Sadly, Craigslist has become a cesspool of crime.
The AIM Group has just completed a research project for Oodle, a Craigslist competitor, cataloging crimes that have been linked to Craigslist. And the results surprised even us.
We counted 20 killings linked to Craigslist during the past three-and-a-half years – 12 of them during the past year. Four of those were women whose bodies were found in December on Gilgo Beach near New York City. They’re believed to be victims of a serial killer who preyed on prostitutes who used Craigslist.
The report covers 74 robberies during the past year, and 31 assaults. All of the crimes were committed in the United States and reported by police and news media.
To be fair, Craigslist as an entity can’t be blamed for the things that happen among its users. It’s merely a facilitator of commerce, after all. And we understand thousands or even tens of thousands of transactions happen safely between Craigslist aficionados. Long before Craigslist, even, robberies were linked to newspaper classifieds from time to time.
But that’s no longer an excuse that Craigslist can hide behind.
It’s not enough for the company to say it has eliminated “escort” and “adult” services ads – euphemisms for prostitution ads. And that it posts warnings on the categories like rentals and personals and … (OK, we could go on and on) … that are susceptible to crime, fraud and abuse.
The unfortunate fact is that Craigslist has become almost synonymous with crime.
There’s even a website, http://craigscrimelist.org, that follows crimes associated with Craigslist and some of the similar sites like Backpage.com that offer anonymous and frequently dangerous free classifieds.
The report’s free — click here to download it.