Criminology and Economic Theory
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Criminology and Economic Theory
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How Norman rule reshaped England

How Norman rule reshaped England | Criminology and Economic Theory |

THE Norman conquest of England, led exactly 950 years ago by William, Duke of Normandy (“the Conqueror”), was the single greatest political change England has ever seen. It was also very brutal. The Anglo-Saxon aristocracy was stripped of its assets, and many of its members suffered the humiliation of being forced to work on land they had once owned. Even today, conquest by the French is still a touchy subject in some circles.

Nigel Farage, the on-and-off leader of the UK Independence Party, is known to wear a tie depicting the Bayeux tapestry, a 70-metre long piece of embroidery depicting the event, to remind Britons of “the last time we were invaded and taken over”. The tapestry is peppered with severed limbs and heads of vanquished Englishmen. Other supporters of Brexit—Britain’s exit from the European Union—use the language of the conquest to describe the nation’s “domination” by faceless EU institutions. Academics have held similar opinions. “[F]rom the Englishman’s point of view, the Norman conquest was a catastrophe,” argued Rex Welldon Finn of Cambridge University in 1971.

But, while the blood and guts were horrifying, the conquest also did a lot of good. It transformed the English economy. Institutions, trade patterns and investment all improved. It brought some of the British Isles into European circles of trade (“Brentry”, if you will) and sparked a long economic boom in England which made the country comparatively rich. The conquest and its aftermath also set a wealthy south apart from a poor north, a geographical divide that continues to this day. From those tumultuous decades on, England was indelibly European—and a lot stronger for it. The Norman conquest made England.

The reasons for the invasion were complex. Early in 1066 Edward the Confessor, then king of England, had died heirless, sparking a crisis of succession. His brother-in-law, Harold Godwinson, took over. But Harold’s claim to the throne was weak and he faced resistance, especially in the north of the country. William, Duke of Normandy, just across the English Channel, reckoned that he was the rightful heir: according to William of Poitiers, a chronicler, Edward had said that he wanted the young William to succeed him.

The Bayeux tapestry shows what happened next. In September William invaded from France with an enormous army. At the Battle of Hastings, on the southern coast of England, Harold was killed and his body mutilated (one account describes how a Norman knight “liquefied his entrails with a spear”). William went on to be crowned on Christmas Day, 1066.

He celebrated his coronation by going hunting and hawking, but then got down to business. The Anglo-Saxon system of government and economy was razed to the ground. The lands of over 4,000 English lords passed to fewer than 200 Norman and French barons. The English were removed from high governmental and ecclesiastical office. By 1073 only two English bishops were left, according to Hugh Thomas of the University of Miami.

The best source for assessing the impact of the Norman conquest is the Domesday Book, a survey of English wealth commissioned by William in 1085. For 13,418 places under William’s rule, Domesday Book contains data both on who the owner of the estate was and how valuable it was as measured by how much “geld”, or land tax, it could yield in a year. For some counties, it also tallied the population, the amount of livestock and even the ploughs. Its thoroughness suggested it could have been used for a final reckoning on the day of judgment—hence the name. Its 2m words of Latin, originally inscribed on sheepskin parchment in black and red ink, were recently digitised by researchers at the University of Hull.

Respondents to the survey were generally asked to give answers corresponding to three time periods: 1066, 1086 and an intermediate period shortly after 1066, which reflects when the manor was first granted to its existing owner. This makes it possible to perform a before-and-after analysis of the conquest.

The invasion certainly caused damage in the short term. In Sussex, where William’s army landed, wealth fell by 40% as the Normans sought to assert control by destroying capital. From Hastings to London, estates fell in value wherever the Normans marched. One academic paper from 1898 suggested that certain manors in the counties around London were much less valuable by 1070 than they had been in 1066. Despite this initial damage, however, the conquest ended up helping the English economy. Wonks have long supposed that immigration tends to boost trade: newcomers are familiar with their home markets and like to export there. The Normans were invaders, not immigrants, but Edward Miller and John Hatcher of Cambridge University conclude that the “generations after 1066 saw a progressive expansion both of the scale and the value of...external commerce.” English wool, in particular, was popular on the continent.

Brentry also helped the financial system develop. Jews arrived at William’s invitation, if not command, and introduced a network of credit links between his new English lands and his French ones. Unhindered by Christian usury laws, Jews were the predominant lenders in England by the 13th century. The discovery of precious metals from central European mines also helped get credit going. Jews settled in towns where there was a significant mint. England was still a violently anti-Semitic place, though, and its Jews were expelled by the 14th century.

