Criminology and Economic Theory
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Police ready to charge Bucks drug dealer with 2006 murder - Philadelphia Inquirer (blog)

Police ready to charge Bucks drug dealer with 2006 murder - Philadelphia Inquirer (blog) | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Philadelphia Inquirer (blog)Police ready to charge Bucks drug dealer with 2006 murderPhiladelphia Inquirer (blog)Ckaron Handy, 24, of Philadelphia, thought the victim might be an undercover police officer, because he didn't recognize Kevin...
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The Economist explains, man: Why Amsterdam’s coffeeshops are closing | The Economist

The Economist explains, man: Why Amsterdam’s coffeeshops are closing  | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The Netherlands’ increasing intolerance towards pot is harshing the mellow

The Economist explains
Jan 10th 2017, 11:24
by S.N.
ON DECEMBER 31st the world’s oldest coffeeshop, Mellow Yellow, in Amsterdam, was forced to roll down its bright yellow shutters one last time. Over the past half-century, many a foreigner has smoked their first spliff at this cosy cafe, which sat perfectly on the route between two tourist favourites, the Heineken Brewery and Rembrandt Square. Mellow Yellow is the latest in a string of Amsterdam coffeeshop closures, a development that is worrying health workers, law enforcement officials and potheads equally because it may push drugs back onto the street. The number of coffeeshops in the Dutch capital has fallen by half since 1995, from 350 to just 167. Why are so many Amsterdam coffeeshops closing?

To most outsiders, the Netherlands is synonymous with liberal, legalised vice, with Amsterdam the main port of call. Roughly one in four tourists to Amsterdam intends to visit a coffeeshop, according to the city’s tourism bureau (in 2016 Amsterdam received 17m tourists, up from 12m in 2012). Holland’s soft drug policy has always been one of “tolerating” rather than legalising. As Vincent explains in “Pulp Fiction”, “It’s legal to buy it, it’s legal to own it and if you’re the proprietor of a hash bar, it’s legal to sell it.” Central to making this construction work is a system of small, tightly regulated coffeeshops, where people can legally buy and smoke cannabis—and which the authorities can keep an eye on. Few officials in liberal Amsterdam want to get rid of coffeeshops altogether; they are thought to help keep soft drugs out of the criminal circuit. But in more conservative parts of the country, including the political capital, The Hague, resistance to the policy of looking the other way has grown.

Dutch governments have been clamping down on coffeeshops by banning those in border cities from serving tourists, and forcing the closure of establishments near schools. A hairdressing school 230 meters down the road was the proximate cause for Mellow Yellow blazing out; a new rule states that they must be at least 250 meters apart. City officials openly question the effectiveness of this policy, but claim it placates The Hague and that it is the “lesser of two evils” (in that at least they can still serve tourists). Given the density with which Amsterdammers live on top of each other, nearly 20 coffeeshops have had to close due to the proximity rule. Another 30 were stubbed out as part of an effort to clean up the seediest parts of the red light district a few years ago. Around 150 prostitute windows were closed as part of the same scheme. But the largest chunk of coffeeshops went out of business either because they ran into trouble with law enforcement (there have been several shootings recently) or because they couldn’t hack it financially. A “no growth” policy means coffeeshops are petering because no licenses are being handed out for new ones to replace those that have closed.

Amsterdam’s remaining coffeeshops must therefore deal with the high demand. It is a mixed blessing. Some of the busiest ones have shifted from cosy cafes to take-away counters. This makes it much harder to keep an eye on users. Staff members often no longer have time to offer friendly advice, says Floor van Bakkum of Jellinek, an addiction help centre. A second worry is that street dealers might rush in to fill the gap left by coffeeshops. A report by the Bonger Instituut, a criminology think-tank named after a professor at the University of Amsterdam, is blunt: it blames both the growth in tourism and the closures of coffeeshops in the city centre for the increase in street dealers. Other types of crime could also rise. Coffeeshops are only allowed to hold 500 grams of the green stuff at any one time; some now need to re-stock several times a day to keep up with demand. This makes their couriers more vulnerable to robberies. It could also push proprietors to turn to criminals for their increased supply needs. Back in the old days they could count on a few friends with plants on their balconies. But as fewer coffeeshops are expected to cater to ever larger groups of stoners, that approach could leave them out of joint.
Rob Duke's insight:
Too much. Too fast.  But Portugal took the approach that the user wasn't criminal, but distribution and sales remained illegal.  Crime has fallen in Portugal.
Kelsey Therron Snell's comment, January 22, 8:38 PM
I really liked your farmer analogy, Rob, it brought your ideas together for me in a very solid manner. It seems that there is a ruling class almost that sees this behavior as mal-adapted and non-norm and wants to crush it out of Amsterdam; as if they do not want to have the image that they do. When elected officials have their own agendas along with those of the people they rep and misrepresent, it does not bode well for the citizens of said place. The vertical institutions then become mistrusted by majority popularity. this decline in jobs and the potential increase in criminal activity seems like a brewing pot for reform and or anarchy. It seems as if it could go both ways honestly.
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 8:52 PM
Their (Dutch) national population is only 16M (somewhere between Illinois and New York for a frame of reference). So, their "vertical" institution is nothing like ours, and this article doesn't tell the full story. Last year they had some of these same growing pains with prostitution, which they also have had a fairly lax public policy in terms of non-enforcement. As Amsterdam pulled back on institutionally allowing all forms of open prostitution (they began to restrict numbers and areas), the trade moved to rest areas and open areas on the highway leading into Amsterdam. In this case, the local authorities worked with neighborhoods and other interest holders to find a solution. This included designating certain rural rest areas as sex-trade friendly, providing huts to remove the spectacle from the public eye. In return, the prostitutes agreed to be regulated in terms of public health and safety. [The article that covered this was on my Gender & Crime blog from last year.]
Brad Gluckman's comment, Today, 5:42 AM
This was an Interesting Article. Amestrdam has decreased its total number of Coffee Shop/Hash Bars nearly in half. While still serving the same number of people. Their customer base is largely the tourism industry. The new proposed legislation restricts these businesses. The regulations sound minimal and reasonable. Basically just keep it 250 meters from a school zone along with open prostitution and it is legal. Liberalism, what can you expect? Nearly the same situation in Vancouver. The difference being the number of liscences being curtailed, revoked, or no longer issued. The application restrictions increased and the renewal procedures became more stringent. The same thing will likely happen here as the boom and bust cycle of the regulated drug industry runs its course leading toward other illicit types of behavior which draw negative attention form community policing.
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The World of Work

The World of Work | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The World of Work
Rob Duke's insight:
The brain is a complex organism and there is still so much that we do not understand.  How much of that chemistry and organic material is responsible for our behavior?  We have no problem recognizing "immaturity", but criminality is difficult for us to acknowledge as a "young" problem--yet by age 30 almost all the criminal youth will have grown out of their criminality--no matter how bad or good they had it growing up...

Here's some very recent research in how the brain changes as we age.
Brad Gluckman's comment, Today, 6:09 AM
This article was interesting. Myelin is a sheath of white coating that encapsulates the human brain similar to a transluscent saranwrap. It is true that it is made up of neurons but also of connective tissue and it deteriorates with age. Yeah Right like maybe after age 50 or 60. By then, So What. There is absolutely no conclusive evidence that decreases intelligence or slows the thought process in any way. Even if it did, neuron speed is not a replacement for skill or strategy. Say, did I ever tell you the story of the Tortoise & The Hare?
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Smile, You're On Camera! DC Police Told To Keep Bodycams On During Inauguration Day Protests

Smile, You're On Camera! DC Police Told To Keep Bodycams On During Inauguration Day Protests | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Washington, DC - Despite the ACLU claiming that it's illegal, officers will be recording Inauguration Day protesters.
Bernard K. Aoto's comment, January 21, 5:04 AM
I think that it was a great thing for the officers to actually look up the law before just going with what the ACLU put out. It shows integrity within the department.
Samantha Pershing's curator insight, January 22, 3:17 AM

I don't understand why people would be upset about police recording their protests. If they are not doing anything illegal, then they shouldn't have anything to worry about. Furthermore, there are probably going to be plenty of people recording the protests on their phones. Even the news might do a segment on the protestors. The fact that police have their cameras on should not upset people.

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Police: Man who made fun of his girlfriend killed by her son

Police: Man who made fun of his girlfriend killed by her son | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Anchorage police have arrested a man for a homicide that occurred in a downtown motel Monday morning.
Kelsey Therron Snell's comment, January 21, 8:10 PM
Push someone far enough and they eventually will pop. Approach determines response. Seems like a pretty cut and dry case though
Joshua Vey's comment, January 21, 9:52 PM
Young lad has some problems.
DDallas's comment, Today, 1:31 AM
What I found most interesting about the article was that the son supposedly couldn't remember why he killed the boyfriend. That seems like the strangest part of the entire article, typically if someone does something this violent they remember at least why they did it, I think something else will come out in trial about the actual motives behind it.
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Detectives arrest a Lucerne Valley man for the murder of his wife following a residential fire from SBSD - Headquarters : Nixle

Detectives arrest a Lucerne Valley man for the murder of his wife following a residential fire  from SBSD - Headquarters : Nixle | Criminology and Economic Theory |
On April 19, 2016, at approximately 4:40 a.m., emergency personnel from the San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to a residence in the 9800 block of Mesa Road in Lucerne Valley for a structure fire. During fire suppression efforts, a body was discovered. Investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Arson Detail were contacted and responded to the location. During the arson investigation, a gas supply line was found to be disconnected. Bomb Arson Investigators requested the assistance of investigators from Homicide Detail due to the suspicious nature of the fire. Investigators from Homicide Detail responded and assumed the investigation.

The decedent was identified as Lynda Cestone. Lynda and her husband, Donald Jenman, lived alone in the residence. Investigators learned during their investigation that in 2010, Lynda suffered a stroke. As a result of the stroke, Lynda was paralyzed and bedridden. During the fire, Donald suffered minor burns and was transported by Mercy Air to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

On Friday, January 13, 2017, at the conclusion of the Death Investigation, Donald Wayne Jenman was arrested, transported and booked into the West Valley Detention Center for PC 187(a) Murder. Jenman is being held on $1,000.000.00 bail and is scheduled for court on January 18, 2017.
Rob Duke's insight:
I grabbed this for those who might be interested in being fire investigators....
Eric Villasenor's comment, January 20, 3:31 PM
This is a fine case of good old fashion investigative work. The gas line being disconnected was instrumental to the cause of the fire. It's a shame to think what Lynda Cestone must have been going through without being able to do anything about it due to her paralysis.
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The Fine Art of Sniffing Out Crappy Science

The Fine Art of Sniffing Out Crappy Science | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Two professors at the University of Washington want to teach students how to survive the avalanche of false or misleading data shaken loose by shifts in media, technology, and politics.
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Rich Kids Stay Rich, Poor Kids Stay Poor

Rich Kids Stay Rich, Poor Kids Stay Poor | Criminology and Economic Theory |
On Friday, a team of researchers led by Stanford economist Raj Chetty released a paper on how growing up in poverty affects boys and girls differently. Their co…
Caitlin Mattingly's comment, January 20, 7:25 PM
This is a very interesting read, one that hits home with me. It is so awfully true that the rich stay rich (and even get richer) while the poor stay poor (and even get poorer). It is a clear problem our country has and a problem we continuously fail to fix. Reading that poor kids who have poor parents are less likely to attend college is really self explanatory to me. The lack of money is the obvious reason they cannot attend college. It is truly not even an option for most.
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 8:37 PM
Yes, and when we think about real change: it won't happen in a patrol car. It starts at the community level and it begins early. In that respect Fire Departments understand communities far better than do the PD's: they have small stations in every neighborhood and they start going to schools at a very young age to teach fire safety. They also attend planning meetings and ensure that sprinklers, fire zones, truck turn arounds are included in the design of new projects. When I was a City Manager, I'd wonder where the cops were at these meetings. It's more complicated than all this, but we can't keep thinking that we can manager the 3 am environment without thinking about the 9 to 5 general business of running a community. That's the only way we're going to be a positive part of long-term change.
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How Alaska's equal rights law was first put to the test

A 1946 incident at a cocktail lounge in Fairbanks tested, for the first time, the state's Anti-Discrimination Act.
Rob Duke's insight:
Our own path to "Justice".  In honor of Dr. MLK.
Samantha Pershing's curator insight, January 22, 3:02 AM

This article really made me mad. It really grinds my gears when I read or hear about racial or sexual discrimination because I don't understand why people thought (or, in some cases, think) like that. I get how it was a different time, but did people really have no common sense? I mean, how ridiculous is the notion that a person skin color shows a person's worth? Who came up with a ridiculous notion like that?

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Was D.B. Cooper a Boeing worker?

