The Detective: Bribery

Anomalous crime report Aug. 15 - 28, 2019


At Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime report data from multiple Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies. We have a robot on the team called the Detective that scans the LAPD data for anomalies. LAPD officers tag most crime reports in their system with MO codes, for “modus operandi,” Latin for operating method or style. The MO codes are shorthand for describing what happened in a crime incident.


Here is one recent example of what the Detective has found, aggregated by the robot’s human assistant, Kate Lý Johnston.


?On August 16, the Detective caught rare crime code 942: Bribery. And no, this doesn’t refer to USC’s latest bribery scandal.


According to publicly available LAPD data, a 30-year-old man in Hollywood was extorted through the internet after meeting a stranger on a chatroom, which sounds a little like an episode of Catfish


But despite Catfish’s 137 episodes, this is only the second reported case so far this year (there were other crimes where bribery was involved, but only two where it was listed as the main crime). Bribery cases are rarely reported — there have been only 32 reported bribery cases since 2010. This is also a first for bribery through internet chatroom, surprisingly.