The Normans took some policy decisions that would meet with the approval of modern economists: at a time of radical uncertainty, they ramped up infrastructure spending. Within 50 years every English cathedral church and most big abbeys had been razed to the ground, and rebuilt in a new continental style, says George Garnett of Oxford University. He points out that no English cathedral retains any masonry above ground which dates from before the conquest.

New castles and palaces came too. A book on churchbuilding published in 1979 documents a sharp increase in new projects in the 12th century, leading to an eventual peak of new starts around 1280. All these changes helped the economy along. Domesday Book suggests that, contrary to popular belief, the English economy had fully recovered by 1086. Data for some estates can be spotty: but a conservative reading of the book shows that the aggregate wealth of England barely changed in the two decades following Brentry. Taken at face value, total wealth actually increased. Of the 26 counties for which there are decent data, half actually rose in value.

Things only got better. Real GDP growth in 1086-1300 was probably two to three times what it was in the pre-conquest period. GDP per person grew strongly, too, perhaps from £1.70 in 1086 (in 1688 prices) to £3.30 by 1300. Mr Thomas suggests that productivity may have improved. To fund the infrastructure heavier taxes had to be levied on peasants, which “forced them to work harder”.

“In mad fury I descended on the English of the north like a raging lion”

People had more money, and they wanted to spend it. According to a paper by John Langdon and James Masschaele, prior to the 12th century only a very small number of fairs and markets can be documented. About 60 markets are mentioned in Domesday Book. But traders and suppliers bloomed as the economy expanded: around 350 markets existed by the end of the 12th century.

The rapid commercialisation of the English economy had profound effects on workers. Slaves, a significant minority of the population before the invasion, were freed: in Essex, their number fell by a quarter in 1066-86. Lanfranc of Pavia, William’s appointee as archbishop of Canterbury, opposed the export of slaves, finds Mr Thomas; Christian thinkers tended to have “mild qualms” about slavery. By the 12th century, it had almost completely ended.

Labour became more specialised, and more people became self-employed or worked for wages. The share of the population living in towns rose from 10% in 1086 to 15-20% by the turn of the 14th century (London’s population soared). Over 100 new towns were founded in 1100-1300; the population of England jumped from 2.25m to 6m.

Though the country as a whole fared well, not every part of it did. The conquest was longer-lasting and more brutal in the north. People in places like Northumbria and York did not consider themselves English, let alone French (their allegiances were more with the Scots and Scandinavians). So they launched a series of rebellions shortly after the Normans took power.

William showed no mercy in crushing them. His campaigns came to be known as the “harrying of the north”. According to Orderic Vitalis, another chronicler, on his deathbed William recalled what he had done. “In mad fury I descended on the English of the north like a raging lion...Herds of sheep and cattle [were] slaughtered [and] I chastised a great multitude of men and women with the lash of starvation.”

According to Domesday Book, in 1066 estates in southern England were somewhat richer than northern ones. But with Brentry, the gap jumped: by 1086 southern estates were four times as wealthy. The scale of the destruction was astonishing. A third of manors in northern counties were marked as “waste”. In Yorkshire, the county hardest hit, 60% of manors were considered to be at least “partially waste”, while total wealth fell by 68%. The population of York, the city at the centre of the harrying, probably halved. In 1086, no part of the country north of present-day Birmingham had an income per household higher than the national average. The country grew more unequal: the Gini coefficient of English manors rose from 64 before the invasion to 71 after (a Gini coefficient of 100 would mark perfect inequality). In terms of average estate wealth, the richest county was seven times richer than the poorest in 1066, but 18 times richer in 1086.

Rob Duke's insight:
Some background history and implications of Norman (French) conquest of England in 1066.
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Does power really corrupt?

Does power really corrupt? | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The professor put a group of students on the case; sent them out with clipboards to loiter on the traffic islands of Berkeley. They monitored vehicle etiquette at road junctions, kept notes on models and makes. They observed who allowed pedestrians their right of way at street crossings; who pretended not to see them and roared straight past. The results couldn’t have been clearer. Mercedes drivers were a quarter as likely to stop at a crossing and four times more likely to cut in front of another car than drivers of beaten-up Ford Pintos and Dodge Colts. The more luxurious the vehicle, the more entitled its owner felt to violate the laws of the highway.

What happened on the road also happened in the lab. In some experiments Keltner and his collaborators put participants from a variety of income brackets to the test; in others, they “primed” subjects to feel less powerful or more powerful by asking them to think about people more or less powerful than themselves, or to think about times when they felt strong or weak. The results all stacked the same way. People who felt powerful were less likely to be empathetic; wealthy subjects were more likely to cheat in games involving small cash stakes and to dip their fists into a jar of sweets marked for the use of visiting children. When watching a video about childhood cancer they displayed fewer physiological signs of empathy.
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Can an increase in stop-and-search cut knife crime?