Was D.B. Cooper a Boeing worker? | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Leave it to a group that calls itself the Citizen Sleuths to uncover a new lead in the 45-year hunt for D.B. Cooper. The three amateur scientists have found rare-Earth elements on the JCPenney tie the infamous skyjacker left behind when he jumped out of a commercial airplane on a blistering night in
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It Took 20 Years For The Government To Pay For An Obvious Way To Prevent HIV

It Took 20 Years For The Government To Pay For An Obvious Way To Prevent HIV | Criminology and Economic Theory |
A few days ago, after I heard the news that Congress had lifted a federal ban on funding for needle exchange programs, I called Alisa Solberg. She runs the Poin…
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The Weird Economics Of Ikea

The Weird Economics Of Ikea | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Ikea is a behemoth. The home furnishing company uses 1 percent of the planet’s lumber, it says, and the 530 million cubic feet of wood used to make Ikea furnitu…
Rob Duke's insight:
See the other article above about IKEA.
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Should More Campus Security Officers Be Using Tablets?

Should More Campus Security Officers Be Using Tablets? | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Here are some ways tablets might improve your campus security operations.
Joshua Vey's comment, January 21, 10:01 PM
If it is for a good use such as communication, which can be vital as a security guard, then tablets are the way to go to improve security.
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 8:18 PM
Yeah, one of my former departments beta-tested this idea for patrol and found it to be viable as long as the device is robust enough to handle dust, shock, vibration and drops.
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Old Misogynist Hatreds Fuel a New Year’s Massacre in Brazil · Global Voices

Old Misogynist Hatreds Fuel a New Year’s Massacre in Brazil · Global Voices | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Brazil has a femicide rate of 4.8 per 100,000 women, according to the World Health Organization — that's the fifth highest femicide rate in the world. Black women are the main targets, according to the 2015 Violence Map, an independent annual research report on violence in Brazil. The murder of black women rose 54 percent between 2003 and 2013. At least 10 women were murdered in the country by their partners in the first six days of 2017.

Brazilian lawmakers have tried to address gender violence in the past. In 2003, the country created the Maria da Penha Law to protect women victims of domestic violence. The legislation bears the name of an activist who was rendered a paraplegic by her husband, after he tried to kill her, twice. In 2015, another law, classifying feminicide as a hate crime, was added to the Brazilian Penal Code.
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China’s Top Judge Warns Against the ‘Threat’ of Judicial Independence · Global Voices

China’s Top Judge Warns Against the ‘Threat’ of Judicial Independence · Global Voices | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The term “rule of law”, referring to the idea that no one in a society is above the law, has become a popular phrase used by top Chinese leaders in their public speeches. But any emerging hope for justice in China has been dampened by the ongoing crackdown on human rights lawyers, the practice of airing “confessions” of those accused of crimes on TV, and most recently remarks made by the country’s Chief of Justice Zhou Qiang.

At a Supreme People's Court meeting on January 14, Qiang warned the courts against the idea of judicial independence.
Kelsey Therron Snell's comment, January 22, 8:54 PM
The more and more I read this article I began to think more about your presentation and introduction to the section and where you spoke abut how china was different than other systems and their basic beliefs and views of the self and oneness with yourself and those around you. with this in mind, it's not hard to see why the ruling select desire to keep true to their traditions (which happen to be socialistic in nature). it is absolutely amazing how human nature is so anti-change sometimes, as well as how we hold to our traditions so heavily. China looks like it is in for some possible change or an uprising by people desiring that change. On a different note, I love reading Psychological work by the Chinese because it sometimes is so different from our western views and hierarchies and it really allows me a more open view of people and the world.
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 9:04 PM
Yeah, same with Chinese philosophy. Religion is one place to start when trying to understand a people, psychology (as you note) is a good place, and then philosophy. This oneness is deeply rooted in China, but one wonders how much the elites use that to prop up their own rule....? While an activist bench is problematic, I think even China would be well-served with a class of people who were institutionally encouraged to think, say, and write opinions about what we can do and what we should do. I'm borrowing from Amartya Sen's book "On Justice" and his idea of the "Niti" and the "Nyaya" from Indian philosophy. For me, this is embodied with the story of the child walking along the beach throwing the high tide-stranded star fish back into the water one-by-one. A well-meaning adult points out to the child: "Child, there are millions of star fish stranded on the beach: what you're doing is not going to make a difference--you can't save them all." The child wisely answers: "you say what I'm doing won't make a difference, but I beg to differ: it will make a difference for this star fish when I throw him back in." I like the idea of there being someone that can point out the difference between what we can do (if we're willing) and what we can do (from a bureaucratic viewpoint). Hopefully, China has other ways to make that distinction visible.
DDallas's comment, Today, 12:55 AM
This article is incredibly concerning because the speech by the Chief of Justice of China Zhou Qiang is a bad warning sign for the judicial future of China. Judicial Independence is something we have the potential to take for granted, however, potentially taking it away it in a country as influential as China can cause large effects throughout the world.
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Parent in Prison: How to Protect the Well-Being of the Child

