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Study Finds Craigslist is a ''Cesspool of Crime''

In a study conducted by AIM Group (for, Craigslist's rival website), researchers have linked 330 crimes, 12 murders and 105 robberies or assaults in the United States to the popular classifieds website, Craigslist.

Calling the website "a cesspool of crime," the company has cited examples of murder, rape, robberies, assault and rental scams as only some of the crimes that occur on a daily basis.

The researchers have concluded that "the old rules of 'meeting in public' and 'knowing whom you're dealing with' no longer apply." Criminals have become increasingly deceptive and crafty in order to trick their unfortunate victims.

Peter Zollman, one of the leaders behind AIM's study stated, "Anonymous classifieds can pose a serious danger to consumers and as a result Craigslist has become a ‘one-stop shop’ for criminals." 

"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," Zollman explained. "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," added Zollman.

Despite the study's claims, Craigslist has become a very reliable and successful resource for consumers looking to buy, sell or trade a multitude of products and services. Unfortunately the crimes that come about from the anonymity of the website can only be prevented with more cautious practices in which the website can hopefully educate its users about.

  • jhansonxi
    Cesspool of crime compared to what? Local newspaper? The rest of the Internet?
  • beluve
    OMG ... who didnt know this already? lol
  • ProDigit10
    They're trying to be ebay, without the ebay rating system it's just not going to work.
  • Anomalyx
    "But that’s no longer an excuse that Craigslist can hide behind," added Zollman.
    Blaming Craigslist for that stuff just put Zollman one intelligence level LOWER than the people who have been conned by a Craigslister. It's like looking at the number of murders that happen with a hammer as a weapon, and trying to hold hardware stores accountable for it. It's just idiotic.
  • Von Death
    I found a sweet deal on an apartment rental on craigslist, the woman who listed it said she was momentarily out of town, but that she would "be back soon." I was suspicious because the rent was so low, so I physically visited the apartment. It was private so I couldn't go inside, but the place existed on the correct address listed on the ad, I was completely convinced of the ads authenticity.

    Several email exchanges later I sent my application bearing personal information to the woman who posted the ad. I then got an email saying I was accepted, and that all I needed to do was send a money order to her Western Union account. At that moment I knew I'd been had (Western Union is notorious for being used by scammers, as ignorant as I was, thank God knew that), and my rage and thirst for revenge soared as I began to do everything in my power to track her down. My trail eventually died when her listed address was in a trailer park in Oregon. I called the owner, and he said she had left long ago and that also I wasn't the first to call about her.

    I do not blame craigslist, but the reason such crime exists is because craigslist is not only easy to use, but it doesn't have an accountability or user ratings system. Kind of
  • There is no effort, there is no sentience, there is no decision. If people started listing items for sale in tomsguides comments section, would tomsguides become a poormans ebay? People list things for sale there because they choose to do so. I agree entirely with what jhansonx said, whomever wrote this article is simply trying to attack or maim a specific website in anyway they can. With little doubt, for nefarious purposes. You are -just- as likely to be ripped off or harmed in some way as you are on the street or in any other website.
    Targeting craigslist benefits nobody, this reminds me of all that bullshit involving craigslist and prostitution, it's always going to be.
  • alyon
    It really is that bad. Many of the goods are stolen. I have stopped using it due to not trusting the posters. Anonymity is good for some things... but not this.
  • maestintaolius
    "In a study conducted by AIM Group (for, Craigslist's rival website)"

    That right there tells you the legitimacy of the study. It'd be like asking Steve Jobs for a review of Android and then being surprised you got a biased response.

    330 crimes? Out of how many normal transactions over what period of time? I bet, on a percentage basis, scam emails are considerably more commonplace (just based on my personal experiences). Everyone I know that's used the site has never had an issue.
  • ericburnby
    I buy & sell on Craigslist all the time. It's very fast and the best part is it's local. It's way easier to spot a deal on something in my own neighborhood than to wade through EBAY listings.

    I've also used CL to get rid of stuff I no longer wanted (like old tube TV's). Literally within 15 minutes of posting I had people willing to come by and pick stuff up.

    It's so easy to spot scammers on CL that you'd have to be an idiot to get had. If you're buying/selling then meet the other party face-to-face. Examine the item and it it's OK you make the deal. Not so hard to comprehend. Anyone who doesn't want to meet or lives in another city is a scammer.

    However, I do like to play along with the scammers and let them think I'm falling for their scam. I've sent a few "empty" parcels to addresses provided after getting my PayPal fake e-mail saying my money has been sent. And inside the parcel I put a note saying that the tracking number has also been forwarded to the police, and they should look over their shoulder. Never heard back, so don't know what happened but I bet the recipient was PISSED.
  • free_radical
    Anyone who has ever done any business on Craigslist probably knows that there is a lot fraud going on there, but it's still a great place to sell stuff quickly and hassle-free as long as certain common sense precautions are taken. I have sold tons of stuff (several motorcycles, computer hardware, furniture, electronics, among other things) on Craigslist without getting scammed/assaulted/robbed and would prefer it over Ebay any day. Ebay is more buyer-friendly than Craigslist, but it's terrible place for sellers due to Paypal "buyer protection" policies that sound like they are designed to enable scammers. A couple of years ago I made a mistake selling an expensive phone on Ebay and ended up being screwed by the seller with whom Paypal arbitrarily sided. Never again. Then there are Paypal and Ebay fees that add up to something like 15% of the final price. No thanks.