Can an increase in stop-and-search cut knife crime? | Criminology and Economic Theory |

IN A school classroom in north-east London, Ken Hinds preaches calmness and confidence. Mr Hinds, who runs the Haringey Independent Stop & Search Monitoring Group, is telling a handful of teenagers with behavioural problems how to respond if a police officer stops them in order to perform a mandatory search. The advice is relevant. When the class is asked who has been stopped, everyone—including the teacher—raises their hand. Their experiences vary: some say they remained unflustered, whereas for others it was a heart-pounding ordeal.

Such encounters have become less common. In 2011 the police conducted 1.2m stop-and-searches in England and Wales. Last year that figure was around 300,000 (see chart). The steep decrease was prompted by Theresa May, then the home secretary, in a rare flash of liberalism. She ordered police forces to cut back on searches because they stoked resentment among ethnic minorities, who are more likely than whites to be stopped.

In London that downward trend is about to reverse. On January 10th Sadiq Khan, the mayor, broke a campaign promise by announcing an increase in the use of stop-and-search, to counter a recent surge in violence. Average monthly knife-crime incidents rose from 791 in 2014 to 1,155 in the first half of 2017. Acid attacks increased from 166 in 2014 to 455 in 2016, the latest year available. Mr Khan blames the decline in stop-and-search for the rise.

Some welcome the news. Janette Collins, head of the Crib, a youth group in Hackney, says that protecting youngsters should be the priority. Teenagers in her area avoid rough neighbourhoods for fear of being stabbed. Patrick Green of the Ben Kinsella Trust, an anti-knife-crime charity set up in memory of a murdered teenager, is also pleased with the mayor’s decision, but says that other policies, like knife-crime education, are needed.

Yet others worry that it will sour police relations with minorities. Pupils in the north-east London school claim they are stopped just for being black and wearing their hoods up. David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, has criticised the revival of a “vexed” tactic.

Even though fewer searches take place, only 16% of young ethnic-minority men believe the tactic is being used less often, according to polls by YouGov. That may be because the drop in searches of minorities has been less steep than it has for whites. A black person is now eight times more likely to be stopped than a white person, up from four times more likely in 2013.

Officers have tried to curb the aggravation the tactic causes, says Adrian Hanstock, head of the police unit in charge of stop-and-search. He argues that searches help to keep weapons off the streets, but admits that in the past they were sometimes used in “fishing expeditions” or to disperse gangs. Today, in training officers discuss the social consequences of stop-and-search and how to control unconscious biases. New technology, like body-cameras, improve accountability too.

Will the tactic reduce crime? Only 17% of searches lead to an arrest, half of them for drug offences. A recent study by the Home Office examined the impact of a stop-and-search drive in 2008, also aimed at curbing knife crime. The authors found no effect. Similar research by the College of Policing found that a doubling of stop-and-search was associated with only a 0.1% fall in violent crime. Even if the latest drive is more effective, says Mr Hinds, it will come at a cost to community relations.

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Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets

Intersections is the premier convening of national leaders in Complete Streets and creative placemaking. Join us April 3-4, 2018 in Nashville, TN.
Rob Duke's insight:
Other countries "get" that land planning and urban planning are important ingredients to crime control.  Think along the lines of the Chicago School sociologists who showed that social disorganization led to crime....
Someone in your organization should be trained in urban planning, or at least Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), and should be attending your planning meetings.  You'll be surprised to find the Fire Department people are already there.  Next time you see a Hammerhead culdesac, you'll know trucks need them to turn around and they nearly always have a spotter so they don't need a full culdesac.  For policing Hammerhead culdesacs are awful because we can't navigate them quickly and it often creates an out-of-the-way place for nefarious activity (drugs, sex, etc.) to take place.  So go to those meetings and be part of the team.
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Longevity in rich countries

Longevity in rich countries | Criminology and Economic Theory |

Graphic detail
Feb 23rd 2017by THE DATA TEAM
POPULATION forecasting is not simple. Demographers use mortality data—information about when people die and why—to estimate the likely life expectancy of people still alive. The UN, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and others produce periodic forecasts that are fairly similar. Wealthy countries such as Japan, Switzerland and Australia have the highest life expectancies, though the estimates vary slightly depending on the methodology used. But a new study of 35 rich countries by researchers at Imperial College London and the WHO, and published in the Lancet, a medical journal, uses a combination of 21 statistical models, instead of just one. The results, say the authors, are more reliable. They are also surprising.

By 2030, they think, South Korea will have seen the biggest gains in life expectancy for both men and women. A girl born there in 2030 is likely to live past her 90th birthday, seven years longer than one born in 2010. South Korean men are expected to live to just over 84, leapfrogging 18 other countries to the top of the ranking. 