Parent in Prison: How to Protect the Well-Being of the Child | Criminology and Economic Theory |
How caregivers can help kids weather the challenges of dad's or mom’s incarceration.
Rob Duke's insight:
How's this for an institutional paradigm.  What will these kids experience differently?  How will that affect behavior?
Gwendolyn Roseberry's comment, January 21, 1:09 PM
The number of children that experience an incarcerated parent in the United States is startling, but I suppose I should've realized this figure based on the number of incarcerated individuals in the U.S. The difference in behaviors between whether the mother or father is incarcerated is interesting and somewhat correlates to the effects of simply having an absent parent- even if that parent has not gone away to prison or jail. While becoming an offender is not an absolute direct result of having an incarcerated parent, it is certainly a strong influence. It seems the article suggests that the deciding factor in not repeating the criminal cycle is maintaining (or establishing) a structured, organized, and intellectually stimulating household. However, as I have learned, such households may not be as common among those that choose to commit crimes.
Samantha Pershing's curator insight, January 22, 2:39 AM

It makes sense that children will be emotionally distressed if one of their parents went to prison. My question would be: Is it right for children to see their parents if they were in prison? I get that some people go to prison for crimes that are not too bad, but what about parents who have been convicted of horrible crimes? Where is the line drawn? Even if it is their parents, a bad influence can have negative effects on children.

DDallas's comment, Today, 1:17 AM
There were a lot of very good points raised in the article, obviously there are profound effects on children when either parent is incarcerated. What I found really interesting was the methods of coping described by the author. This article does make me consider the morality of having children live with mothers in prison. In many ways it seems like it would be a means to prevent or ease the difficulties described in the article however, would living with an incarcerated mother raise a whole new array of issues?
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Missouri woman, 20, disappears after traffic stop, reports say

Missouri woman, 20, disappears after traffic stop, reports say | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Tonie Anderson has not been seen or heard from since stopping for gas early Sunday morning.
Kelsey Therron Snell's comment, January 21, 8:07 PM
Dang, this is quite the odd disappearance. She is obviously a beautiful young woman. Her life as a server leads me to wonder if she has admirers whom have been turned down in the past and perhaps someone got upset and did something? It is odd that it happened so shortly after being pulled over by a police officer, but it doesnt seem connected to me in any way. Rob, as a polcie officer, how would you begin this investigation?
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 8:26 PM
Drugs, sex (relationships), or money...almost always these are the motives. Serial killers make the news but are statistically the outliers. I'm not saying this is what happened (and modern surveillance makes it unlikely to have been the case), but we'd certainly be looking at that cop along with the motives I list above. Routine Activities Theory is also one to look at--which is a nod to Cynthia's comment about someone who frequents the club where she works. Every investigation is organic and builds from its own facts, but those are the places where I'd place my bets that this mystery will be solved. I hope she's just a "runaway bride" or something similar, but I'm cynical enough to worry that something bad has happened to her.
Kelsey Therron Snell's comment, January 22, 10:48 PM
How would you as an investigating officer look into the officer who pulled her over as a possiblilty?
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Mat-Su Borough emergency director resigns

