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The East: Internet Site Vows to Fight Crime in Former East Bloc

Washington, 30 December 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The owner of a new Internet site devoted to fighting crime in Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union says he intends to enhance worldwide awareness and support of the battle against corruption, lawlessness and terror in the region.

Steven Slatem, an American living in Prague, told RFE/RL that he got the idea for the site called "CrimiScope" after living several years in the region and gaining first-hand insights to the kind of problems people face in regards to crime.

Says Slatem: "You may ask: 'Who cares about crime in Central and Eastern Europe? Who cares about how these people struggle in the midst of immense changes, desires, inadequacies, temptations and tragedies?' I believe that we all do ... because we are all human with both good and bad inside of us."

Slatem, who launched CrimiScope in June, says he set up the site with the intent to deliver via the Internet news about crime in Eastern Europe and the nations of the former Soviet Union.

Slatem says that crime is increasingly a problem in the region since the fall of communism. International efforts are needed, he says, to help restore and reinforce lawfulness. CrimiScope is a first step toward providing law enforcement agencies and officials, as well as ordinary citizens, with information that might help prevent or solve a crime, he adds.

Slatem says he and his web team are in regular contact with many local law enforcement agencies in the region. He says that most of the region's crime fighters find CrimiScope's news coverage informative and helpful, but adds that they are "especially eager" to read more about solutions.

As a result, Slatem says that an important feature of his site is that it provides a place where law enforcement officials and experts from other parts of the world can share their expertise with authorities from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Another important feature, says Slatem, is that CrimiScope serves as a useful database of crime information. An interested browser can quickly obtain data via a main index which includes the day's top crime news and features stories, opinion pieces, letters to the editors, and horror stories which are personal accounts of victims of crimes in the target countries.

Browsers can also look for information according to a regional index, says Slatem. One click on the desired country will bring up the most recent stories of crimes particular to that nation, and then lists of additional crimes which are organized by date and topic such as: theft, murder, corruption, rape, organized crime and drugs.

Visitors to the site can also search via the topic index and get an impressive cross-posting of murders, for example, across the entire region.

Slatem says he intends to finance his web site by donations and advertising. Those advertisers he hopes to attract are companies selling security products and services.

Currently the countries featured on the web site are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

Slatem says he hopes to establish contacts in additional countries in the region, so that every nation is covered.

"Can the world afford to continue to ignore the topic of Crime in Central and Eastern Europe? Perhaps once they catch a glimpse of the truth, the answer is no. Can the world do something today to join in the fight against crime in Central and Eastern Europe? It should be hoped that as they cultivate knowledge and explore effective pathways of influence, the answer is yes," he adds.

Visitors can view the CrimiScope site on the Internet at: