Sgt. Craig Griffis, a Criminal Investigator for the Taylor County Sheriff's Department, says he's no stranger to the web site and what can be done on it. "We've monitored Craigslist for criminal activity for stolen property taken in burglaries, we've also monitored it for any child exploitation."
He says that a web site, like Craigslist, can be a good thing, but it also has the potential to be exploited. "Craigslist does have its legitimate applications but it has the ability to be taken over by a criminal element for bad things."
By clicking on the Abilene link on the site, you can find a genre labeled erotic. Then the web page cautions you about what you are about to view. Beyond that point, you can browse through ads placed by people looking for something more.
"There are code words that they will use in their postings that will allow you to determine whether or not this is a legitimate posting," says Sgt. Griffis. He adds that some of the links may not even be for what they advertise. "Some of this stuff is actually advertisements for commercial businesses, such as, for sex-talk numbers and things like that."
So I called one of the numbers to investigate, and shortly after I identified myself and heard what I was calling about, they hung up. I called again, but they chose not to talk to me.
With ads like this, Sgt. Griffis says the Sheriff's Department is always monitoring and concerned with what the site is being used for. "It's always a concern when there is anything out there that gives the criminal element to do their business easier."
Additionally, he explains that some of the personal ads are sometimes listed by people who do not live in or around Abilene, but rather may be trying to set something up for when they pass through town. So Sgt. Griffis cautions parents and other web users to be aware of what you are getting into, saying he could be more than it appears.