cellphones or laptops and continue to surf the internet and interact on social networking sites.
This provides ample opportunity for policemen to trace them with the help of Internet Protocol (IP) address or IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers.