Criminology and Economic Theory
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RIALTO: Man on probation arrested with loaded Uzi | Breaking News | - Press-Enterprise

RIALTO: Man on probation arrested with loaded Uzi | Breaking News | - Press-Enterprise | Criminology and Economic Theory |
A San Bernardino County probation officer was checking in with a man who had been released from jail early because of realignment (RIALTO: Man on probation arrested with loaded Uzi...According to article this guy was a realignment early release
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Criminology and Economic Theory
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German elite police unit plans expansion as risk of attacks rises

German elite police unit plans expansion as risk of attacks rises | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Germany's elite special police unit is hiring more staff and will open a new center in Berlin because the threat of militant attacks in the capital is higher than in the west of the country where it is currently based, its chief said on Monday.
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Stockton hopes to curb gun, gang violence through monetary incentives

Stockton hopes to curb gun, gang violence through monetary incentives | Criminology and Economic Theory |

Stockton is moving forward with a million-dollar effort to reduce shootings by training and paying suspected violent offenders to put down their weapons and make something of their lives.

Council members voted 6-1 in favor of the program, which promises to decrease gun violence, after a heated public comment session during Tuesday's city council meeting.

The program is called Advance Peace and aims to curb gang violence in the city. Program leaders will recruit 50 Stockton residents who have been identified as at a high risk to commit crime.

The same program was adopted by Sacramento in August.

Here are five things to know about Stockton’s new agreement with Advance Peace:

1) Taxpayers won’t pay a dime for it.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs was able to recruit funding from four philanthropic organizations to cover the cost.

2) The program targets Stockton's gun violence problem.

The number of people killed in shootings within the city may be going down, but gun violence is as bad as it was in 2012.

55 people were killed in 2017
49 were killed in 2016, 2015, 2014
32 were killed in 2013
71 were killed in 2012
The Advance Peace program is designed to work with people in the city who have been identified as most at risk to commit gun violence.

3) Participants will be eligible for up to $1,000 a month.

The program lasts 18 months. After the first six months, participants who reach certain benchmarks will receive financial incentives to stay on track.

4) Stockton police are not taking a stance on the program.

Stockton police spokesperson Joe Silva released the following statement on the Advance Peace program:

"We're always looking at best practices to reducing violence.  While not a police department program, we are looking forward to seeing the research from this type of program."

5) Advance Peace vows to create a major reduction in gun violence.

The program promises to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the number of shootings over four years.

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Can fruit and veggies cut crime? Police and nonprofit are giving it a try

Can fruit and veggies cut crime? Police and nonprofit are giving it a try | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Whether cops helping feed the needy actually cuts down on crime is a hard thing to quantify.

But almost everyone agrees on this: A Miami police effort, working with the nonprofit food distribution group Farm Share, has made cops and some poor communities they serve at least a little bit closer. Some people who once wouldn’t talk with officers on the beat now do.

“It’s mutually beneficial,” Miami Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes said Friday morning as officers worked with Farm Share volunteers to distribute food to 1,000 people in downtown Miami. “It’s a good opportunity for us to engage with folks. We help each other out.”

Farm Share is a government-supported organization that works with the United States Department of Agriculture to distribute surplus food — much of it fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be discarded because it wasn’t up to supermarket standards. Bananas, for instance, might be too small or apples slightly discolored. Farmers get tax credits in exchange for food they donate.
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Klansman convicted in 'Mississippi Burning' case dies in prison

Klansman convicted in 'Mississippi Burning' case dies in prison | Criminology and Economic Theory |
A Klansman found guilty for his role in the 1964 Freedom Summer killings of three civil rights workers has died in prison, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Edgar Ray Killen, a part-time Baptist minister and the plot leader, was convicted of three counts of manslaughter nearly 13 years ago in Mississippi and imprisoned.
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Predicting Murder in Chicago

Predicting Murder in Chicago | Criminology and Economic Theory |
What if a murder could be predicted? What if police could intervene with the future victim or future killer? In Chicago, an experimental computer program is trying to do just that.

It's called predictive policing and the city is counting on it to ease some of the worst gun violence there since the 1990's. There were 650 murders in the year just ended, that's more than New York City and Los Angeles combined. The computer program spits out the names of those most likely to shoot or be shot. Police say the results are uncanny. But it's what Chicago does with the data that is saving lives.
Rob Duke's insight:
You'd need a lot of data points.  Probably more than we can currently provide.  I could see you crowd-sourcing the data if people could scan a bar code to report incidents in their community (even road rage or gang squabbles would help in terms of useful conflict data points).
Kimber Elena Andruss's comment, January 15, 8:00 PM
While I think that predicting crimes, in theory, could be extremely beneficial to communities as well as public service officials, many things in theory do not play out as well in practical use. I think that the amount of data needed for this to be an even moderately useful tool would be astronomical. Additionally, there is the constant problem of falsified data or results; what is to prevent this predictive tool from being used maliciously or in a prejudiced manner? (Think, Minority Report and other futuristic crime settings.) A perfect system could be incredibly useful to the prevention of crime, but could in no way ever truly eliminate crime or the tendency toward it.
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What people want at the end of life

What people want at the end of life | Criminology and Economic Theory |

IN 2016 The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation, an American non-profit focused on health care, polled people in America, Brazil, Italy and Japan about their hopes and worries for their end-of-life wishes.

We found that what is most important to people at the end depends on where they live. In America and Japan not burdening families with the costs of care was the highest-ranked priority. (The Japanese may be worrying about the cost of funerals, which can easily reach ¥3m, or $24,000; Americans may be worrying about medical bills, which can be ruinous.) In Brazil, where Catholicism prevails, the leading priority was being at peace spiritually. What Italians wanted most at the end was to have their loved ones around them. Doctors’ efforts to extend life near its end may not always be aligned with their patients' priorities: living as long as possible was deemed least important of the seven things that we asked about, except in Brazil where it tied with not burdening relatives financially.

The majority of people in each country had given “some” or “a great deal” of thought to their wishes for medical treatment in case of serious illness. But having spoken with their families about the subject was much less common, and putting wishes down in writing even rarer. Americans were most likely to have planned ahead: 56% had spoken with a loved one about the medical treatment they want if they were to become seriously ill; 27% had put their wishes in a written document. The Japanese were the most likely to have avoided the subject, even though Japan has the world’s oldest population. Less than a third had told their families about their wishes in case of serious illness and only 6% had put those wishes in writing.

In all four countries we polled, there was a huge discrepancy between what people wanted and what they expected to happen to them at the end. Majorities in each said that if they could choose where to die, they would die at home. Americans felt that particularly strongly, with nearly two-thirds preferring to die at home. In each of the four countries, however, the share who thought they were most likely to die at home fell about 30 percentage points short of the share who hoped to. By contrast, expecting to die in hospital was far more common than wishing to die there.