Bill Gamble became director after a major shake-up at the borough emergency services department and now says he is leaving to pursue a family project in the private sector.
Rob Duke's insight:
Here's an example of a Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness job where you're not on the "pointy end".
Bernard K. Aoto's comment, January 21, 5:13 AM
It goes to show how stressful and demandingsome high level positions are. You can go in with a plan on how to better the system but the challenge is actually implementing it with the resources that are given to you.
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 8:32 PM
So, having been a long-time public manager, here's my advice: 1. don't stay too long (make a 5 year plan, implement it and then be sure to train a replacement before you go); 2. have a great contract that gives them a way to send you on your way when the politics dictate, but does so in a manner that you can manage the transition for your family. I recommend always: a. never take a job unless all the elected members support hiring you; b. never take a job unless the manager (chief of staff) supports you; and c. never take a job where they are unwilling to give you a severance package (mine was 6 months base with an extra 2 months for every year I had been with them. My mistake was I assumed a 2-year severance meant I would never need to consider leaving...refer back to the 5-year plan above...never get comfortable. Work for a small burb, then a little bigger burb, etc.; or become an expert in redoing general plans or expanding sewer plants and when that job is prepared to have an exit strategy after 5 or 6 years.
Brad Gluckman's comment, Today, 5:57 AM
These are my comments. This is an Interesting Article, it was easy to read with few grammatical errors. Zaz Hollander has done an excellent job reporting the news for the Bill Gamble will now have plenty of time to pursue other opportunities in the Private Sector.
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15 Insane Things That Correlate With Each Other

15 Insane Things That Correlate With Each Other | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Why do these things correlate? These 15 correlations will blow your mind. (Is this headline sensationalist enough for you to click on it yet?)
Rob Duke's insight:
Be careful with studies that mistake correlation for causation.
Kelsey Therron Snell's comment, January 21, 8:13 PM
Always found it to be entertaining to see these. A big one is that petty crime as, well as murder go up as ice cream sales go up, did you know that? "Correlation is not causation" was drilled and drilled into my head in my research and research theory classes, still, it doesn't make any of these correlations less spectacular or funny haha.,
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 8:21 PM
....yeah, I remember when "Do the Right Thing" came out and I thought that Spike Lee had captured how the extreme heat (combined with how close we live to one another) becomes an actual character in the inner city drama. In literature, we personify Death, but I think we'd be better off and more accurate to personify Heat. Turn up the temp and that is when people get surly.
Kelsey Therron Snell's comment, January 22, 8:46 PM
Yup, crank the heat and people seem to get a little bit more wild
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Drug users stealing high-end grocery items such as meat and baby formula to fund addictions: Calgary police

Drug users stealing high-end grocery items such as meat and baby formula to fund addictions: Calgary police | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Calgary police say they are seeing an increase in food theft, including cases where thousands of dollars in grocery items are sold through organized crime rings
Briana Whiteside's comment, January 18, 11:24 PM
to make fast money by selling groceries...if only you could pay off college that way (being highly sarcastic)
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Banyan: Asia is still just saying no to drugs | The Economist

Banyan: Asia is still just saying no to drugs | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory |
“FOR the first few days,” explains Aki, a young man who helps run a drug rehabilitation centre on the outskirts of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, in northern Myanmar, “some of them try to run away. So we have to keep them like this.” A young man, naked except for a tattered pair of shorts, lies prone on a filthy mattress, one leg locked in a wooden device resembling medieval stocks. He sweats and shakes, like many suffering heroin withdrawal. Dozens of other men mill around the clinic: a dimly lit, mattress-lined, hangar-like building reeking of sweat and foul breath. Beyond the back door is a much smaller, concrete-floored room with a wooden bath, a squat toilet and, next to it, a tiny padlocked cell crammed with four painfully skinny men: they, too, had tried to escape.

The men receive no medication; treatment consists solely of herbal baths and Bible study (many Kachin are Baptist). For the first 15 days of their three-month stay, they receive no counselling because, as Aki explains: “They never tell the truth, because they are addicts.” Aki’s boss, the Reverend Hsaw Lang Kaw Ye, takes an equally dim view of his region’s many opium farmers: he is part of a citizens’ group that cuts down their crop. Asked if he provides the farmers with any compensation, he scoffs: “We don’t give them anything. We just destroy opium fields.”

This attitude is typical of drug policy in much of Asia: needlessly severe and probably ineffective. According to Harm Reduction International, a pressure group, at least 33 countries have capital punishment on the books for drug offences, but only seven are known to have executed drug dealers since 2010. Five are in Asia (the other two are Iran and Saudi Arabia).

Off with their heads

In Singapore, capital punishment is mandatory for people caught with as little as 15 grams of pure heroin. The arrival cards foreign visitors must fill in at Singaporean immigration posts warn, in red block capitals: “DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER SINGAPORE LAW”. Singapore may kill fewer people than it used to—between 1994 and 1999 no country executed more people relative to its population—but its executioners are not idle: less than two months ago a Nigerian and a Malaysian were hanged for trafficking cannabis and heroin respectively.

