Fifteen years ago, Joel Caplan, then 17, of Northfield, was the first minor to register a business in New Jersey.

He had started his computer consulting service the year before and had to fight for the right to register it in his own name.

He’s 33 now and the father of two daughters, Oriellah, 4, and Shailee, 2. He’s not in the computer business anymore.

Caplan is an assistant professor at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice and the associate director of the Rutgers Center on Public Security, both in Newark.

His research has resulted in a new crime tool called risk terrain modeling, Caplan said. Public safety officials around the world use it to predict where crime is most likely to occur based on complex variables, not just on where crimes have happened in the past, he said.

Caplan commutes from Egg Harbor Township so wife Oranit can be close to her job as program director at the Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage of Stockton in Woodbine.

Somehow, he has found the time to write two children’s books, including the rhymed “Strangers Can Hurt.”

“I realized there wasn’t a book I liked for toddlers that taught them about strangers in a way that didn’t make parents feel like hypocrites,” he said, because his kids see him talk to strangers such as cashiers at the store all the time.

It can be downloaded free on his website at

He wrote “My Fantastic Awesome Funny Fun Day at School” to encourage his daughters to talk about their time in preschool, he said.

Community College Spirit Award

Atlantic Cape Community College Executive Director of College Relations Kathleen Corbalis received the 2013 Community College Spirit Award from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges last week.

Corbalis, of Mays Landing, was recognized for her work to gain support for the $750 million Building Our Future Bond Act, which will provide $200 million for construction at the state’s 19 community colleges, and at public and private four-year colleges and universities.