Around the world, the taboo on talking about death is starting to fade. Over time, that should help narrow the gap between what people want for their deaths, and what they are likely to get. As our editorial argues, though death is inevitable, a bad death is not.

Rob Duke's insight:
Another article that speaks to a culture's understanding of the "good life".
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A statistical analysis of the art on convicts’ bodies

A statistical analysis of the art on convicts’ bodies | Criminology and Economic Theory |

Individuals choose to write stuff on their bodies—or erase it—because of what that specific tattoo means to them. But the prevalence of tattooing in America’s prison population means that, in principle, it should be possible to formulate general rules about what people say on their bodies, too—to add a statistical meaning to the tattoo’s biographical, or simply graphical, one. The Economist decided to investigate what inferences about a life of crime it might be possible to draw from different types, and numbers, of tattoos.

The websites of many state prisons feature public, searchable databases of their inmates. The data usually include their names, height, weight, demographics, criminal histories, and, sometimes, whether or not they have any distinguishing marks, including tattoos. The most impressive of these, for our purposes, was that of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC): a downloadable database featuring records for all the 100,000 inmates currently incarcerated in the Florida state prison system. It provides a great deal of detail on their markings as well as their ethnicity, age and crimes. With a few lines of code it is possible to discover what tattoos a particular Florida inmate has, and where on their body they are located.

The most obvious thing these data show is just how common tattoos are. Our tabulations of the data show that three-quarters of the Florida prison population has at least one tattoo; the median inmate has three. The data also confirm how generational criminal tattoos are: a whopping 85% of prisoners under 35 have tattoos compared with 43% for prisoners aged 55 and over. In the public at large the rate is 23%. The majority of these tattoos have no explicit associations with the criminal world. The most popular designs and motifs include names, animals, mythical creatures (dragons and unicorns are especially voguish) and Christian symbols such as crosses, rosary beads and scrolls with verses from scripture.

If people’s ethnicity and sex determines their tattoos, can the same be said of their types of crime? Using data from the FDOC, The Economist built a series of statistical models to predict the likelihood criminals had committed particular crimes based on their demographic traits and choices of tattoos (see table).

Our analysis finds that inmates convicted of property crimes and weapons-possession offences have the most tattoos, while sex offenders, particularly those convicted of paedophilia, tend to have the fewest. Inmates with at least one tattoo were actually 9% less likely to have been incarcerated for murder than those without. The effect is even more pronounced for those with tattoos on the head or face, who are around 30% less likely to be murderers. Similar associations can be found for perpetrators of domestic crimes. Those relationships hold even after controlling for age, race and sex.

Some prison-specific motifs are also more common among the less violent. These include tattoos of clocks without hands, prison walls and spider webs, all reflecting the tedium of incarceration, and a popular tattoo depicting the thespian masks of comedy and tragedy along with the slogan “Laugh now, cry later”. Such tattoos are positively associated with low-level offences, but negatively associated with homicide.

Inmates with Christian tattoos—that is, those inked with images or passages from scripture—do seem to be slightly more virtuous. They are 10% less likely to be murderers than those without (this result holds regardless of any difference in types of crime committed between Hispanic and other prisoners). But though the godly may be slightly more good, the devilish are not obviously more evil; tattoos featuring pentagrams or images of Satan are not statistically significant predictors of homicidal tendencies.

Kevin Waters, a criminologist at Northern Michigan University and former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, notes that understanding which tattoos are purely aesthetic and which are signals can be a lot of help to law enforcement, distinguishing truly hardened criminals from posers—gang members do not take kindly to outsiders adopting their imagery. What can tattoos more directly associated with criminality tell us about an inmate?

A common Florida prison tattoo, predominantly seen on Hispanics, features three dots between the thumb and index finger. The tattoo is shorthand for mi vida loca, or “my crazy life”, and its wearers are 45% more likely to have been jailed for murder. Members of the Latin Kings, the largest gang in Florida, often sport tattoos of a five-pointed crown or the letters “ALKN”, which stands for “Almighty Latin King Nation”. Our analysis shows that inmates bearing such tattoos are especially dangerous—they are 89% more likely to be killers.

The truth in black and grey

Nazi imagery is the most obvious characteristic of white prison gangs, but they also favour classically European images ranging from four-leafed clovers to the Valknut, a Viking symbol comprised of three interlocking triangles. Perhaps because of their ubiquity, white-supremacist imagery is not as predictive of murder charges as some other tattoos—still, we find that inmates bearing such symbols were 19% more likely to be murderers.

Picking up on your cellmate’s record from his skin is doubtless a useful skill for those inside. Policymakers, though, may care more about what tattoos say about the future than what they reveal about the past. Nearly half of inmates released from federal prisons and placed under supervision, and three-quarters of those from state prisons, are rearrested within five years of release. Demographics serve as depressingly effective predictors of recidivism. At the federal level, eight years after release, men are 43% more likely to be taken back under arrest than women; African-Americans are 42% more likely than whites, and high-school dropouts are three times more likely to be rearrested than college graduates.

How do tattoos fit in the picture? In a study published in 2013 Mr Waters, along with fellow researchers William Bales and Thomas Blomberg, looked at the link between recidivism and the presence of tattoos in Florida prisoners. They found that after controlling for demographics and crimes committed, inmates with tattoos were 42% more likely to be re-incarcerated for committing a violent crime. A subsequent study by Kaitlyn Harger, now of Florida Gulf Coast University, found that upon release, ex-cons with tattoos could be expected to last just 2.4 years outside prison before being re-incarcerated, compared with 5.8 years for those without. The effect was especially pronounced for those with tattoos on the hands and face.

Our own analysis of Florida prison data corroborates previous research. We find that of the 60,000 first-term prisoners released between 1998 and 2002, 45% have since landed themselves back in prison. Tattoos are unreasonably effective predictors of recidivism: we find that of the inmates who have been re-incarcerated, 75% percent had tattoos. Just 30% of the former convicts who have managed to stay out of prison were noted as having tattoos. Gang life looks notably hard to escape. Eighty-one per cent of those recorded with Latin Kings tattoos were rearrested at least once after their initial release.

Predictive as they may be, it would be hard and probably foolish to argue that the tattoos cause the recidivism; far more likely that both reflect something else about character and circumstance. Similarly, tattoo-removal programmes seem unlikely in and of themselves to make anyone an intrinsically better person. But they can reflect a genuine investment in change (remember those burning rubber bands) and they may also help reduce the amount of discrimination reformed ex-cons face.

As tattoos permeate the mainstream, though, being ink-free may mean less and less. Attitudes towards tattoos are liberalising: in a study that the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank, released in 2010 38% of Americans aged 18-29 had tattoos, compared with 15% for those aged 46-64. Indeed, an intriguing example of their mainstreaming can be seen in the influence of Californian prison gangs on tattoo culture at large.

Tattooing behind bars is prohibited. This does not come close to stopping it; but it does mean inmates must be creative when it comes to art supplies. One constraint is ink, which often has to be improvised from materials like boot polish or the soot from burned textiles—say, cotton. Such sources limit artists to monochromatic tattoos.

Finding the right tools can be challenging too, as hand-poking a tattoo on one point at a time can be both laborious and painful. A breakthrough came in the 1970s when inmates in California discovered how to create improvised tattoo guns using the motors from cassette players. The new gadgets made tattooing behind bars quicker, but featured only a single needle, which made drawing thick lines more difficult.

These constraints, along with the aesthetic sensibilities of Hispanic prison gangs, led to an entirely new style of tattoo—the “black and grey”. The style’s thin lines and colourless palette was put to the service of more realistic imagery than Americans had previously been accustomed to. The style quickly spread to prisons in other states—and then to the outside world.

Freddy Negrete, one of the original pioneers of the black and grey when an inmate (and the originator of the “Laugh now, cry later” motif), notes that initially, people on the outside got the tattoos so as to look as if they had been in prison. But he suspects that the hipsters and celebrities he now tattoos in the same style at his parlour on Sunset Boulevard know nothing of the style’s origin.

Nor, it seems likely, would most of them feel comfortable around the gang members from whom their style of tattoo is derived. Walking through the doors of Homeboy Industries is a jarring experience for those who have no previous experience of a life of crime beyond the occasional speeding violation: the dozens of former convicts decorated with images of skulls and Aztec warriors in the lobby look pretty forbidding. Some are inked from head to toe. Very few are keen on eye contact.

But walking through those doors for job advice, for a tattoo removal, or for any sort of help can be just as difficult. The staff, many of them former convicts themselves, are eager to help, but the criminal life is not one which fosters trust in others. Many former convicts have too much pride to ask for help. Others are convinced that they can never reform themselves. But for those who can muster up the courage, removing the marks of a prison tattoo can be the ultimate act of rebellion.

Rob Duke's insight:
This is a long post, but I gleaned out much of what seemed not to speak directly to the question of the predictive ability of tattoos to link with future criminality:

Location and content are the big indicators.  Face and neck and specific gangs or imagery are to be looked for....

Nearly all can be helped by removing tattoos from visible areas.
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Doing the splits

Doing the splits | Criminology and Economic Theory |

IN THE demi-monde of Kabukicho, a warren of striptease bars, cabaret clubs and brothel fronts that makes up Tokyo’s main red-light district, the night manager of the Parisienne Café frets about the yakuza. Japan’s biggest organised-crime group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, with 23,400 members, split last month. On September 5th more than a dozen of its factions gelled into a new, rival outfit. A yakuza shoot-out with Chinese mobsters in the Parisienne once killed one gang member and injured more. The café’s manager now fears the risk of renewed warfare.

The police are bracing themselves for violence up and down Japan. They are out in force in Kabukicho and Ginza, the capital’s best-known shopping district, as well as in the cities of Kobe, Osaka and Nagoya, all big yakuza strongholds. At the time of the last yakuza split, in 1984, two dozen gang members died in territorial battles—an orgy of bloodshed by the country’s ultra-safe standards. In the past few years fire-bombings, death threats and murders by gangs in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, have eroded the public’s tolerance of the gangs.

For all that, the yakuza remain largely legal. Membership is no crime. Mobsters commute to official headquarters, proffer business cards and enjoy pension plans. The Yamaguchi-gumi recently launched an in-house newspaper with articles on board games and fishing. Its boss, Shinobu Tsukasa, portrays the group as a refuge for the weak and marginalised; it helps keep order at the bottom rungs of society.

The split has partly to do with the economy. Two decades of Japan’s flirting with deflation has made it harder to extort money from businesses, yet the Yamaguchi-gumi kept its membership dues high (the new gang has promised to lower them). Criticism over Mr Tsukasa’s leadership was a factor too. Other factions have long resented the dominant position of his Kodo-kai, the most go-ahead yakuza group that has tried to expand beyond its base in Nagoya into gleamingly prosperous Tokyo and the rest of the Kanto region of eastern Japan. Mobsters in the port cities of Kobe and Osaka were left with slimmer pickings as industry declined.

Kodo-kai also fell out with the police. Rather than co-operating with the cops, as other factions do, it started intimidating them. The gang has many ethnic Koreans as members. That makes it harder for it to rub along with a xenophobic police, says Jake Adelstein, an American expert on the yakuza. The police appear even to be helping the breakaway group, which will call itself the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.

Many Japanese dare to hope that the split is a sign that the yakuza are diminishing in power and influence. They are a source of a certain embarrassment, and America, in particular, has been critical of their semi-tolerated status. A national anti-mob law passed in 1992 achieved little until it was tightened recently. And since 2009 local governments have enacted organised-crime exclusion ordinances, making it illegal for businesses to pay extortion money to the yakuza or do business with them. These ordinances are having an effect.

Still, signs of strong yakuza presence throughout the economy surface regularly. Tokyo’s Olympic games in 2020—with construction projects and pleasure-seeking visitors—is a tempting honeypot. In the Diet there have been questions about a possible link between Mr Tsukasa and the vice-president of Japan’s Olympic Committee. In October 2013 the financial watchdog caught a part of Mizuho, a huge banking group, lending generously to yakuza. Mobsters have long been involved in finding lowly workers for nuclear-power plants, including for the clean-up at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Curiously, yakuza see themselves as victims. They complain of growing social discrimination against their members and bemoan the bullying of their children at school. Perhaps to garner popularity, they are even trying to take advantage of growing sentiment against the prime minister, Shinzo Abe. The Yamaguchi-gumi’s website warns that under Mr Abe, a right-winger with revisionist views of Japan’s militarist aggression, the country risks heading back to pre-second world war thinking. It is a new line from a force that used to help Mr Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) quash unions and left-wing demonstrators in the 1950s and 1960s.

Back then the LDP used openly to get money from yakuza bosses. The ties are no longer overt, says Kenji Ino, an author on the gangs, but there are behind-the-scenes connections. Many a politician, he says, still attends monthly dinners in honour of the local yakuza boss in some discreet, high-class ryotei restaurant. It is not clear whether such time-honoured rituals will now suffer a brief period of disruption.