South Korea’s trajectory has been remarkable. Its annual GDP per person is more than 20 times the level in 1960. America and Britain saw only a trebling over the same period. These economic gains have improved the nation’s health. In 1985 life expectancy in South Korea was more than four years lower than in America for both sexes; by 2010 it had caught up for men and risen to three years higher for women. The main reasons were big reductions in child mortality, deaths from infections and deaths from diseases related to high blood pressure, which include cardiovascular disease and stroke. The share of South Koreans who have raised blood pressure is lower than in any other country. Few South Koreans suffer from obesity, which increases the chance of several chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart problems and cancer. Smoking rates among women remain low.

Other countries expected to do well are improving for similar reasons. Few women in France and Switzerland are obese. By 2030 Hungarian men are expected to live 7.5 years longer on average than they did in 2010, partly because fewer drink too much or smoke. New Zealand, Australia and Canada have low rates of infant mortality and death from traffic accidents, and good records in preventing and treating heart disease and cancer.

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Exhibition challenges victim-blaming rape myth

Exhibition challenges victim-blaming rape myth | Criminology and Economic Theory |
"What were you wearing?" It's a question that's often put to the victims of sexual violence.

It suggests that the way they were dressed may have had something to do with the attack -- and thereby insinuates that the victim bears some responsibility.
Meaghan Tucker's comment, January 19, 2:41 PM
It is crazy that people really believe that the clothes a women wears could be the reason the gets sexually assaulted. Women from all over the world get sexually assulated, some in revealing clothes and some that aren't. When a women gets dressed in the morning she puts on clothes, that she believe she looks cute in or that will fit the attirevthat she should be wearing for the days activities. A women shouldn't have to wear a lose turtle neck sweater, baggy jeans, and boots to feel safe in the clothes she is wearing. It also has to do with the guys that are in our society now. They feel the need to over power a women that they feel is weak. Some men do it as revenge and other men have their own reasons, but it is wrong no matter what. "What was she wearing" shouldn't even be a question that she is asked though.
Manisha Misra's comment, January 19, 11:50 PM
I think this is a really interesting article, especially with the current Larry Nassar case going on where a grown man in a position of power sexually assaulted hundreds of adolescent girls. Saying that it's the victims fault that she got raped because of what she was wearing or how she was acting is comparable to saying a victim of murder got murdered cause they were a target in some way that they were acting, etc. There are so many situations where people get raped, in some situations the girl is covered head to toe and in others maybe the girl is wearing something racy. But that should never even be considered in cases. When someone commits the crime of rape, they alone are responsible. If we don't blame a victim for getting murdered or physically assaulted or getting something stolen from then we can't blame a victim for getting raped.
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An alcoholism epidemic among the Lakota Sioux

An alcoholism epidemic among the Lakota Sioux | Criminology and Economic Theory |

THE Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota, the site of the battle of Wounded Knee, contains one of the poorest counties in America; and every one of its residents is affected, in some way, by alcoholism. So says Robert Brave Heart senior, one of the leaders of Red Cloud, a private Catholic school founded in 1888 by Jesuits at the request of Red Cloud, a chief of the Oglala Lakota, the tribe of Crazy Horse. Most of his people, says Mr Brave Heart, cannot drink alcohol in moderation. He thinks he is one of them. After bad experiences with booze as a teenager, he has not touched alcohol for 40 years.

Alcohol has been banned in Pine Ridge since 1889, except for a few months in the 1970s. Yet two-thirds of adults on the reservation are alcoholics; alcohol-fuelled domestic violence is rampant; and one in four babies born on the reservation is irreversibly damaged by fetal-alcohol syndrome, a range of neurological defects caused by mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

One of the main sources of alcohol for the reservation’s residents is Whiteclay, a tiny hamlet of 11 residents just a short walk away across the state line in Nebraska. Whiteclay, which has no school and no grocery shop, seems to exist solely to sell booze. On April 19th Nebraska’s state liquor board voted to revoke the licences of Whiteclay’s four liquor stores, which are due to expire on April 30th. They argued that the town is not well enough policed: reason enough to revoke a licence. A lawyer for the shops said at once that his clients would appeal.

Activists such as Frank LaMere, a member of the Winnebago tribe, who has fought for 22 years to shut down the shops, are jubilant about the state board’s decision. They argue that the shops have been making immoral profits from the misery of vulnerable residents of the reservation. Last year the shops sold an astonishing 3.6m cans of beer, or seven cans per minute, almost all to the Lakota Sioux.

