Professors present research on cyber criminals, among other topics

October 28, 2014
Pictured left to right are Ron Jacobus, Dr. Sabina Burton and Dr. Valerie Stackman.

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Two professors, a graduate student and a graduate seminar student from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville recently presented their research on human trafficking, crime mapping, cyber criminals and more at the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association Conference in Chicago, Ill. Audience members included criminal justice researchers, academics, students and practitioners from the United States and abroad.

The MCJA is a regional organization affiliated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences whose goal is to foster better communication and collaboration among criminal justice researchers, academics and practitioners within the midwestern United States and beyond.

Presenters from UW-Platteville included Dr. Sabina Burton, associate professor of criminal justice; Dr. Valerie Stackman, assistant professor of criminal justice; Ronald Jacobus III, criminal justice graduate assistant; and Capt. Eric Larsen, Kenosha Police Dept., Kenosha, Wis., a recent MSCJ alumni and Burton’s graduate seminar student. 

Burton’s three presentations, “Human Trafficking in the Midwest,” “Profiling Hackers: Who are the Cyber-Criminals?” and “Online Jihadists: How the Internet has Changed how Terrorists are Doing Business,” addressed some of the most high profile crimes of the 21st century.

“With hundreds of thousands of runaways every year in the Midwest, the pool of potential victims is immense,” said Burton. “Yet, most people don’t realize how many American girls are forced into prostitution every year. The crime of hacking now creates as much revenue as the illegal drug market.”

Burton’s presentation shed light on the diverse group of illegal hackers that attack individuals, businesses and government entities. She said the appeal of jihadist ideologies has lured in many young Americans in the last few years and the Internet allows its easy exposure to countless impressionable minds. Virtual interaction between jihadists and potential recruits leads to radicalization and to the emergence of new jihadist networks, she said.

In Stackman’s presentation, “Victimization and Negative Emotions: General Strain Theory and Implications for Prison Programming,” she discussed how the emotions of anger and despair function differently with regard to their impact on the violation of prison rules and regulations. She also discussed the need for gender-specific treatment and programming for incarcerated women, addressing their unique and complex pathways to prison and focusing on the lasting impact of victimization on women’s lives.

In Larson’s presentation, “Evaluating the Efficacy of Crime Mapping as a Law Enforcement Tool,” he discussed studies that established that certain social factors contributory to crime also displayed geographical relations. He also evaluated the success of modern crime mapping and its use as a practical tool for law enforcement, given that a foundation exists to believe that crime has geographic attributes.

In Jacobus III’s presentation, “Soft Target: U.S. Critical Infrastructure Vulnerabilities,” he discussed how America’s electric power grid and other critical infrastructures in the United States remain vulnerable to both man-made and naturally occurring threats. He also addressed the technology designed to protect the power grid and the economy, society and population that depends on it.

Contact: Dr. Sabina Burton, department of criminal justice, 608-342-1650,

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191,


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