Rob Duke's insight:
Part II: also a 2 min. audio file.
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The minimum age of criminal responsibility continues to divide opinion

The minimum age of criminal responsibility continues to divide opinion | Criminology and Economic Theory |

COMMON law has long held that committing a crime requires both a prohibited act and a “mens rea”, or “guilty mind”—the criminal knowing that the act was wrong. There is no global consensus regarding the youngest age at which a child can be deemed to have such intent, and thus can be tried and convicted of a criminal offence. Ten years ago the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended an “absolute minimum” age of 12 for criminal responsibility, and urged countries “to continue to increase it to a higher age level”. The Philippines appears poised to move in the opposite direction: lawmakers there have proposed reducing the cut-off from 15 years old to nine. The bill has prompted sharp criticism both at home and abroad, and legislators are still arguing over its text.

Not long ago the Philippines earned a reputation for a relatively progressive stance on this issue. It introduced its current minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) in 2006, making it one of just 19 countries whose MACR is 15 or older. However, Rodrigo Duterte, the president, has adopted a harsh “tough-on-crime” agenda. The bill’s supporters say it would stop adult criminals from recruiting children under the age of criminal responsibility for drug-trafficking. Human-rights advocates counter that there is no evidence that this would reduce crime. Instead, says Leo Ratledge of Child Rights International Network, a British charity, it would punish victims of exploitation rather than those who exploit them.

The other members of the MACR-above-14 club are an incongruous bunch. Predictably, they include places like Norway and Sweden, which take a generally liberal approach to criminal justice. However, the top of the table is occupied by less developed countries that happen to have revised their juvenile-justice laws in recent years: in Timor-Leste and Mozambique, the MACR is now 16. Although most European states sit comfortably above the UN recommendation, there are notable exceptions. Scotland can hand out criminal records to eight-year-olds, though legislation is being mooted that will raise the minimum age limit to 12. In the rest of Britain, ten-year-olds can be tried for a crime. This British colonial legacy is reflected in the relatively low MACRs seen in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Similarly, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are among the 21 countries that set a MACR of seven, the lowest national age globally. 

In some cases the law is not clear-cut. The MACR in Comoros is based on puberty. It can differ by sex (as in Iran) or type of offence (Malaysia), while Poland and France entrust the issue to judges’ discretion. Nonetheless, even a vague minimum of “puberty” provides more protection than simply having no MACR at all. Just a handful of countries have no national MACR. The most striking is the United States. Although America sets a threshold of 11 years old for federal offences, the overwhelming share of crimes are policed at the state level. And 35 out of the 50 states have not set a MACR, putting them in a club with Cuba, Malaysia (exclusively for terrorism) and Sudan (for drug offences).

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States unhappy with rollback of hands-off federal guidelines on pot laws

States unhappy with rollback of hands-off federal guidelines on pot laws | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Several states that allow marijuana use reacted with frustration to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' rescinding of Obama-era guidelines that established a hands-off approach to their marijuana-friendly laws.
Kimber Elena Andruss's comment, January 15, 8:14 PM
A lot of people are reacting in a knee-jerk manner toward the recalling of the 2013 Cole memo, but I think that this is primarily an emotional education backed by a less-than-thorough understand of the actual Cole memo's contents to begin with. Although marijuana remains illegal federally, as it has been since states begin legalizing, the recalling of the Cole memo does not invalidate the individual state's rights to legalize; it instead allows the federal government the backing for persecution if necessary. What that (foggy) sentence means is that *if* prosecution is deemed necessary by federal government, they will not be impeded in doing so. Although the legal jargon involved seems muddled and simultaneously impressive, the likelihood of federal prosecution of marijuana-related crimes seems minimal, and will probably be reserved for trafficking across borders of states or store's non-compliance with taxes, etc. The bottom line is that we're not going to see Anchorage FBI SWAT seizing anyone's pot anytime soon, despite what everyone's fearful rumors say.
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Boris Becker's son to press charges over AfD MP's 'clearly racist' tweet

Boris Becker's son to press charges over AfD MP's 'clearly racist' tweet | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Noah Becker, son of the German tennis star Boris Becker, plans to press charges against a deputy from a far-right party who called him a “little half-negro” on Twitter, the Bild newspaper has reported.

The 23-year-old, whose mother, Barbara Becker, is the daughter of an African American man and a German woman, took the decision in consultation with his father.

“I have been retained to quickly take the necessary steps under criminal and civil law against MP Jens Maier on the basis of this clearly racist tweet,” the Becker family lawyer Christian-Oliver Moser told Bild.

Maier, a former judge who was one of nearly 100 members of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party elected to parliament in the September election, had attacked Noah Becker over an interview in which he complained about being seen as the “eternal son” of his famous father.

“It seems the little half-negro simply got too little attention – that’s the only explanation for his behaviour,” said the tweet posted from Maier’s account on Tuesday.

It has since been deleted and Maier told Bild that one of his staff members had written it. It was the second time in a week that AfD deputies had stirred outrage on social media.
Rob Duke's insight:
More on the new German law that outlaws "hate speech" on social media.
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Jewels stolen from Venice exhibition in brazen daytime heist

Jewels stolen from Venice exhibition in brazen daytime heist | Criminology and Economic Theory |
In a plot worthy of a Hollywood heist film, thieves mingled with visitors at an exhibition in Venice on Wednesday and made off with gems worth millions.
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The Golden State’s new pot laws are almost comically progressive

The Golden State’s new pot laws are almost comically progressive | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Besides California, seven other states and the District of Columbia have legalised the sale of recreational marijuana. But California is different in two ways. First is its size. With legalisation, California—the world’s sixth-largest economy—instantly became the largest legal market for recreational marijuana. A study by the University of California Agricultural Issues Centre at the University of California, Davis predicts that sales from recreational cannabis will eventually reach $5bn a year. The state already sells marijuana worth more than $2bn a year for medical purposes. For comparison, Colorado sold $1.3bn in total, for recreational and medical use, in 2016. 

Second, perhaps unsurprisingly for a state seen as a Petri dish for socially liberal policy, California’s new regulations are notably progressive. For a start, they allow residents convicted of drug offences that would not be crimes under the new order to have their records expunged. Between November 2016, when Proposition 64 was passed, and September 2017, 4,885 Californians petitioned to reduce or void their convictions. Donnie Anderson, chairman of the California Minority Alliance, which champions people who have been harmed by drug criminalisation, applauds this initiative. “In the past, if you were white and caught with marijuana you would be let off. If you were black or Latino, you were not,” he says. A study by the American Civil Liberties Union, an advocacy group, found that between 2001 and 2010 African-Americans were more than three times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white Americans, despite similar consumption rates. 

California’s law also allows those convicted of past marijuana crimes to enter the cannabis industry. Jolene Forman of the Drug Policy Alliance, a pressure group, says this is ideal for two reasons. First, it allows people who have been operating black-market cannabis businesses to become legal. Second, it gives people harmed by the war on drugs the chance to profit in the legal cannabis industry. 

