Every year, the vast majority of murders in Chicago go unsolved. The city's homicide-clearance rate of 26% (a case is cleared as soon as someone is charged) is less than half the national average. The rate for non-fatal shootings is 10%. Meaning, if you shoot someone in Chicago, you have a pretty good chance of getting away with it. Alex Kotlowitz writes here about how Chicago law enforcement's abysmal homicide-clearance rate may be contributing to violence in the city. (previously)
Badge of Dishonor: Top Oakland Police Department Officials Looked Away as East Bay Cops Sexually Exploited and Trafficked a Teenager [East Bay Express] According to a stunning set of allegations, a teenage human trafficking victim in the Bay Area was coerced into sex by at least 22 officers over a six month period. [more inside]
Between truancy and curfew laws teens can only legally be outside a few hours a day. In the US, the only country with teen curfew laws, millions have been arrested since the 90s for simply walking outside at night, with no strong evidence pointing to a reduction in crime.
The retired cops investigating unsolved murders in one of America’s most violent cities. by Christopher Pomorski [The Guardian] A former murder capital of the US, Camden, New Jersey has created its first cold case squad. Can solving old killings help restore an embattled community’s trust in law and order? [more inside]
St. Louis turns to predictive policing software: "At a time when communities are crying out for justice," Crockford told me, "I never heard anyone in one of these communities say, ‘I think police need to use more computers!’"
Everyone commits crimes. There are so many laws out there making what's relatively banal behavior criminal if looked at in that light. Apparently a longstanding legal principle tho has been the idea of a "guilty mind," which has gotten somewhat lost recently. The idea is that if you can't write a law where it's possible for a person to commit a crime without meaning to commit a crime. More in the link.
Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
An incredible story by ProPublica and The Marshall Project. What happens when police believe rape victims? What happens when they don't?
The NYPD uniform is as iconic as it is polarizing. Wearing it makes me a target for both praise and censure—neither of which I, in most cases, did anything to deserve. My character becomes a many-sided die, the cast contingent on the preconceptions and experiences of whoever is looking. With each person I encounter I wonder how it’s going to be: Am I an oaf? A hero? A pawn? A tyrant?An anonymous female NYPD officer reflects on what it's like to wear the blue.
The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty.
Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.
A Chicago detective who led one of the most shocking acts of torture ever conducted at Guantánamo Bay was responsible for implementing a disturbingly similar, years-long regime of brutality to elicit murder confessions from minority Americans. Part one. Part two. This is not the first time the Chicago police have been accused of torture.
In Serial withdrawal? Well, perhaps you can help the Toronto police out. Inspired by the success of the Serial podcast, Toronto police are tweeting out clues in the unsolved murder of Mike Pimentel.
In 1997, Smith retired from the police force. He needed a job to help cover his two daughters' college expenses, so he signed up as an investigator in the Broward County Public Defender's Office. He had little idea that he'd end up a key player in a bold experiment in criminal justice, one that aims to give tens of thousands of people who can't afford lawyers a fighting chance in a system stacked against them. It's an effort that suggests new ways for court-appointed attorneys to get at the truth, despite their insane caseloads. And a big part of it is getting former cops to police the police.
"No one knew who killed (13 year-old) Mackenzie Howard that cold February night last year — and people were terrified that the killer was still in their midst. But in the remote community of Kake, only accessible by air or boat, there was no law enforcement officer."
Psycho-Pass is a fantastic anime written by Gen Urobuchi, the man who brought us 2011's brilliant Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Even if you are not an anime fan (I'm iffy on it myself), Psycho-Pass is worth checking out. Set in a "utopian" society where psychological profiles can be analyzed remotely, police carry guns that can only fire at would-be criminals, and aptitude tests determine how to provide "the greatest number of people with the greatest amount of happiness", Psycho-Pass asks intriguing, provocative questions about the relationships between humans and computers, criminals and society, and the responsibilities we owe society, versus the responsibilities said societies owe us in turn. There is also a good deal of people shooting each other, if you're into that sort of thing.
Psycho-Pass can be watched for free, either subbed or dubbed, at Hulu (as can Madoka if "lighthearted" "fantasy" is more your cup of tea).
Psycho-Pass can be watched for free, either subbed or dubbed, at Hulu (as can Madoka if "lighthearted" "fantasy" is more your cup of tea).
"Am I safe? Is what I have, my memory of the event and your scribbled notes, enough to get this guy? Should I tweet about this?" C. D. Hermelin is mugged in broad daylight in Manhattan’s Financial District.
Nightmare in Maryville - The Kansas City Star investigates the backlash against the victims family after rape charges were brought (and dropped) against local atheletes. The pattern of victim blaming and local indiference have brought comparisons to the Steubenville, Ohio case (previously) and anger on the internet. Meanwhile the Grand Jury investigation into Steubenville has brought it's first charges against an adult involved with the cover-up.
