How two American kids became big-time weapons traders - "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via; previously on arms contractors)
Police reports are more than just the facts. Ellen Collett, who left entertainment to work for the LAPD, knows one officer by his words alone. [more inside]
Enrique Metinides: In the Place of Coincidence "On Feburary 2011, Enrique Metinides will turn seventy-seven. Fifty of those years have been dedicated to what is called in Mexico “red note” photography. Sensational images of the tabloid press, images of accidents, deaths, disasters. Metinides’ images capture exquisite and compelling moments from such tragic events. His photographs a complex dynamic which both attract and repel; photographs which become engraved in our imagination through the power of the aesthetic experience." [graphic content]
IL Gov. Pat Quinn—formerly a strong supporter of capital punishment—today signed into law the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois. This comes eleven years after Gov. George Ryan—also a former supporter of capital punishment—signed a moratorium on the death penalty, commuting the sentences of 167 death row inmates to life (including ten men who had made false confessions under torture directed by police commander Jon Burge [previously here and here]). Between 1977 and 1999, Illinois executed 12 inmates, while freeing 13 innocent men from Death Row. [more inside]
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware of the operation, and is investigating. The ATF is going to have a review of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
When the sun goes down, it's time to hit the streets. Dusty is a cat burglar.
The mark strolls along a city sidewalk, fresh out of the bank, his wallet in his back pocket, blithely unaware that he's stumbled into the clutches of a practiced jug troupe. Slate's Joe Keohane mourns the dying art of picking pockets. [more inside]
The number of young people taking drugs has fallen by 30% in 15 years How the British fell out of love with drugs
Caravaggio's crimes exposed in Rome's police files: "Four hundred years after his death, Caravaggio is a 21st Century superstar among old master painters. His stark, dramatically lit, super-realistic paintings strike a modern chord - but his police record is more shocking than any modern bad boy rock star's. An exhibition of documents at Rome's State Archives throws vivid light on his tumultuous life here at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries." [
Via] [more inside]
In February 2006, a group of criminals pulled off the biggest cash heist in the history of the UK, making off with £53 million pounds. To date, only £23 million of the money has been recovered. Police are understandably upset about the dead ends in the case.
Crime maps have formally reached England and Wales, says The Spectator. Launched today, the crime map shows two mild anti-social orders for our sleepy UK villige. What's your crime level?
I'm not afraid, because if the terrorists fly over Camden they'll think they have done it already. Camden is the poster child of postindustrial decay. It stands as a warning of what huge pockets of the United States could turn into as we cement into place a permanent underclass of the unemployed. Camden is one of the most dangerous places in the United States and now the troubled city is facing another crisis as half the police force is set to be laid off.
“You know what Miami gets in their crime show? They get detectives that look like models, and they drive around in sports cars. And you know what New York gets, they get these incredibly tough prosecutors, competent cops that solve the most crazy, complicated cases. —What Baltimore gets is this reinforced notion that it's a city full of hopelessness, despair and dysfunction. There was very little effort—beyond self-serving—to highlight the great and wonderful things happening here, and to indict the whole population, the criminal justice system, the school system.” —Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, on the effect of The Wire on Baltimore’s reputation. [more inside]
William Langewiesche writes an enthralling account of the hijacking of a French cruise ship in the Gulf of Aden by Somali pirates.
digitalculturebooks is an imprint of University of Michigan Press which releases scholarly books under a creative commons license. They've got 19 books published already and more on the way. Among those on offer are poet and English professor Kevin Stein's Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age, anthropologist Bonnie A. Nardi's My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, English professor Buzz Alexander's Is William Martinez Not Our Brother?: Twenty Years of the Prison Creative Arts Project and English professor Elizabeth Carolyn Miller's Framed: The New Woman Criminal in British Culture at the Fin de Siècle. If you don't want to read a whole book they also have essay collections, such as Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina and Best Technology Writing 2008, which includes pieces by, among others, Cass Sunstein, Robin Meija and Walter Kirn. [previously, Rock Paper Shotgun scribe Jim Rossignol's This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities]
In the wake of Glenn Greenwald's post about the inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention ("For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell"), Jeralyn at the criminal justice blog Talkleft offers a detailed argument that both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and relevant case law suggest that "Bradley Manning should not be in maximum security or solitary confinement." As the Justice Department tries to build a case against Julian Assange based on his contacts with Manning, what do we really know about the 22-year-old queer intelligence analyst being held at Quantico who says he leaked the Collateral Murder video and all those diplomatic cables? [more inside]
"The signs of collusion between the criminal class and the highest political and institutional office holders are too numerous and too serious to be ignored."
Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci - who swept elections just a few days ago - is allegedly the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.
The NY Times explores the darker side of bingo.
I asked Igari to help me deal with the fallout from the book. After much discussion, he and his two colleagues came up with a plan. His parting words were: “It’ll be a long battle. It’ll take money and courage, and you’ll have to come up with those on your own. But we’ll fight.” On August 28th, his body was found in his vacation home in Manila, wrists slashed. Time of death unknown. It’s been ruled a suicide. Personally, I believe he was killed. I probably will never be able to prove it. [more inside]
The Case of the Vanishing Blonde
After a woman living in a hotel in Florida was raped, viciously beaten, and left for dead near the Everglades in 2005, the police investigation quickly went cold. But when the victim sued the Airport Regency, the hotel’s private detective, Ken Brennan, became obsessed with the case: how had the 21-year-old blonde disappeared from her room, unseen by security cameras? The author follows Brennan’s trail as the P.I. worked a chilling hunch that would lead him to other states, other crimes, and a man nobody else suspected. [printer-friendly version; behind-the-scenes video; via]
The subject of this week's This American Life, Schenectady, NY schools facilities director Steven Raucci was tried and convicted last year on arson and weapons charges after six years in which Raucci routinely exercised his power as union head, manager and close associate of the district heads to sexually harass, threaten and intimidate coworkers, including using explosives on enemies' cars and homes. Much of the district's investigative report is redacted.
A DNA test has proven that a man was executed for murder by the State of Texas on the basis of false forensic evidence. [more inside]
Ken Lay & Enron. Bernie Madoff. Bernie Ebbers & WorldCom. What is it about CEOs that makes them uniquely capable of pulling off the most audacious & expensive kind of white collar crime? Control Fraud Theory has the answer. Via the ever-enlightening Bruce Schneier.
The National Library of Medicine has put a selection of murder pamphlets from the late 1600s to the late 1800s online.
These pamphlets have been a rich source for historians of medicine, crime novelists, and cultural historians, who mine them for evidence to illuminate the history of class, gender, race, the law, the city, crime, religion and other topics. The murder pamphlets in the NLM's collection address cases connected to forensic medicine, especially cases in which doctors were accused of committing-or were the victims of-murder.[more inside]
Cocaine - how it's made, how it moves, and who might be cutting it with a deadly cattle-deworming drug, a follow up to the mystery of the tainted cocaine.
"The mist — visible only under ultraviolet light — carries DNA markers particular to the location, enabling the police to match the burglar with the place burgled. Now, a sign on the front door of the McDonald’s prominently warns potential thieves of the spray’s presence: 'You Steal, You’re Marked.'"
25 most dangerous neighborhoods 2010. Click through the maps for some more specific data.
Greater Manchester Police are posting every single incident they deal with over a 24-hour period to Twitter. Due to the high volume of incidents, they're posting them over three different Twitter accounts: one two three. [more inside]
The Chicago Tribune, which has been having a few problems of its own (previously), has a grimly fascinating continuing feature called Mugs in the News in which people’s mug shots are linked to stories describing their alleged crimes. Photos are numbered and accessed from main page (no direct links, alas). Man drunk and texting, four children in car (7). Chicago politician (5). Aggravated child pornography (9). Child molesters (17,18,22). Happy teacher (21). Ninja shoplifter (23). Bad Buddhist (113). Aggravated battery of a police officer, attempted aggravated assault of a police officer, resisting a police officer, driving under the influence of drugs, reckless driving, failing to reduce speed, improper traffic lane usage, disregarding a traffic control light and disregarding a stop sign (12). Other MetaFilter Mugshots (previously 1 2).