With the revenue raised from recreational marijuana sales, California hopes to reduce some of the harms of criminalisation. After deductions for cannabis research and community programmes in the areas most affected by past marijuana policies, among other things, three-fifths of tax revenues from the purchase of recreational marijuana will go towards anti-addiction programmes and education about drug abuse. A fifth will go towards cleaning up environmental damage caused by illegal cannabis-growing. For comparison, the largest share of tax revenues in Oregon, another deeply progressive state, goes to a general education fund. 

Some cities in the Golden State are taking things even further. In Los Angeles, residents with past marijuana convictions will not only be allowed to buy licences to sell the drug, but will be given priority. Under the city’s “social-equity programme”, low-income Angelenos who have previous marijuana convictions or who have lived in areas with disproportionately high rates of arrest for marijuana offences will be given preference when licences to open marijuana retail businesses are granted. Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento have introduced similar initiatives.
Rob Duke's insight:
Cops are, by-and-large, a conservative lot, but even so, the courts had already reduced Marijuana possession to a non-bookable misdemeanor (somewhere around 1968), so to say that cops let White people go and arrested minorities is not at all accurate.  I had a student who was writing all his papers on decriminalization working up towards doing a M.A. thesis on the topic (smart way to do it--if you ask me).  He gave a speech in one of my classes and stated "x" number of people were arrested in California in about 2006 for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana (it was somewhere around 132 in the entire state).  I chuckled and said: "no, what you mean is that 132 people had an attitude with the police while also holding less than an ounce of marijuana".  It was just not seen as serious or a priority, so the only way you were charged was if you also failed the "attitude test".
Realize that I worked the length and breadth of the state for nearly 3 decades.  I started in San Bernardino/Riverside.  Went to a public safety officer academy in Orange County and the police academy in East L.A. (Rio Hondo: ooh rah!).  As a detective, I worked cases down to San Diego, out to the desert and as far north as Ventura County (where I grew up).  I worked all the way north at the border with Oregon and down in the Steinbeck farm country of Monterey and San Benito counties.  I worked the foothills above Sacramento, Lodi, and Stockton.  I did my dissertation on the Mother Lode between Quincy in the North and down to Oakhurst in the south.  And, finally, I finished up my career in Fresno.  I think I make a pretty good case that I saw a representative slice of how law enforcement was done in California.  It was the same everywhere for most things and certainly for how marijuana was handled.
Now, production, distribution, transportation, etc. were all handled by mid-level and regional teams.  Folks involved in "pushing" marijuana were treated like other drug dealers.  Even so, I never saw White dealers treated more leniently than were minorities.  I can't speak for the outcomes at the prosecution or trial level, but I never detected a difference at the policing level.
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Bill would award workers’ comp to off-duty CA cops injured in Vegas shooting and other out-of-state crimes

Bill would award workers’ comp to off-duty CA cops injured in Vegas shooting and other out-of-state crimes | Criminology and Economic Theory |
California police officers wounded in October’s Las Vegas mass shooting while off-duty could receive public injury benefits under a bill introduced by an Anaheim state assemblyman.

Assemblyman Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, who introduced the bill on Jan. 3, said he authored the legislation after Orange County denied workers’ compensation claims from four of its sheriff’s deputies injured during the shooting. County attorneys have said state law doesn’t allow them to extend such benefits to the wounded deputies because the officers were off-duty concertgoers and out of state when they were injured.

Daly’s bill, AB 1749, changes language in the state’s labor code so it clearly requires workers’ compensation benefits to be paid to California police officers injured off duty while responding to out-of-state crimes and life-threatening emergencies. Daly has said he thinks state law already requires cities and counties to pay those benefits and that his bill simply clarifies the law’s intent so that California officers injured in the Las Vegas shooting can receive aid.
Rob Duke's insight:
It only makes sense with the 5-state compact giving officers jurisdiction 50 miles into the neighboring states.  Also, officers routinely pick up prisoners from out of state, so this will continue to be a problem for a few officers every year.
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Tobacco shops associated with crime in urban communities of color

Tobacco shops associated with crime in urban communities of color | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Tobacco shops, also known as smoke shops, may represent potential "nuisance properties" in urban communities of color, a study led by a researcher at the University of California, Riverside has found. Nuisance properties are properties where unsafe activities affecting public health and safety occur repeatedly.

Past research has shown that alcohol outlets such as liquor or corner stores may promote nuisance activities like robberies, drug use, or other crimes in urban communities, rendering them unsafe for residents to walk by or visit. Other examples of nuisance properties are motels, payday lenders, and vacant homes and lots. Add to this list now tobacco shops.

"We know alcohol outlets can be associated with unsafe nuisance activities in urban areas, but this study appears to be the first to suggest U.S. tobacco shops may also impact public health," said Andrew Subica, Ph.D., an assistant professor of social medicine, population, and public health in the School of Medicine, who led the study that focused on South Los Angeles, Calif. "Our analyses show that in South Los Angeles tobacco shops as well as liquor stores were associated with high levels of violent and property crime around their locations. This finding is important because tobacco shops are common in many cities, but until this study have not been viewed as possible public health threats. "
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Japanese Cops Say Logan Paul Videos Broke the Law—and They’d Just Love to Nail Him

Japanese Cops Say Logan Paul Videos Broke the Law—and They’d Just Love to Nail Him | Criminology and Economic Theory |
One of Japan’s most decorated former police officers, Taihei Ogawa, author of The Detective Who Pursued Burglars, was not reluctant to speak. In fact, in response to an email from The Daily Beast, he called enthusiastically around midnight Japan time to give his take on the matter.  

“This kind of behavior sets a terrible precedent before the 2020 Olympics. If other people see these videos and think they can get away with doing this in Japan, it won’t end well,” he cautions. “There are numerous possible illegal acts in his videos, but here are the ones I think are most likely to merit investigation and prosecution.”

Mr. Ogawa then dissected the clips from the standpoint of a veteran detective.

“He throws a Japanese persimmon at the wall in his hotel and stains it. Not only a waste of a good persimmon but that’s destruction of property, one count. There are more.”

Ogawa notes several violations of the Road Traffic Laws.

“He runs a red light and puts his hands in a car stopped at the crossing. That’s a traffic violation–and one of many. Even tossing a ball into the basket of a moving bicycle is a traffic violation, which he does. Sleeping in the middle of the road—another. Throwing stuffed animals at a car, another.  He’s a traffic cop’s worst nightmare—or maybe a dream come true, if they really like their job.”

In addition to this, Paul may also be guilty of “forcible obstruction of business operations.”

