We Can’t Agree on Basic Facts When Discussing Crime

Observations How to communicate effectively when people can’t agree on basic facts. Media and public relations are best served when we acknowledge that people hold beliefs that we may consider wrong or unsupportable, but insulting or disregarding those opinions causes people to entrench. When they do, they are no longer listening. Respect for the beliefs […]

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Observations How to communicate effectively when people can’t agree on basic facts. Media and public relations are best served when we acknowledge that people hold beliefs that we may consider wrong or unsupportable, but insulting or disregarding those opinions causes people to entrench. When they do, they are no longer listening. Respect for the beliefs […]

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from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

"Two Stage" BMW Theft Attempt

Modern cars have alarm systems that automatically connect to a remote call center. This makes cars harder to steal, since tripping the alarm causes a quick response. This article describes a theft attempt that tried to neutralize that security system. In the first attack, the thieves just disabled the alarm system and then left. If the owner had not immediately…

Modern cars have alarm systems that automatically connect to a remote call center. This makes cars harder to steal, since tripping the alarm causes a quick response. This article describes a theft attempt that tried to neutralize that security system. In the first attack, the thieves just disabled the alarm system and then left. If the owner had not immediately repaired the car, the thieves would have returned the next night and -- no longer working under time pressure -- stolen the car.

from https://www.schneier.com/blog/

The Public Is Responsible for Crime-Not Cops

Observations Cops take the heat for rising crime, but that emphasis is misplaced. It’s communities that control crime. This is criminology 101. But if you want to see the power of law enforcement, remove them or criticize them to the point of inaction and see what happens. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior […]

The post The Public Is Responsible for Crime-Not Cops appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

Observations Cops take the heat for rising crime, but that emphasis is misplaced. It’s communities that control crime. This is criminology 101. But if you want to see the power of law enforcement, remove them or criticize them to the point of inaction and see what happens. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior […]

The post The Public Is Responsible for Crime-Not Cops appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Mayor, Ex-Police Boss Spar Over Chicago’s Crime Woes

Ex-Superintendent Garry McCarthy is running for mayor against Rahm Emanuel, who fired him in 2015. McCarthy says Emanuel has “created a political environment that is emboldening criminals while hamstringing the police.” Emanuel replied that McCarthy was whistling a different tune five years ago.

Mayoral candidate and former Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Monday he’ll tackle the city’s crime woes largely by removing politics from the police department, charging that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has meddled far too often in the city’s policing strategies, reports the city’s Tribune. McCarthy made the remarks as he rolled out his campaign’s crime reduction policy outside the police department’s Bronzeville headquarters, where he criticized Emanuel for increased homicide numbers since the mayor fired him as the city’s top cop in December 2015. If elected in the February 2019 election, McCarthy pledged to run a policing strategy guided by “fundamental fairness” with better community relations, improved public trust and less interference from City Hall. “This administration has created a political environment that is emboldening criminals while hamstringing the police. The results have been disastrous, and we have to reverse that trend,” McCarthy said.

During a simultaneous news conference, Emanuel defended his handling of the Police Department and accused McCarthy of holding a different opinion of his leadership style when the two worked together. Emanuel fired McCarthy amid the fallout of the 2015 release of the Laquan McDonald police shooting video, which led to weeks of street demonstrations, accusations of a cover-up and calls for Emanuel’s resignation. “That was then and this is now,” Emanuel said. “You should ask him what changed.” McCarthy said he believes one of the reasons Emanuel fired him was because he resisted the mayor’s attempt to micromanage the department. Today, he said, “Policies are being driven by City Hall, and quite frankly, they’re not the experts that need to be doing that.” The duel of words played out as Chicago violence was again the subject of national attention after a weekend during which 12 were shot dead and another 63 were wounded.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Baltimore Crime And American Policing

Background USA Today offered an analysis addressing why Baltimore has become America’s deadliest city. Their article examined police “disengagement” as an explanation for the profound rise of violence in Baltimore. By disengagement, they mean a lack of proactive, self-initiated policing. There are additional reports responding to the USA Today article harshly critical of cops. The […]

The post Baltimore Crime And American Policing appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

Background USA Today offered an analysis addressing why Baltimore has become America’s deadliest city. Their article examined police “disengagement” as an explanation for the profound rise of violence in Baltimore. By disengagement, they mean a lack of proactive, self-initiated policing. There are additional reports responding to the USA Today article harshly critical of cops. The […]

The post Baltimore Crime And American Policing appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

On Financial Fraud

There are some good lessons in this article on financial fraud: That’s how we got it so wrong. We were looking for incidental breaches of technical regulations, not systematic crime. And the thing is, that’s normal. The nature of fraud is that it works outside your field of vision, subverting the normal checks and balances so that the world changes…

There are some good lessons in this article on financial fraud:

That's how we got it so wrong. We were looking for incidental breaches of technical regulations, not systematic crime. And the thing is, that's normal. The nature of fraud is that it works outside your field of vision, subverting the normal checks and balances so that the world changes while the picture stays the same. People in financial markets have been missing the wood for the trees for as long as there have been markets.