Singapore’s neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, also execute drug offenders. Indonesia’s previous president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, reportedly disliked the death penalty, and imposed an unofficial moratorium on executions from 2008 to 2013. Joko Widodo, his successor, has no such qualms: since taking office in 2014 he has approved the execution of 18 drug traffickers, and has pledged to show “no mercy” to anyone in the business.

The Philippines ended capital punishment in 2006, but its new president, Rodrigo Duterte, has found a workaround: killing people without the bother of a trial. Since taking office six months ago, more than 6,200 suspected drug dealers or users have been killed in his anti-drug campaign. While his bloody drug war has drawn criticism from human-rights activists in the Philippines and abroad, it remains wildly popular among ordinary Filipinos. The ten-member Association of South-East Asian Nations is committed to eradicating drug use, processing and trafficking by 2020—an implausible goal, especially since the Golden Triangle, the region where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet, produces a hefty share of the world’s opium.

Harsh penalties for drug offences are common across Asia. The sorts of alternatives now favoured in the West, such as diverting addicts to effective treatment programmes instead of trying them and saddling them with criminal records, are virtually non-existent. Several countries require drug offenders to enter rehabilitation programmes, but these are often like prison. Staff at rehab centres in Vietnam have reportedly beaten inmates and forced them to toil in the fields; guards in Cambodia have reportedly raped female inmates.

Asia’s harsh anti-drug policies are falling out of step with the rest of the world. Marijuana for recreational use is now legal in eight American states; 28 have legalised it for medical use. Dozens of countries have decriminalised marijuana consumption. Heroin is available on prescription in several European countries. The rich world increasingly treats addiction as an illness rather than a crime.

These trends have Asia’s drug warriors worried. Last April the UN General Assembly convened a special session on drugs. The previous time it did so, in 1998, it vowed to make the world drug-free by 2008. It later moved the target date back to 2019—the year by which Canada now wants to set up a legal market for cannabis for recreational use. At the UN meeting Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, urged the world to “move beyond prohibition”. Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, Singapore’s fearsome law and home-affairs minister, was unmoved: “Show us a model that works better,” he told the general assembly, “that delivers a better outcome for citizens, and we will consider changing. If that cannot be done, then don’t ask us to change.”

Mr Shanmugam has a point: in Singapore, drug consumption is admirably low. But Singapore is small, with secure borders, little corruption, effective anti-drug education and laws that allow warrantless searches and detention without trial. In poorer and less well-run countries the consequences of prohibition have been depressingly predictable: prisons packed with low-level offenders, corruption and thriving black markets. Demand remains strong: between 2008 and 2013 the amount of methamphetamine seized in East Asia, South-East Asia and Oceania quadrupled. Eventually, Asia may reach the same conclusion as much of America, Europe and Latin America: that the costs of prohibition outweigh the benefits. But for now, as Mr Duterte’s popularity attests, drug wars are good politics.
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How businesses are taking marijuana products mainstream

How businesses are taking marijuana products mainstream | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Companies are eschewing the head shop vibe and embracing retail principles to market marijuana products to consumers.
Eric Villasenor's comment, January 20, 3:24 PM
I'm glad this is a new form of tax revenue for the state and municipalities. However, I am concerned with abuse of the drug. Particularly, I'm concerned with the edibles. I have personal experience with the effects of edible abuse and the effect it can have on the body. Contrary to the physical effect smoking cannabis has on the body, edibles can have a more serious, adverse effect.
Caitlin Mattingly's comment, January 20, 7:35 PM
I think that with the growth of marijuana business will come more positive outcomes for the people and the economy. The way I see it, happy people, happy economy. Sounds good to me. I am glad we have states finally turning around.
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Why the Problem with Learning Is Unlearning

The process of unlearning has three parts.