“At the fish market, he jumps on board a conveyor cart without permission. He then jumps on the back of a truck. He takes raw fish and an octopus and pushes them against the windows at Shibuya Crossing’s video rental shop, Tsutaya, bothering customers. He carries the sea food into a western clothing store with him and touches the clothing―which is not only interfering with business, that could also be an additional count of destruction of property. The smell must have been awful.”

Ogawa notes that in practice police don’t investigate obstruction of business cases unless the victim has filed a criminal complaint. If public outcry was loud enough, though, the police might encourage the businesses to file.

Even without criminal charges, Paul still seems to be in trouble. “He pulls down his pants in the middle of the street and appears to be butt naked,” notes Ogawa. “There’s a mosaic covering the video, so it’s not clear if his chin-chin is showing, but if that was the case, that’s public obscenity.”

As Daily Beast readers know, Japan’s police take public indecency quite seriously. Megumi Igarashi, the so-called “vagina artist,” was nabbed and held in custody for weeks when she made 3D images of her genitalia.

In the videos, Paul also throws Pokemon balls at numerous people, including a policeman. “They’re soft balls. It would be hard to call that assault,” said one veteran cop. “However, it’s a jackass thing to do. And throwing them at a very tolerant police officer doesn’t win him points with us.”

Ogawa has some harsh words for Paul. “It’s not an issue that you’re Japanese or a foreigner—but that you’re breaking the law. And you’re showing these lawless acts to thousands of people who follow you on YouTube, which sets a bad example. Even if you did things as a prank, you damaged property, you bothered people, you obstructed the work of innocent people trying to make an honest living, you were rude to many and you were a pain in the ass. If the hotel wanted to press charges, any police department would follow up on it—and you have uploaded the evidence for them.”

Ogawa says that the small scale of Paul’s crimes would not likely result in an international arrest warrant. However, as long as Paul is not in Japan, “the statute of limitations doesn’t kick in. Ten years from now he could still be arrested.”

If Paul comes back, Ogawa predicts that it is highly likely he would be asked by the police to come in for questioning. If he refused to come in voluntarily, he’d probably be arrested. And once someone is caught up in the wheels of the Japanese justice system, where you often are presumed guilty until proven guilty, they don’t get out easily. He advises Paul that he should send his lawyers in advance to settle accounts, if he ever wants to come back to Japan.
Rob Duke's insight:
An insight into Japanese culture, policing, and maybe a little about the "ugly American"....
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Why Italy has not yet suffered Islamist terrorism

Why Italy has not yet suffered Islamist terrorism | Criminology and Economic Theory |

THE image is of a young man with his back turned, grasping a large knife. Beside him in stark white capitals are the Italian words “Devi combatterli” (“You must fight them”). The photo-montage, circulated in late August on Telegram, the favoured communications app of Islamic State (IS), is a blatant incitement to “lone wolves” to kill Italians. It was reproduced on the website of Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist communications, days after a video circulated of masked, IS-affiliated guerrillas in the Philippines sacking a Roman Catholic church and ripping up a picture of Pope Francis.

“You. Kafir [Infidel]. Remember this,” says a masked figure, wagging his finger at the camera. “We will be in Rome, inshallah.” His threat, from 10,000km away, may be far-fetched. The attraction for jihadists of an attack on the seat of Western Christendom is certainly not. So it is remarkable that Italy should not have experienced a single deadly jihadist attack when Britain, France, Germany and Spain have all been targeted—not least because it undermines the argument for a link between illegal immigration and terrorism (in the first half of 2017, Italy accounted for 82% of unauthorised arrivals in Europe).

The most colourful explanation for the Italian exception is that Italy’s mafias have quietly deterred jihadists from gaining a toehold. The defect of that idea, says Arturo Varvelli of the Milan-based Institute for International Political Studies, a think-tank, is that Italy’s mobsters exert greater control in the south, whereas a sizeable majority of its Muslims live in the north.

“To some extent, it is the Mafia,” says a senior law-enforcement official. “But not in the way most people mean.” The fight against Italy’s formidably organised criminals has given its police a wealth of experience in monitoring tightly knit target groups. It was enhanced by the campaign to subdue the left- and right-wing terrorists who wrought havoc in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s. Organised crime and terrorism have also encouraged judges to take a more expansive attitude than in other European countries to issuing warrants for wiretaps and particularly to the electronic surveillance of suspects’ conversations. Italy’s recent history may also explain its hardline approach to apologists for terrorism.

On September 24th, when a Boeing 737 took off from Bologna airport bound for Tirana, the capital of Albania, it carried the 209th person to be expelled from Italy since the start of 2015 for reasons of “religious extremism”. The 22-year-old Muslim had been released from custody a day earlier, after being arrested for trying to persuade worshippers not to enter a church. He had been under constant police scrutiny since first being detained in 2016.

But, as Italian law-enforcement agents readily concede, they have fewer suspects to monitor than their French and British counterparts, and that is only partly because large numbers have been deported. The number of IS “foreign fighters” from each European country offers a guide to radicalisation. A study for the American National Bureau of Economic Research, using figures from 2014-15, found only 87 foreign fighters from Italy, compared with 760 from Britain and perhaps 2,500 from France (all three countries have similar populations). That, argues Mr Varvelli, is for two reasons. First, few of Italy’s Muslim immigrants belong to the second generation, which is the most susceptible to radicalisation (0.3% of Italian residents are second-generation immigrants of non-EU origin, against 3% in Britain and 3.9% in France). Second, Italy has no Muslim ghettos like the French banlieues.

Michele Groppi, who teaches at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, points to a third important factor: evidence to suggest that, while al-Qaeda was the dominant force in the jihadist world, it used Italy as its logistical base in Europe. “That is what kept us safe; they needed us,” he says. The situation has changed since: several jihadists who have recently attained notoriety have had links to Italy. Among them is Youssef Zaghba, a Moroccan-born Italian and one of the three terrorists who used a truck and some knives to kill eight people on and around London Bridge on June 3rd. Mr Groppi worries that if Libya were to become the next theatre of jihadist insurgency, Italy and the Vatican could become prime targets.

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After 18 years, Grants Pass woman finds her sister was murdered in 1999 cold case

After 18 years, Grants Pass woman finds her sister was murdered in 1999 cold case | Criminology and Economic Theory |
It was eight months ago that a Chastity Pinedo received a mysterious message from an Arizona detective about a cold case dating back to 1999.A DNA revealed the victim in the case was her sister.The case dates back almost two decades, when a woman's body wa
Kimber Elena Andruss's comment, January 15, 8:05 PM
I cannot imagine the amount of closure that this brought Angel's family. While I cannot imagine the loss of a loved one, I think the constant wondering and possibility of "what if" would drive me completely insane. One of the most incredible things that has come with the advances of technology is the answers- and relief- that can be provided to family members and loved ones regarding their missing. When we think of DNA analysis, it's often in regard to the solving of crimes or absolving wrongfully convicted and freeing them. I think that society frequently forgets that the identities of victims are not just drifters or loners, but individuals withe someone somewhere who would at least like to know what happened. I am glad that Angel's family will be able to put her to rest.
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The Answer to Public Health Crises Might Be in the Sewer

The Answer to Public Health Crises Might Be in the Sewer | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Newsha Ghaeli and Mariana Matus’ big idea doesn’t exactly sound glamorous—but it might just revolutionize the way we handle public health issues.