Yet Mr Brave Heart and others are sceptical about the licence revocation. They say those who want to drink will simply drive to get their booze farther afield, which will increase both the already high number of fatal drunk-driving car crashes, and bootlegging. “Alcoholism is a social and spiritual problem,” says Mr Brave Heart. It cannot be reversed with the stroke of a pen.

Patty Pansing Brooks, a Democratic state senator from Nebraska, is the author of the bill creating the Whiteclay public health emergency task-force, which unanimously passed the unicameral statehouse on April 24th. She agrees that it will take more than prohibition to help the alcoholics in Pine Ridge. Ms Pansing Brooks wants a substation of the Nebraska state patrol set up in Whiteclay, as well as demolition of abandoned buildings where crime and trafficking are rife. She also wants to create a detox centre with a job-training programme, and promote economic development by giving residents access to wireless broadband. She says she feels a duty to do something because of her state’s complicity in destroying the tribe.

Her efforts are backed by Tom Brewer, Nebraska’s first Native-American state senator, who grew up on the Pine Ridge reservation. As a staunch Republican, he is at the other end of the political spectrum, but the two senators are united in their outrage at what is happening in Pine Ridge. More than half—perhaps 80%—of its adults are unemployed. About half live below the federal poverty line. Almost one-third are homeless. Men die, on average, at 47 and women at 55. Almost half the population older than 40 is diabetic. The infant mortality rate is triple the national average, the suicide rate of teenagers is more than double and obesity is an even bigger problem than in the rest of the Midwest.

Students of journalism at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln recently produced a wide-ranging report on the impact of the liquor shops on the reservation. It was called “The Wounds of Whiteclay: Nebraska’s Shameful Legacy”. Those wounds will take a long time to heal, if they ever do.

Meaghan Tucker's comment, January 19, 2:29 PM
This post was an interesting read. I have never seen so many people have issues with alcohol until I moved to Alaska and I did think it was bad here, but now I don't think it that's bad. Alcoholism is an issue a lot of places. In this instance it seems like therevisnt much In the area that they live,so the people started to drink and it only got worse over time to the point they feel like they have to now. I do believe that the license should get taken and that would cut down some of the issue, but the statement in the article was right. People will just drive further to get the alcohol which could result in more accidents. It is not something they will know until they try to resolve the issue that is clearly affected a lot of people's lives. The state should have caught it before it got this bad.
Krista Scott's comment, January 20, 12:18 AM
This was a very moving post and makes you open your eyes of what the hell is actually going on these reservations and the issues that often go unsaid but the states. Alcoholism seems like it is the main problem for native americans this problem is destroying their communities as well as their people. I think that as a whole the United States and the Federal Indian Affairs Bereau need to come together to try to figure how to help and aid these tribes with drug and alcohol abuses along with mental health. I think there needs to be a nationwide study and to have community tribal leaders come together to figure out ways to bring there communities back together to build a healthier community for not just the people but children and teens.
Gregory Foster's comment, January 22, 11:59 PM
This is a difficult situation for any community to address. Alcohol is a legal drug but many communities have exercised their right to block the sale and possession of it to address the problem of excess drinking. Some communities in Alaska allow a small amount of alcohol (damp) while others strictly forbid it (dry). Even in dry communities, there is a constant battle with alcohol importation and with home brewing. I do not have a simple solution to the importation problem. I checked on Google Maps and it about a mile or more to drive between the two communities. There is one straight road that connects these two towns. That is far too close for one community to ban the possession of alcohol and for another to sell it through four stores. Street level interdiction and informants are common ways to try and stop the flow of alcohol but they are often futile. It is difficult to really do enforcement when there are no obvious signs of alcohol possession short of a DUI.

Alcoholism is such a tough problem to address. You have the individual aspect of the issue where the person harms themselves with excessive alcohol consumption. The definition of alcoholism includes where the addiction has a negative impact on their job, family, social circle, and their health. This problem spreads out to affect such a small community in so many ways. It is never just the alcoholic that is affected. Here we learn about all the FAS children in the community. This creates a health issue that lasts a lifetime. I know first-hand how alcohol leads right to domestic violence. This must be hell on earth to be in some of these homes. Until the alcoholic wishes to change, there is little that anyone can do but pick up the pieces.