[..]

Trust -- particularly between complete strangers, with no interactions beside relatively anonymous market transactions -- is the basis of the modern industrial economy. And the story of the development of the modern economy is in large part the story of the invention and improvement of technologies and institutions for managing that trust.

And as industrial society develops, it becomes easier to be a victim. In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith described how prosperity derived from the division of labour -- the 18 distinct operations that went into the manufacture of a pin, for example. While this was going on, the modern world also saw a growing division of trust. The more a society benefits from the division of labour in checking up on things, the further you can go into a con game before you realise that you're in one.

[...]

Libor teaches us a valuable lesson about commercial fraud -- that unlike other crimes, it has a problem of denial as well as one of detection. There are very few other criminal acts where the victim not only consents to the criminal act, but voluntarily transfers the money or valuable goods to the criminal. And the hierarchies, status distinctions and networks that make up a modern economy also create powerful psychological barriers against seeing fraud when it is happening. White-collar crime is partly defined by the kind of person who commits it: a person of high status in the community, the kind of person who is always given the benefit of the doubt.

[...]

Fraudsters don't play on moral weaknesses, greed or fear; they play on weaknesses in the system of checks and balances -- the audit processes that are meant to supplement an overall environment of trust. One point that comes up again and again when looking at famous and large-scale frauds is that, in many cases, everything could have been brought to a halt at a very early stage if anyone had taken care to confirm all the facts. But nobody does confirm all the facts. There are just too bloody many of them. Even after the financial rubble has settled and the arrests been made, this is a huge problem.

from https://www.schneier.com/blog/

Riding a Mandate, Mexican Prez Vows Crime Crackdown

After winning the Mexican presidency in a landslide, Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to leverage his strong political mandate to tackle the rampant violence that has ravaged the country for more than a decade. He faces a daunting task.

Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to leverage his strong political mandate to tackle the rampant violence ravaging the country, reports the Wall Street Journal. López Obrador intends to take personal command of Mexico’s security strategy, rein in errant state governors and eradicate the corruption that fuels violence, said Alfonso Durazo, a veteran politician who the president-elect has chosen to head a new Public Security Ministry after the Dec. 1 inauguration. They are taking on a daunting challenge. Violence exploded in Mexico after 2006, when the government declared war on powerful drug cartels that control swaths of the nation’s territory. In 2017, there were close to 30,000 homicides, the most since modern records began in 1997.

Polls identified the rise in violence and corruption as being among the main reasons that more than 53% of Mexican voters cast their ballots on July 1 for López Obrador. The overwhelming victory gives him the political capital to exact cooperation from Mexico’s governors, Durazo said. “We have exceptional conditions, and we are betting on that,” he said. The lack of policy details, however, has rendered some experts skeptical. López Obrador has said he would create a National Guard as the main weapon to fight crime, but has offered no specifics on the plan. Beginning next month, Durazo is set to coordinate a series of seminars in different parts of the country to discuss security policy. Meanwhile, violence continues to rise, with 18% more homicides in the first half of 2018 than in the same period last year. And in the past, changes of administration at the state and municipal levels have often led to spikes in criminal violence as links sever between corrupt officials and criminal organizations.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Homeless ‘Need Protection’ from Crime: Advocates

Concerns about security at New York City hotels used to shelter homeless families are rising after a report documents criminal activity at more than half the hotels last year. The city now houses more than 30 percent of the nation’s homeless families.

A rise in crime in New York City hotels over the past three years has had an unexpected victim: the city’s homeless population.

Crime in New York hotels and motels has increased by almost 20 percent since 2015, according to statistics compiled by STR, Inc., an industry research group, using New York Police Department (NYPD) data, the New York Post reported last week.

This surge comes despite a significant decline in the citywide crime rate in recent years.

While law enforcement officials and industry experts are unsure of the cause, the increase coincides with data showing a disturbing pattern of arrests in hotels that the city has been using to house homeless families since 2014.

In interviews with The Crime Report, homeless advocates say the figures suggest a lack of security at those hotels which has put an already-vulnerable—and growing─population at risk.

“We know that there are a lot of people who do prey on vulnerable homeless folks,” Megan Hustings, director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, told The Crime Report. “And when you start to talk about Skid Row, the issue of drug use and drug peddlers always comes up.”