Ghaeli, an MIT research fellow, and Matus, an MIT Ph.D. candidate, are the founders of Biobot Analytics, a startup that seeks to bring cities extensive, proactive public health data by capitalizing on the treasure trove of data hiding in urban sewer systems.

By analyzing samples from the sewer, Ghaeli says, Biobot is adapting individualized methods of studying the human microbiome “to the urban scale, and really looking at the sewer system as being analogous to the human gut. Everything’s naturally aggregating there, it’s naturally anonymized. It’s just a matter of getting it out and bringing it back to the lab.”

If you’re still skeptical, you’re not alone. Matus remembers pitching the idea to members of her lab, and initially hearing crickets. “Everybody in the lab was like, ‘Oh that’s just a silly idea, it’s never going to work, who would want to do that?” she remembers.

Fast-forward a little, though, and the duo—who just completed the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship’s Delta V accelerator program, which trains students to think and work like entrepreneurs—has brought on a number of additional staff members, and secured a 12-week pilot program with an as-yet-unannounced city in the Northeast. The company also recently deployed a prototype sampler in Cambridge, and has at least five other partner cities in the sales pipeline. The product is targeted toward cities of 100,000 people or more, and would take samples from areas with at least 4,000 residents to ensure both anonymity and scope of data.

For now, Biobot is focusing on extracting opioid consumption data from sewage. Ghaeli says having objective, ever-updating reads on drug use could help cities target prevention and treatment efforts, while also tracking the success of those programs over time. Beyond that, opioid abuse is a public health issue in serious need of innovation. When the team quizzed public health and government officials about the biggest issues plaguing their cities, “We got opioids across the board,” Ghaeli says.

In the future, however, Biobot could also tackle everything from antibiotic resistance trends to infectious disease outbreaks. It could even have major implications for developing nations struggling to build out wastewater infrastructure, Matus explains.
Rob Duke's insight:
This is an interesting data point that could become common info for police investigations combined with community policing.
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Measuring Colorado's "great experiment" with marijuana

Measuring Colorado's "great experiment" with marijuana | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Five years after the state voted to allow recreational use of the drug, more states have legalized marijuana. What does Colorado's experience teach us?
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Why the yakuza are not illegal

Why the yakuza are not illegal | Criminology and Economic Theory |

The Economist explains

THE Yamaguchi-Gumi, one of the world's largest and most ferocious gangs, is estimated to earn over $6 billion a year from drugs, protection, loan-sharking, real-estate rackets and even, it is said, Japan’s stock exchange. This year, the organisation's 100th, over 2,000 of its 23,400 members split away, leaving police nervous about what fallout might follow; a war between rival gangs in the mid-1980s claimed over two dozen lives. And yet membership of the yakuza—as Japan's crime syndicates are known—is not technically illegal. Finding a mob hangout requires little more than a telephone book. Tokyo’s richest crime group has an office tucked off the back streets of the glitzy Ginza shopping district. A bronze nameplate on the door helpfully identifies the Sumiyoshi-kai, another large criminal organisation. Full gang members carry business cards and register with the police. Some have pension plans.

The yakuza emerged from misfit pedlars and gamblers in the Edo period (between 1603 and 1868) that formed into criminal gangs. During Japan’s turbo-charged modernisation, they reached deep into the economy; after the second world war they grew powerful in black markets. Their might peaked in the 1960s with an estimated membership of 184,000. At their zenith, they had strong links to conservative politicians and were used by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Japan’s post-war political behemoth, to break up unions and left-wing demonstrations. Such ties may not have completely faded. 

This history may explain in part why the gangs are not exactly illegal. But partly under pressure from America, which wants Japan to rein in financial crime, the mob is being brought to heel. Yakuza-exclusion ordinances, introduced three years ago, stop companies from knowingly engaging in business with gangsters. Businesses from banks to corner shops are now obliged to confirm that customers have no ties to organised crime. Known gangsters cannot open bank accounts. Still, there are no plans to criminalise the gangs themselves. The police believe that would drive crime underground, says Hiroki Allen, a security and finance consultant who studies the yakuza. At least now they are regulated and subject to the law, he says: gangsters have often been known to surrender by walking into police stations. “If one member does something bad you can call in the boss and take the whole gang down,” he says.

The upshot is that the yakuza still operate in plain view in a way that would be unthinkable in America or Europe. Fan magazines, comic books and movies glamorise them. Major gang bosses are quasi-celebrities. Though membership has shrunk to a record low of 53,500, according to the National Police Agency, "muscle work" is subcontracted to freelancers with no police records. A tougher core of gangsters has migrated from the mob's traditional cash cows into financial crimes that may be harder to detect. The yakuza have also been involved in the Fukushima nuclear cleanup and are thought to be eyeing rich pickings from construction and entertainment ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As long as violence from the recent split does not spill over into the streets, nobody expects the yakuza to be seriously impeded. Japan, it seems, prefers organised crime to the disorganised alternative.

Krista Scott's comment, January 11, 11:04 PM
Having lived in Japan for half of my life 13 years to be exact due to my parents being military. I am pretty well aware and know much of the Yakuza holds power in Japan. Its actually very shocking to see how much power they have control of most small businesses. This article seems about factual though due to the fact that in Japan it doesn't seem like the Yakuza is as active throughout the country like before.
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Migrant workers in South Korea are often better off in prison

Migrant workers in South Korea are often better off in prison | Criminology and Economic Theory |

THE government of South Korea describes Cheonan prison, south of Seoul, as “the world’s first specialised foreigner correctional facility”. It must also be one of the most humane, with its gallery of softly lit art and its designated smile zones (for guards and inmates alike). There are sing-alongs to Korean pop music, language classes over hot tea and snacks, and a library stocked with over 5,000 foreign books. Foreign lawbreakers are usually sent to the prison, which opened in 2010 (and also houses 700 South Koreans, in a separate wing). Yet the inmates embarking on its “Good Morning Korea” programme of cultural education typically serve short sentences before being deported.