I drove the route virtually between the two communities using Google Street View. I saw a man walking on the side of the road and I had to wonder if he was heading to Whiteclay from Pine Ridge to buy alcohol. With the weather hovering at 86F it wouldn’t be a bad walk but that is quite the addiction to go over 2 miles just to get alcohol and bring it home. I hope he was just taking a walk.
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Homeless entrenched in booming tent city along Santa Ana River

Homeless entrenched in booming tent city along Santa Ana River | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The tent cities along the river offer a level of comfort and perhaps sophistication unparalleled by any prominent homeless camps in the San Diego region.
Rob Duke's insight:
Interesting video....on the one hand: ridiculous that the public space can be taken over, but on the other hand, when people need affordable housing, that's not being provided largely because California's institutions are weighted towards providing high dollar housing not affordable housing, so where do we think these folks are going to live.
In addition, it looks like a vibrant community is budding, as long as it's being policed well.  I imagine, however, that this is the wild west once the sun goes down.  I really feel for the people who own those houses that back up along that stretch.
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A watertight store of Indians’ personal data proves leaky

A watertight store of Indians’ personal data proves leaky | Criminology and Economic Theory |
AADHAAR, India’s project to issue every resident a unique, biometrically verifiable identification number, is big, bold and in many ways brilliant. Aadhaar IDs provide a quick, easy and theoretically foolproof way for civil servants and firms to know for sure with whom they are dealing. Officials say the scheme allows better targeting of welfare. Businesses love how easy it makes checking credit histories and vetting job applicants, among other things.

An Aadhaar card allowed your correspondent to apply for and walk away with a driver’s licence in under half an hour. It provides proof of address and other data that in other countries—and in pre-Aadhaar India—would require a stack of documents. But civil libertarians have long worried that the government or, worse, crooks who gain access to the data will put Aadhaar to nefarious use. Some 200 government entities have been shamed for publishing private Aadhaar data, and more than one private firm with licensed access to Aadhaar data has been caught using it for purposes other than those agreed. Now proof has emerged that the whole database is not as watertight as claimed.
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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.
William Kelley's comment, January 17, 2:46 PM
What an interesting article. Considering German law-enforcement's reputation, I would not have expected and shortcomings in the way of a tactical unit. It begs the question of not if, but what shortcomings we see in American policing.
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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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Blue ribbon commission to study effects of prison realignment

Blue ribbon commission to study effects of prison realignment | Criminology and Economic Theory |
County officials are trying to determine the effect of three measures created to reform the criminal justice system, as prosecutors launch a signature-gathering campaign to put another initiative on the ballot. Stephanie English, chief justice deputy
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A macabre Mexican radio show goes off the air

A macabre Mexican radio show goes off the air | Criminology and Economic Theory |

AS MIDNIGHT neared, five nights a week Mexicans with a taste for the macabre would switch on their radios to hear the latest spooky story, called in by their fellow listeners. There was the tale of the bloodied boots, which kept reappearing in a family’s basement, driving the wife to seek psychiatric treatment. Once, the station that carried the show, XEDF-FM, mysteriously went off the air during a devil-worshipper’s phone-in. Most famous of all was the story told by Josué Velázquez, who said he had suffocated his grandmother to keep his end of a bargain with the devil (doctors said she had died of natural causes). Juan Ramón Sáenz, the best-known host of “La Mano Peluda” (“The Hairy Hand”), listened with apparent credulity to about half the yarns broadcast over its 22-year history; some were chillingly believable. 

The show had a cult following, especially among late-shift workers and nocturnal taxi drivers. But Grupo Formula, XEDF’s owner, decided to bury it; the last episode aired on January 12th. After decades of success, the show “no longer had the same impact”, says a person familiar with the thinking that led to the decision. 

People liked the stories, some of which could not possibly be real, because they came from the mouths of ordinary folk who undeniably were, reckons Ricardo Farías, a film director. Listeners believed the tales, or pretended to. When Sáenz died suddenly in 2011, days after a reunion with Mr Velázquez for “Extranormal”, a television programme involving visits to haunted houses, many pelumaniacos were convinced that he had been cursed. 

The show’s popularity testifies to Mexico’s love of all things supernatural. “Mexican culture is very mystical,” says Ricardo Vázquez, a director of programming at TV Azteca, which broadcasts “Extranormal”. That programme began airing in 2007 after Laura Rivas, a medium with a five-minute horoscope segment on a morning show in Guadalajara, one day started interpreting the dreams of those who called in. “We realised when she started talking about ghosts, or dreams, or something paranormal, the ratings went up,” says Mr Vázquez. “Extranormal” has nearly 4m viewers.

Some people think the demise of “The Hairy Hand” shows that Mexicans are becoming less interested in eerie entertainment. Macabre movies have also entered a dead zone. More than 5m people thronged cinemas to see the four Mexican-made horror films released in 2007, according to the Mexican Institute of Cinematography. In 2017 the three scary flicks released attracted just 250,000 people. 

But other signs suggest that Mexicans’ fondness for morbidity is alive and well. The Day of the Dead, a holiday on which they wear ghoulish costumes and visit the graves of loved ones, remains as popular as ever. Last year Mórbido Fest, a horror-film festival, held its tenth and biggest edition, so the genre may not be dead after all. 