A team of researchers at Iowa State University has found that a murder costs more than $17.25 Million to society. [via]
In an ideal world, you’d imagine that someone who harmed more people would deserve a harsher treatment: a new paper by Loran F. Nordgren and Mary McDonnell, The Scope-Severity Paradox, suggests people find crime with fewer victims more severe than those with more victims. [PDF link] [more inside]
Why do people confess to crimes they don't commit? UVA Law Professor Brandon Garrett has been researching the contamination effect in interrogation. Modern interrogation practices are informed by the (copyrighted) Reid Technique. John R. Reid and Associates, Inc. responds to critics.
A gang of thieves dubbed "the vacuum burglars" has struck for the fifteenth time in France, drilling a hole in the pneumatic tube that siphons money from the checkout to the strong-room. They then sucked rolls of cash totalling £60,000 from the safe without even having to break its lock. A classic exploitation of a vulnerability in a system. But is it worth it to fix? via, via [more inside]
When a thief stole a backpack and a GPS unit from Amanda Enayati's car, he picked the wrong target to mess with. [more inside]
If you see someone walking towards you late at night, on a dark street, wearing a big NY on their cap, watch out. The New York times examines a link between Yankees clothing and criminal behavior. Mets fans say we told you so. Is there a link between Jay-Z, the Yankees and criminality? "Criminologists, sports marketing analysts, consumer psychologists and Yankees fans have developed their own theories, with some attributing the trend to the popularity of the caps among gangsta rappers and others wondering whether criminals are identifying with the team's aura of money, power and success."
An ABC Investigative Unit team hit the streets of western Sydney, where young people are struggling to break a vicious cycle of unemployment and family breakdown, to find out what's being done to stop them from falling through the cracks. In a great article by ABC reporters Eleanor Bell and Ed Giles, they found that the lack of resources, infrastructure and support for families in these communities is getting worse, not better but that despite this, many locals are still proud of their community.
A simple tale of the biggest bank heist in U.S. history.
Arguably, DC's first punk band was the father/son duo called White Boy. The two, Mr Ott and Jake Whipp (real names: James & Glenn Kowalski) self released their records on their own label, Doodly Squat. They are also known to be the first punk record owned by Minor Threat frontman Ian Mackaye. The full story of White Boy is much darker and hasn't been fully put together in the collective recollection of the band. [more inside]
"This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it."
This year, for the first time ever, the U.S. included itself in the State Department's annual report on human trafficking. Most Americans associate human trafficking with sexually exploited women and children, but the definition includes guest laborers who have been trapped into indentured servitude as well. "More investigations and prosecutions have taken place for sex trafficking offenses than for labor trafficking offenses, but law enforcement identified a comparatively higher number of labor trafficking victims as such cases often involve more victims.” The full report--with victim stories, "TIP Heroes," methodology, definitions, etc.--is here.
In 2009, New Orleans, Louisiana learned that it had the unwelcome distinction of once again being the murder capital of the United States according to the FBI's homicide data. New Orleans' newspaper The Times-Picayune even has a special map for keeping track of murders (with associated twitter account). [more inside]
RIP Trinity Square, Gateshead - a Brutalist car park made famous for it's appearance in the classic British crime drama Get Carter is being demolished this week.
Too many laws, too many prisoners - Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little. [previously] (via nc)
Police in Orlando, Florida, frustrated with an "epidemic" of false allegations of rape, threaten arrest for all future false reports. The problems of this Florida community reflect research that shows a disproportionately high rate of false accusations of rape relative to other crimes, though studies on the issue are far from uniform, and frequently the center of controversy. [more inside]
In jail? Post bail. No matter your crime, interest, or affiliation, there's a bail bond agent for you. Suspect in Snow White's demise? Grumpy's (video auto-starts); Mob? No prob. Goodfellas, Godfather's? Godfather's! [more inside]
The City of Oakland, California, is preparing to fire more than one quarter of it's entire police force. [more inside]
Bernie Madoff - Free At Last While incarcerated for 150 years for a $65 Billion dollar Ponzi scheme, Berine Madoff creates his own version of the events that led to his arrest and becomes a local celebrity at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex. (via metachat)