First, you have to recognize that the old mental model is no longer relevant or effective. This is a challenge because we are usually unconscious of our mental models. They are the proverbial water to the fish. In addition, we might be afraid to admit that the existing model is growing outdated. We have built our reputations and careers on the mastery of these old models. Letting go can seem like starting over and losing our status, authority, or sense of self.
Second, you need to find or create a new model that can better achieve your goals. At first, you will probably see this new model through the lens of the old. Many companies are ineffective in their use of social media because they still think of it as a channel for distributing a message. They haven’t made the mental shift from one-to-many to many-to-many. Social is best thought of as a context rather than a channel.
Third, you need to ingrain the new mental habits. This process is no different from creating a new behavioral habit, like your diet or golf swing. The tendency will be to fall back into the old way of thinking and therefore the old way of doing. It’s useful to create triggers that alert you to which model you are working from. For example, when you are talking about your customers, catch yourself when you call them “consumers” — this corresponds to a transactional mindset. Find a word that reflects a more collaborative relationship. The shift in language helps to reinforce the shift in mindset.
The good news is that practicing unlearning will make it easier and quicker to make the shifts as your brain adapts. (It’s a process called neuroplasticity.) You can see this process at work in an experiment by Destin Sandler and his “backwards bicycle.” Toward the end of the video you can see the unlearning process at work. One thing to look for is how the process itself is exponential. One moment he can’t ride the bike, and then the next moment he can. So as you begin unlearning, be patient with yourself — it’s not a linear process. Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” In this time of transformative change, we need to be conscious of our mental models and ambidextrous in our thinking. Sometimes the incremental models of barriers to entry, linear campaigns, and hierarchical controls will be the right ones. But we need to unlearn these models and replace them with exponential models based on network effects, brand orbits, and distributed networks. The place to start is by unlearning how we think about learning.
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Ikea Is A Nonprofit, And Yes, That's Every Bit As Fishy As It Sounds

Ikea makes billions tax-free by operating the world's largest "charity." Here's how.
Rob Duke's insight:
Ikea is one of the best examples of institutions at work.  You'd think this is a furniture company, but no, it's a non-profit that is tax exempt, in part, because of its mission to promote art throughout the world.

Yes, really.  The family that owns IKEA created several such businesses to manage its trust assets (IKEA just happens to be the household name).

When I was a kid, I went to junior high and secondary school where you could work part-time.  I worked as a cabinet maker during some of this time.  At that time in America, there was a thriving furniture industry and you could purchase furniture secure in the knowledge that you'd pass it along to your children and grandchildren someday.  This is hardly the case now.  Due to tax law, IKEA has changed the way most of us buy furniture.  Flat boxes delivered by Fed Ex with infuriating instructions and a planned obsolescence measured in years not decades.  How pervasive is it?  Well, see the next article: IKEA alone accounts for 1% of all wood harvested in the world.

Ron Coase showed us that the ownership of institution rights didn't "matter" because the market always found the most efficient outcome given those institutional arrangements.  The Coase theorem, however, is about efficiency given certain institutions.  It is not about overall efficiency, effectiveness, or economy....nor is it about equity.

Kenneth Arrow also showed that in game theory (which is just a fancy way of describing how we all interact with society, culture, economics, and politics--which is, at its most basic level just a complicated game) where one began often dictated where one ended.  Thus, if two binary choices are given such as: do you prefer A or B.  We might choose B, but later if asked if we like B or C, we choose C.  The implication is that we prefer C over A, but that's just not true.  Consider the 2016 Presidential election.  How many of you voted for Hillary over Bernie?  Then, the choice becomes Hillary or Trump.  I wonder how many voters from the primary would have voted for Bernie if the choice had been Bernie or Trump in November?  So, the Arrow Theorem suggests that the order of institutional arrangements also matters.

The take away is be very careful with institutions and be very suspicious when someone claims "that's just the way it is".  You can have any institution you want and in any order you want, but you may (or may not) like the result.

In the study of criminology and ethics, institutions is one of the foundational issues that helps us understand everything that comes after.
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Gun Deaths In America

Gun Deaths In America | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The data in this interactive graphic comes primarily from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Multiple Cause of Death database, which is derived from death certificates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and is widely considered the most comprehensive estimate of firearm deaths.
Cynthia Hoffer's comment, January 19, 11:26 AM
For me personally I hate guns and will never own one since you never know when there might be an accident. If someone is out to get you they are going to get you somehow and most likely going to get you no matter what. Very sad to read the number of deaths from a gun. I wonder if there was a gun law if that number would go down each year?
Brennan D Watson's comment, January 19, 11:54 PM
I personally feel like with proper gun safety and storage you can greatly reduce the likelihood of an accident. The main point that I took away from this graphic to was that suicide is the main source of gun fatalities. For me this shows that we need a better mental health system and support options.
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State sues to overturn federal restrictions on controversial hunting methods

Among the banned activities on national preserves or wildlife refuges: Taking wolves and coyotes during the animals' denning season; taking black bears with artificial light at den sites.
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