Some famous Mexican film directors, including the winners of two of the past five Golden Globe awards for directing, began by working on “La Hora Marcada”, a horror show on television. After getting his Golden Globe on January 7th for “The Shape of Water”, Guillermo del Toro was asked why he has such an affinity for themes of fantasy and terror despite his cheerful demeanour. He immediately replied: “I’m Mexican.”

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Thai police arrest suspected kingpin of wildlife trafficking

Thai police have arrested a suspected kingpin of wildlife trafficking who allegedly fueled much of Asia's illegal trade for over a decade.

Police say Boonchai Bach (BOON'-chai back), a 40-year-old Thai of Vietnamese descent, was arrested Friday in a northeastern border province in connection with the smuggling of 14 rhino horns worth over $1 million from Africa into Thailand last month, in a case that also implicated a Thai official and a Chinese national.

He denies the charges against him.

Boonchai allegedly ran a large trafficking network on the Thai-Laos border that spread into Vietnam. According to the anti-trafficking group Freeland, he and his family played a key role in a syndicate that smuggled poached items including ivory, rhino horn, pangolins, tigers, lions and other rare and endangered species.
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Prince Charles expands his property empire

Prince Charles expands his property empire | Criminology and Economic Theory |
THE marketing material for Nansledan, a settlement a couple of miles from the Cornish coast, paints a picture of time-worn rural bliss. Houses daubed in gentle shades of yellow, pink and blue slope towards the sea; smartly dressed residents pop into the local bakery. The present reality of 150 or so colourful houses perched atop a windy hill, surrounded by a building site, does not quite match up.

But the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate inherited by Prince Charles, has grand plans for the “urban extension” to the town of Newquay. More than half of new British homes are built by just eight firms, which often produce identikit houses—think paved driveways and PVC windows—sited far from shops and businesses. The Duchy hopes Nansledan will show that another way is possible, setting “new standards for urban development”.
Rob Duke's insight:
Englan's way of developing seems more similar to Alaska's than to other places in the lower 48.
We have very little large scale development--it's mostly boutique building or homeowner DIY projects.
I'd like to see something like this here with a sense of place and some attempt to build community.
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Pope in Chilean sexual abuse cover-up row

Pope in Chilean sexual abuse cover-up row | Criminology and Economic Theory |
It wasn't all marriages on airplanes. The Pope has caused outrage on his visit to Chile by refusing to condemn Bishop Juan Barros, who stands accused of a cover-up.
Manisha Misra's comment, January 19, 11:58 PM
Sexual assault and the denial of it seems to be a really hot topic around the world right now. It, however, does not seem crazy to me at all that this happened. Victims and survivors can come forward all they want, but without concrete proof people will still play the "he said, she said" card and write it off as though it's nothing. It's incredible to me, though, that this is in regards to what seems to be an extremely well known to be pedophile. It doesn't surprise me that the Pope is refusing to speak about it without proof, I feel as though this has happened several times in history.
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A woman confesses after cops spot murder weapon in her Facebook photo

A woman confesses after cops spot murder weapon in her Facebook photo | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Cheyenne Antoine, 21, confessed this week to killing her friend during an argument in 2015
Meaghan Tucker's comment, January 19, 3:37 AM
I don't believe that she got the sentence she should have. The incident happend in 2015. She lied multiple times in those years, even getting her uncle to lie for her and with holding evidence from the police. She was intoxicated that night, but she had clearly knew that she did it. She then only admitted to killing her because she finally got caught! She should have gotten charged with the second degree murder and gotten more time then the 7 years.
Krista Scott's comment, January 20, 12:02 AM
Okay...this was an interesting case I think the fact the it took only a Facebook post to close the case is pretty cool. However, I wonder why they didn't figure out sooner the story was questionable. Im a little bit shocked at the sentencing but the fact that the District Attorney explained the reason for the light sentence and it really stood out to me that Canada wants to make sure at the end of the day citizens are protected but as well as the offenders are getting the right rehabilitation they need to be successful.
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Busted: cocaine-filled pineapple ring

Busted: cocaine-filled pineapple ring | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Spanish and Portuguese police have seized more than 700 kg of cocaine wrapped in pineapple skins and shipped from South America.
Manisha Misra's comment, January 20, 12:02 AM
It is absolutely amazing what lengths will people go to for operations like this. I wonder how they even thought to hide all the cocaine in pineapples. I also wonder what other strange things they've hidden drugs in for transport purposes and how long the operation had been going on before officials caught wind and began investigating.
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The people who shaped Islamic civilisation

The people who shaped Islamic civilisation | Criminology and Economic Theory |

Coverage of violence and Islam often go hand in hand. So it comes as a relief to be reminded that historically, culturally and intellectually, Islam is less a nihilistic creed than a global civilisation. A new book by Chase Robinson, which includes 30 pen-portraits of significant figures in Islamic history, is an elegant digest of the many colourful, creative and technologically innovative manifestations that the Prophet Muhammad inspired from his seventh-century oases in the Arabian peninsula. 