Over the last year and a half, I have been visiting São Paulo and, especially, Rio de Janeiro, observing the process of “pacification,” by which the government attempts to peacefully enter and reestablish state control over the most violent enclaves of the city, those dominated by drug gangs called traficantes, or by syndicates of corrupt police called militias. Until 2008, when the pacification program started, the traficantes controlled roughly half of the favelas, and the militias the other half. Both still hold power in most favelas. The ultimate aim of the state government of Rio’s plan, called the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP), or Police Pacification Unit, is to drive both of these groups out and replace them by the state. (SLNYRB)
A former LAPD detective gives commentary on the 1940s LAPD simulator, L.A. Noire (previously, previously, and so)
What started as a report of a convenience store robbery near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last night has sprawled into a chaotic manhunt for the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon. The deadly pursuit, involving a policeman's murder, a carjacking, a violent chase with thrown explosives, and the death of one suspect, has resulted in Governor Deval Patrick ordering an unprecedented lockdown of the entire Boston metropolitan area as an army of law enforcement searches house by house for the remaining gunman. The Associated Press has identified the duo as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, who remains at large. Both are immigrants from wartorn Chechnya in southwestern Russia. The Guardian liveblog is good for quick updates, and Reddit's updating crowdsourced timeline of events that has often outpaced mainstream media coverage of the situation. You can also get real-time reports straight from the (Java-based) local police scanner.
When it hits you, no matter how much you expect it, it comes as a surprise — a literal shock, like a baseball bat swung hard and squarely into the small of your back. That sensation — which is actually two sharp steel barbs piercing your skin and shooting electricity into your central nervous system — is followed by the harshest, most violent charlie horse you can imagine coursing through your entire body. With the pain comes the terrifying awareness that you are completely helpless. You cannot move. You lose control of almost everything and the only place you can go is down, face first to the floor. That’s what it feels like to be hit with a Taser.
Boston taxi cab drivers, often cheated, work in a world where risk and reward are a mismatch. [more inside]
In December, the Philadelphia police department released a csv database of major crimes (murder, rape, burglary, etc) since 2006. Since then, community software developers have been mapping the data. The community involvement is hoped to spur the future release of large city data sets. [more inside]
Timeline: Christopher Dorner is a former U.S. marine and police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. He is wanted in the largest manhunt in LAPD history. Dorner is wanted for the alleged murder of a police officer and a young couple from Irvine (though evidence linking the murders to him is still largely circumstantial). During the ongoing investigation, LAPD officers have wounded various civilians in three separate cases of mistaken identity. In once incident, officers fired dozens of shots at a car in Torrance, CA, wounding two women who were delivering newspapers. [more inside]
Researchers found that the pattern of murder in Newark, NJ is very similar in pattern to the spread of an infectious disease. Could this research show law enforcement a new way to predict where murders will occur?
Sarah Stillman for the New Yorker on confidential informants and the ends they meet -- "Gaither was tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods." [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
"During the proceedings, the prosecutor took the time to mention that no other printer in the world could do what Kuhl had done."
Hans-Jurgen Kuhl was able to create "shockingly perfect" copies of the American $100 bill by using his artistic talents to conquer the various security features present in the bill.
@Sheboyganscan attempts to transcribe everything that comes over the Sheboygan, Wisconsin police scanner. The fine folks at Something Awful have cherry picked a few gems.
Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
"...whatever job you take, you're going to spend a lot of time there. You should try to make it fun."
In 2007, the Madison (WI) Police Department hired their first civilian Public Information Officer: former reporter Joel DeSpain. Over the last five years, Mr. DeSpain has reportedly combined "humor, a flair for the dramatic and sense of the absurd", and turned the mundane Madison Police Blotter into an "art form and a thing of joy." So Why Has Madison Wisconsin Has Become the Weird News Capitol of the Midwest? Meet the United States’ most whimsical police reporter. (Last one's a gawker link. If you dislike their site / interface, have no fear: all reports in that article (plus four extras) can be found after the jump.) [more inside]
In 1962, the Mansfield (Ohio) Police Department stationed officers armed with a movie camera behind a two-way mirror in a public restroom known for its "cruisy" atmosphere. With the help of the footage shot, dozens of men were arrested, prosecuted, and convicted on sodomy charges, which at the time carried mandatory minimum sentences of a year in prison. In 2007, the original surveillance footage was obtained by filmmaker William E. Jones. He's screened the unedited 56 minute film as Tearoom at festivals and museums the world over, providing a clandestine look at the scrutiny small-town Midwestern gay men faced in the 1960's. [warning: explicit, NSFW material lies beyond most links] [more inside]
A UK man who downloaded recipes on how to make explosive devices has been jailed under the controversial Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which makes it a crime to be "in possession of records of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism". [more inside]
How the Glock Became America's Weapon of Choice The Glock was created in 1982 by a curtain rod manufacturer named Gaston Glock. Glock didn't like the handguns available on the market and decided to manufacture a new gun from scratch. [more inside]
"London Bridge is currently closed to the public and a section 60 in place due to the presence of a depressed swan." - The Metropolitan Police Twitter Feed: Giving you the lowdown on all the criminal shit that's going down in London town. [more inside]
Homicide detectives who have reopened an investigation into the death of Natalie Wood after three decades said on Friday that the film star's husband, actor Robert Wagner, was not considered a suspect. [more inside]
In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
Your Sweet Justice story for the day: In February, K.C. was riding her bike home from work. While waiting at a stop light, she felt a slight bump from the car behind her, followed by laughter from within. K.C. wasn't looking for a fight, and did her best to ignore this. Disappointed with his failure to elicit a response, the driver bumped her again, this time a bit harder. This is when K.C. pulled out her police badge, and things started to get weird...
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]
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 City of Oakland, California, is preparing to fire more than one quarter of it's entire police force. [more inside]
The Silver Thief: The Story of a Burglar Who Was Too Good for His Own Good: The story of Blane Nordahl, an eminent silver thief in New Jersey and the hunt for him.
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