|Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Crime’|
The elderly are the fastest growing segment of our society, and they are a large part of the country’s economy. So crime, especially financial crime, is a growing concern for the Department of Justice since seniors are targeted with alarming frequency and too often successful. Problems with data gathering on such crimes stems from legal definitions of “elderly”, the lack of a national repository of crime statistics like the FBI Uniform Crime Reports or the National Victimization survey specific to elder financial abuse, and the fact that fraud is under reported. A 1998 report conducted by the National Center for on Elder Abuse states that nearly one third of all elder abuse cases included financial exploitation. Also, a study by the US Senate Special Committee on Aging reported $40 billion in losses to telemarketing fraud.
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has invested $2 million nationwide to create a program called the Triad, which partners with law enforcement and senior citizens to reduce crime and the fear of crime. Currently the rate of all types of crime against the elderly is at 2.5 victims per 1,000 persons 65 years old or older. The two highest type of crimes are simple assault and personal theft.
Professor of Race Relations Arrested over Misunderstanding
Published Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
The distinguished Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. — director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research — was arrested after police investigated claims that he was trying to break into a house, his own as it turns out. The Professor, who is African-American, has written many books and hosted a public TV series on race relations. Supporters of the professor say this is an incident of racial profiling. Lawrence D. Bobo, the W.E.B Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard, said he hopes Cambridge Police will drop charges against Gates and use the incident to review training and screening procedures it has in place.
A study conducted by the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics between 2002 and 2005 tracked the rates of routine traffic stops in an effort to map Racial Profiling in the US. The data suggested that there was an even chance—between 8.1 – 9.2% of drivers—among White, Black and Hispanic drivers that they would be stopped by police during 2002 and 2005. Yet, of the white drivers stopped, only 3.5 – 3.6% of them were searched in 2002 and 2005; Black and Hispanic drivers who were stopped were searched 10.2-11.4% and 9.5 – 8.8% between 2002 and 2005 respectively.
Street Safe is a project that hopes to build upon the once successful program called the Boston Miracle, which reduced youth violence in the late 1990’s. SafeStreet is made up of 13 men — half of which are previous offenders — with a five-year mission and $20 million initiative aiming to prove that ex-convicts know best how to work the streets and protect kids from what they call “the life” or gang life. Many of the 13-year-olds children (gangs routinely target boys as young as 12 to carry drugs and guns) who are now a part of the program would have had to choose between making the best of their athletic and academic potential or follow their friends, brothers, and fathers into “the life.” Boston Police are also on board with the program as they arrange games between youth and police in an effort to promote community policing and cut gang influence.
According to the Department of Justice, the overall percent of homicides in the US involving guns by victims’ age skyrockets from birth to 18 years. After the peak, the range of deaths slowly decreases till age 89 where there is a spike in gunshot victimhood. The number of offenders in their teens — 14-17 — has returned to a previous held range of 1500 offenders annually from a height in 1994 of 4000 homicide offenders.
Population security is impacted by the ratio of police proportional to the size of the population being protected or controlled, a concept called population-driven force ratios. For populations such as ones in the US, the proportion of police officers required for day-to-day law enforcement duties among generally peaceful populations comes to a force ratio ranging from one to four police officers per 1000 residents. With greater emphasis on life saving equipment and new training techniques that result in fewer shootouts, plus specialized squads to defuse threatening situations, less of both populations are killed per year than 20 years ago.
Currently on average the ratio of police to population in the US comes to about 2.3 officers per thousand residents; larger cities have higher ratios. That force ratio has remained steady for nearly three decades at around 2.21-2.34 police officers per 1000 civilian population. The number of officers killed in the line of duty has reduced by over three times that of the early 1970s. Presently, the number of fallen has reduced further from 70 in 2001 to 41 in 2008. The 72 deaths that resulted from the events of September 11, 2001 are not included in the totals. So far this year, there have been 20 gun related deaths for the police nationwide.
Governor Hopes to Avoid Regretable Deaths in the Future
Published Thursday, June 11th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
Governor David A. Paterson of New York has stated that he would convene a task force to study shootings of police officers by friendly fire. This comes after the killing of a police officer by friendly fire in Harlem last week. One of the issues the task force will explore will be whether such shootings had disproportionately affected Black and Latino officers. The NY Police Department had also compiled a list of 10 officers killed in such shootings since 1930’s, which included 5 who were White, four who were Black and one who was Hispanic. In light of the shooting, refresher training commenced and a memorandum was circulated regarding steps the department is taking to combat friendly fire. Included in the memo are studies that explore whether police handguns and/or equipment could be fitted with officer proximity identification devices.
Officers falling in the line of duty have been one of the many statistics followed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations Uniform Crime Reports. The number of those killed annually by handguns and other types of guns has leveled off to mid 50s since 1998. The most dangerous of situations in which the officers are killed include arrest, ambush, making traffic stops and disturbance calls. Between 1998 and 2007, 22 officers were killed in the line of duty as a result of firendly fire by either crossfire, mistaken for the subject or by a firearm mishap.
Repeal of Tiahrt Amendment Called for by Coalition
Published Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
Much debate is going on in the gun and policing worlds regarding the need to repeal the 2004 Tiahrt Amendment, which was one of the agenda items President Obama discussed in his Senate and Presidential campaigns. The restriction placed on police from the Tiahrt Amendment prevents the federal government from requiring gun dealers to conduct inventory inspections to see if guns they possess are lost or stolen. Also, the President’s budget retains the rule regarding the destruction of federal background checks, which are required for gun buyers within 24 hours. Major proponents for the repeal include the National Public Safety Coalition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, headed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City who believes that these restrictions limit law enforcement of gun sales and crime.
The use of firearms to commit murder actually rose from 9385 murders in 2004 to 10086 in 2007. Separated by type of gun, murders by handguns has been reduced and replaced by other types of guns such as assault rifles. After a short decline, law enforcement deaths have risen from the use of both handguns and assault rifles. Nonfatal firearms incidents are also on the rise again after a steady decline. Crimes committed with firearms besides murder remained at a steady level since the creation of the Brady Laws; this includes crimes committed while under the age of 18—the age at which many states allow at least rifle purchase.
Stimulus Act Funds Fight Against Domestic Violence
Published Thursday, March 5th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has appropriated $4 billion for Department of Justice funding to enhance state, local, and tribal law enforcement efforts relating to domestic violence, including the hiring of new police officers to combat violence against women and internet crimes against children. The Act will appropriate $225,000,000 in violence against women funding administered by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), including $175,000,000 to grants to combat violence against women, as authorized by part T of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and $50,000,000 to OVW’s Transitional Housing Program. This funding is in addition to any other funding that Congress may appropriate for Fiscal Year 2009.
According to the Department of Justice, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. For both men and women, physical assault is the most common type of victimization followed far behind by rape and stalking. A stand out statistic is that American Indians/Alaska natives, both men and women, experienced more violence per capita by far than any other race. The current statistics on domestic violence and crime have been decreasing steadily since 1994 to remain at 4.7 million households experiencing the crime in 2004 and 2005.