Cheonan is the only prison in the country to offer halal food, as well as 30 minutes a day of TV programming in Chinese, English and Arabic (over two-thirds of the inmates are Chinese; Americans make up the second-largest group). Its wardens say they also hope the 600-odd prisoners, from 35 countries, can serve as “ambassadors for Korea” when they return home, armed with taekwondo philosophy and K-pop anthems. Some ex-convicts have left with business plans to set up as tour operators to the country.

Cheonan is in part a reflection of South Korea’s growing acceptance of outsiders. More than 2m foreigners live in the country—a relatively small proportion of its population of 50m, but a huge increase compared with only a few years ago. The number of foreigners working in South Korea has risen more than thirtyfold since 2000, to over 600,000 last year. Of these, 221,000 were in the country on an employment-permit system that has, since 2004, allowed unskilled workers from 15 Asian countries to fill yearly quotas for dirty or dangerous low-paid jobs. They toil at tasks shunned by newly rich South Koreans, such as oil-drum cleaning or pig farming, in industries including agriculture, fisheries and construction.

The thoughtful treatment foreigners receive in prison is harder to find outside it. Migrant workers, mainly from South-East Asia, are becoming a new underclass. In a government survey of female migrants in agriculture, two-thirds lived in makeshift housing such as container boxes or greenhouses (employers often withhold part of their wage in return for accommodation); over three-quarters were given fewer than two days off a month. In January two Cambodians in their 20s were reported to have died from cold and exhaustion.

Another recent survey, by Amnesty International, suggests that four-fifths of migrant farm labourers are not paid for overtime, despite typically working 50 hours a month longer than their contracts require. Though all workers must sit a basic Korean-language test in their home countries to qualify for the visa, hardly any are equipped for the rural dialects they hear. Abuse from employers is common. Lawyers such as Go Jieun, part of a group that represents migrant workers free of charge, encourage them to record unfair treatment on their phones.

Udaya Rai, a Nepali who heads South Korea’s migrant workers’ union, says little effort is made to protect migrants from exploitation or violence. Changing jobs requires employers’ permission. Police have been known to turn away migrants “with blood running down their faces”, he claims, telling them to resolve problems with their employers directly. Many are told that if they report abuse they may not receive their wages. Those who leave work to do so are sometimes reported by their employers for absconding, which can land them in one of the country’s three immigration detention centres, where they can be held without a warrant.

Mr Rai says the biggest problem is that South Koreans still view the employment of migrants as a form of charity, rather than as a boon for the economy. It took the migrant workers’ union a decade to win official status, eventually conferred by the supreme court in 2015. The union represents illegal migrants too, who make up over one-tenth of foreigners in South Korea. Many of them have overstayed their visas while trying to claim unpaid wages.

A warden at Cheonan says he hopes delinquents will leave the prison with “a more positive view of South Korean society”. Some migrant workers may need a stint behind bars to see it.

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How DOJ's change to pot prosecution affects CA's biz

How DOJ's change to pot prosecution affects CA's biz | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Buyers and small shops are more likely to escape the fed's view. But larger operations might draw the attention of prosecutors.
Krista Scott's comment, January 11, 11:39 PM
I think that the legalization of pot in states that have it legalized need to relook at what needs to be done to protect pot store owners from the federal prosecutors. I think the DOJ is going a little overboard with this change nor do I think we should use tax dollars to punish pot business owners for technically abiding by state law. This policy is not only going to cause problems but it just shows how much we need change and reform with our federal laws. There needs to be a blanket to protect citizens who are following state laws.
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Iran's Revolutionary Guards claim protests over

Iran's Revolutionary Guards claim protests over | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Wednesday that a string of anti-government protests were over after six days of unrest.
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Revisiting the world’s most violent cities

Revisiting the world’s most violent cities | Criminology and Economic Theory |

THE thorny task of comparing crime rates across the world is tricky because legal interpretations vary. Sweden's definition of rape is not the same as America’s, for example. Murder however should be easier to record because there is an identifiable victim, something that can be counted. But the way in which this is done in poorer, often more corrupt countries makes truly comparable statistics hard to pin down. Where there are inefficient public health systems or police, it is even harder. It is in such places that best estimates must be made—Venezuela is a case in point. We recently reported the latest annual ranking of 2015's most violent cities in the world (excluding war zones) by CCSP-JP, a Mexican NGO. The report placed Caracas, Venezuela's capital, at the top of a list of 50 cities (with populations of at least 300,000) with the highest homicide rates.

Crime statistics in Venezuela have not been officially measured since 2009 however, and are underreported according to experts. Where no official figures exist, CCSP-JP is transparent in its methodology: for Caracas it counted bodies from the city morgue (which covers a larger area than the city itself) between January and August, discounted a percentage attributed to accidental deaths, and extrapolated an amount for the full year to get a rate of 120 homicides per 100,000 people. The approach is obviously open to error and several groups have challenged some of CCSP-JP’s findings. One, the Igarapé Institute—a Brazilian think-tank on security and violence—compiles statistics on murder rates in countries and on more than 2,100 cities with populations of 250,000 or more, compared with the CCSP-JP's ‘hundreds’. Their data are only gathered from primary sources such as government, police or vital registration data, and from recognised sources such as the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime. In the above chart we present an alternative ranking which includes Igarapé’s findings using figures no older than 2013.

The biggest differences between the two datasets concern Venezuela and El Salvador. Venezuelan data are considered too unreliable and the country is excluded entirely from Igarapé's list. Instead El Salvador’s capital San Salvador tops their city ranking, with 188 murders per 100,000 people compared with the CCSP's figure of 108. What is clear from both is that El Salvador is suffering an enormous increase in lawlessness since the government ended a truce with drugs gangs last year (Robert Muggah, research director of the Institute, observes that the country's smaller cities have murder rates that are more than twice as high). The other main difference between the rankings is the number of Brazilian cities: 32 feature here compared with an already substantial 22 in our previous chart. More than 10% of all the world's homicides are in Brazil, and although the rate has fallen in its largest cities it has started increasing in smaller ones. The violence is borne by its poorer black population: between 2000 and 2014 the murder rate of whites has fallen by 14% but risen by 18% among black people. Murders of women have also increased by 12%. The problem is likely to grow as the economy falters and young men are unable to get jobs.

The broad picture in the rankings is roughly similar, however. Latin American and Caribbean countries suffer disproportionately compared with elsewhere, mainly because of inequality, poor rule of law, impunity and corrupt institutions that are infiltrated by drug cartels. Only two countries outside the region feature on either chart, South Africa and the United States (the list’s only rich-world country). Two US cities*—St Louis and Baltimore—appear on the latest ranking compared with four previously. The good news is that there has been a general decline in violence across the world everywhere except in Latin America. And even within the region, many of the worst cities in Mexico and Colombia are not as bad as they once were. Yet that is cold comfort to the residents of El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela.

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