Although homelessness rates have eased across the US, the number of homeless has increased in New York: the city now holds an estimated 30 percent of the country’s homeless families.

According to a report issued by the New York’s Department of Investigation (DOI) found that since January 2017, criminal activity has been recorded at 34 of the 57 hotels used by the city to house homeless families with children.

New York is among only three places in the country, the others being Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., with a “right to shelter,” or a legal obligation to house homeless people. The right was established by a 1979 New York State Supreme Court ruling that compels the city to provide shelter to all New Yorkers who are homeless by “reason of physical, mental, or social dysfunction.”

The high homeless population in New York─roughly 76,000 people─makes this a challenge. The law does not specify exactly what form shelter must take and, particularly when demand is high, crowding can force people into spaces that are uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe.

New York City’s homeless population increased by 115 percent between 1994 and 2016. Since the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) began using hotel vouchers in 2014 to address the resulting strain on the city’s shelters, some 11,000 people are now housed in hotels around the city, from the Bronx Super 8 Hotel to the Manhattan in Times Square.

According to DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn, the NYPD Management Team at DHS oversees and manages shelter security citywide, including overseeing the 24/7 contracted shelter security at commercial hotel locations. As part of that oversight and management, NYPD reviews security at all new locations.

According to the DOI report, incidents recorded at the hotels used to shelter homeless included 59 prostitution and sex trafficking-related arrests, 34 assault-related arrests and 112 arrests related to the sale or use of drugs.

Overall, the number of hotel crimes reported annually rose to 2,656 in 2017, compared to 2,223 in 2015. Felony assaults, third-degree assaults, and second-degree harassment all exhibited particularly dramatic spikes of 51.9 percent, 38 percent, and 62.7 percent, respectively. Grand larceny was the most commonly reported crime, with 531 reported incidents, which marks a 12 percent increase since 2015. (The research group’s analysis on hotel crime did not provide details on locations.)

But the DOI report on arrests in hotels where homeless are housed suggest growing levels of insecurity for an already vulnerable class of people.

Homeless individuals currently being housed in hotels told New York Times reporters, for instance, of being propositioned to work as prostitutes.

It is unclear whether the criminal activity uncovered by the DOI preceded the placement of homeless individuals in the hotels, or whether criminal actors are drawn to locations which house the homeless.

Hustings of the National Coalition for the Homeless made clear that homelessness itself does not correlate with crime or violence in the areas where it is prevalent, citing a study by the Guardian focused on Seattle and Portland that uncovered no link between the homeless and crime rates in those cities.

Although Massachusetts and D.C. also use hotel vouchers when faced with crowding in shelters, both cities have significantly smaller homeless populations than New York, and Hustings said he was unaware of similar security issues in those places.

McGinn confirmed that DHS has no evidence indicating that any of its clients have participated in any illicit activity at these locations.

City investigators found that prior to the release of their report, the DHS did not consider criminal activity when evaluating the suitability of commercial hotels for housing homeless families, focusing instead on location, rates, number of available units, and the outcome of a site inspection.

The DOI recommended that safety should be included in the DHS’s assessment of prospective hotels, and that in the cases of hotels that might harbor criminal activity, the department should either withdraw its clients from the hotel entirely or occupy the entire facility to ensure that rooms are not used for criminal activities.

The January report claims that the DHS has accepted these recommendations and is working to solve the problem. McGinn confirmed that city officials took immediate action to relocate clients or occupy locations entirely following the report’s release.

McGinn told The Crime Report that after the DOI investigation, the NYPD enhanced its vetting procedures to perform vetting in the same way the NYPD Vice Unit does, including evaluating complaints, previous arrests, and any existing cases related to the location.

“We continue to work closely with our NYPD partners to protect the safety of all homeless New Yorkers, including providing 24/7 dedicated security at commercial hotel locations,” he said.

McGinn called commercial hotels “bridges” to be utilized while DHS phases out the use of all cluster sites and commercial hotels citywide and replaces them with a smaller number of high-quality borough-based facilities.

“Until we are able to fully implement our plan, and since the city is under court order to provide shelter under emergency circumstances at all times, there will be some cases in which we need to provide emergency shelter and place families and individuals in hotels if we have reached capacity,” he said.

This phase-out will take time. Despite the issues raised by the DOI, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio formalized the hotel voucher practice into three-year contracts costing nearly $1.1 billion in total this March.

While Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) told the Post that “we should under no circumstances place families and children in situations where their safety is compromised,” he added that “unfortunately, with the shelter census being so high and the vacancy rate in shelters so low, we continue to rely on hotels, which are often not providing the level of security and wraparound services that families deserve.”

Shelters are not always a safer option for the city’s homeless, however.

The General Welfare Committee, of which Levin is the chair, will hold an oversight hearing later this month to investigate how DHS contracts are granted, including examining safety within hotels used by the DHS and allegations of abuse and violence inside homeless shelters around the city. The investigation was prompted in part by a video recently released by the Daily News that captures several guards beating and kicking a resident of a Brooklyn shelter.

In a statement on June 1, Levin confirmed that since 2015, shelter residents or staff have filed a combined 21 lawsuits against FJC Security Services and Sera, two security firms contracted by shelters, for violent incidents.

“Our communities deserve high quality shelter care and services,” said Levin, “and yet it is incidents like this that have made some New Yorkers concerned about entering a shelter, choosing instead to sleep on the street.”

Elena Schwartz is a TCR news intern. She welcomes readers’ comments.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Navajo Justice Officials: Funding Shortages Worsen Public Safety Crisis

Covering an area of about 27,000 square miles, the Navajo Nation is the largest Native American territory in the US, yet its legal infrastructure is severely understaffed and underfunded, according to senior tribal law enforcement officials, speaking on the “Native America Calling” podcast.

Covering an area of about 27,000 square miles, the Navajo Nation is the largest Native American territory in the US, spanning Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Yet its legal infrastructure is severely understaffed and underfunded.

In an exploration of tribal justice issues, leading Navajo justice officials said on the podcast Native America Calling that the lack of sufficient resources for law enforcement infrastructure was intensifying the “public safety crisis” facing Navajo people.

With less than 200 police officers to cover a territory bigger than many states, Navajo Police Chief Phillip Francisco said that despite some increases in funding, more than twice that number was needed to provide a suitable amount of protection.

“We’re trying to rebuild and hire more officers,” said Francisco. “We’ve established our own police academy, (and) we’re the only Indian law enforcement agency that has that.”

But he said the sheer distance between police districts, combined with staff shortages, meant that it could take up to an hour and a half to respond to some calls.

“When we get there a lot of the evidence is gone, or the suspects are gone, so we have to do a lot of follow ups.”

Data consistently show that tribal nations suffer among the nation’s highest crime rates. According to FBI statistics, the Navajo Nation has a violent crime rate higher than most major US cities.

Francisco said the tribal police communication infrastructure is a major issue as well.

“We don’t get 911 data, so we can’t locate where people are calling from,” he said “Sometimes people call but they can’t get through our dispatch center, so crime is probably underreported because people can’t get through to the police department.”

Because the Navajo Nation has so few officers, sometimes there are only two officers on shift at a time.

“If two officers are on a domestic violence call, you don’t have anyone else, so we have to wait until we have someone else to respond (to other calls coming in),” said Francisco.

Ethel Branch, Attorney General of the Navajo Nation, said 40 percent of Navajo territory is in a “cell dead zone.”

“That makes it difficult for people to call for help when they need it,” he said. “60 percent is without two-way radio coverage, which is how officers communicate and respond.”

Describing the direness of the situation, Branch said, “Our homicide rates, which I find very alarming, are consistently meeting or exceeding high national homicide rates.”

Branch thinks that Congress needs to step up and ensure that Indian country citizens are getting the resources they deserve.

“Native Americans serve at the highest per capita rates in the military,” he said. “We ensure American families are kept safe, and we expect our families to be kept safe, even if we choose to live within our Indian nations.”

Branch went on to say that she thinks the Navajo Nation needs direct funding from the federal government, instead of funneling dollars through the states.

Gertrude Lee, chief prosecutor of the Navajo Nation, agreed that the Navajo Nation needs more resources, but says things have gotten better during her time there.

“We have enormous caseloads, but I’ve seen much improvement from what I walked into,” she said.”We’re doing the best to work with the resources we have available.”

Lee said that when she started, five of the nine district offices didn’t have prosecutors in them. She had seven prosecutors on her staff, but now there are 14, and a prosecutor in every office. Lee said that in 2017, her staff went to a combined 3,100 more hearings than the previous year.

Lee also noted that the office of the prosecutor received 3,000 more reports from police districts in 2017 than 2016.

“It’s testament to the Navajo police and the amazing work they have done since Francisco came on,” she said. “Having key leadership positions filled and directing resources to the type of crimes that need to be addressed has a huge impact.”

The police leaders said that despite signs improvement, the Navajo Nation is still needs more resources allocated from the Federal government.

“Federal funds haven’t been revised in 15 to 20 years, so we’re really trying to plead our case to Congress and Washington,” said Francisco. “We are critically understaffed for the area and demographics we need to police.”

See also: Justice Returns to the Navajo Nation

Dane Stallone is a TCR news intern. He welcomes readers’ comments.

from https://thecrimereport.org