The warriors and potentates are there, of course. Starting with Muhammad and ending with Shah Ismail 900 years later, they bookend the narrative. But in Robinson’s telling their martial arts are secondary to their aesthetic ones. Muhammad is celebrated not for his battlefield victories but his verse. Abd al-Malik, the caliph who took Cyprus, was better known to Islamic chroniclers for building Jerusalem’s majestic Dome of the Rock and, less appealingly, halitosis so severe it could kill a fly. Mahmoud of Ghazni, the jihadist who conquered the Hindu kingdoms of north-western India, was admired for decorating Islam’s eastern periphery with gardens. (“You have strung the wild rose with patterns of pearls,” oozed a court poet.) Timur, the Mongol “sheep-rustler and world-conqueror”, built towers of skulls but also the soaring, sublime mosques of Samarkand. Sultan Mehmed II, the Ottoman conqueror of Constantinople, was “a renaissance man”.

As fascinating as the fighters are the characters in the courts they patronised. Robinson’s cast includes free-thinking physicians and biologists, calligraphers, cartographers (including Muhammad al-Idrisi, below), historians and poets. Though Muhammad himself was illiterate, his tradition was steeped in letters. One of his Suras, or Koranic chapters, was called “the Pen”. By tradition, the first man, Adam, fashioned the first pen, and Ali, the prophet’s son-in-law and successor, coined his own Arabic script.

Tycoons and businessmen are present, too: in the ninth century, as now, manufacturers were complaining of the Chinese dumping mass-produced kitchenware on their markets. Women also make an appearance, as mystics, courtesans and scholars. Beneath the arches of Mecca’s mosques, Karima al-Marwiziyya led Koranic study circles for both sexes. After all, she might have noted, many of the Prophet’s companions and preservers of Islamic traditions were themselves women.

What emerges is a civilisation that was a marketplace of ideas as well as goods. “Urbanisation and literacy was said to be a distinctly modern phenomenon,” says Robinson, “but that is wrong”. Rather the Islamic world, he says, epitomised “globalisation before its time”, “cultural cosmopolitanism”, “a world of cross-pollination” and capitalism. Rich from trade, its cities were the world’s finest. In the ninth century, Baghdad mushroomed as rapidly as Manhattan a millennium later, with intrigue, sex and irreverence no less a part of its makeup. Thirty thousand gondolas plied the Tigris. Another Islamic capital, Cordoba, was the greatest city in Europe and produced some of the greatest minds: without the 12th-century rationalist, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), whose defence of Aristotelian philosophy against orthodox theologians influenced people like Thomas Aquinas, the Enlightenment might never have happened.

Through his portraits, Robinson debunks two modern myths about Islam. Salafists, the puritans who dominate 21st-century Islamic discourse, champion the Prophet Muhammad as the founder of a pristine, uniform faith which every Muslim should aspire to replicate. In Robinson’s rendition, the Islam the Prophet bequeathed was amorphous, inchoate and confused. Bereft of their founder, the Muslim community squabbled over not just the niceties of law, but who should rule and how. Muhammad’s favourite wife and his son-in-law fought pitched battles over his succession. The faith was also deeply syncretic: it expanded by absorbing the traditions of the peoples who fell under its rule. Its first rulers saw nothing incompatible between an upright Islamic existence and wine-drinking. Too often the source material was too skimpy to answer basic questions. The literalist Andalusian politician and scholar, Ibn Hazm, for instance, argued against the biblical death penalty for homosexuality, saying that nowhere was it prescribed in the Koran. (Ten lashes, he suggested, might be more fitting.) Only centuries later did the faith congeal into something akin to today’s orthodoxy. 

The second myth Robinson punctures is one often propounded by orientalists: that the tightening grip of orthodoxy led to Islam’s supposed inexorable decline. In the tenth century, Abu Bakr al-Razi, a Persian alchemist and physician, wrote a tractate, “On the fraudulence of prophets”, asserting the primacy of reason over revelation and deriding the prophets as imposters and storytellers. Only his defence that reason was a gift of God spared him charges of blasphemy. The following century, Al-Biruni published perhaps the greatest classical account of comparative religion, citing Greek, Persian and Sanskrit aphorisms alongside the sayings of the Prophet. Five centuries before Daniel Defoe, Ibn Tufayl wrote a story about a boy who grew up on a desert island. Without revelation, his metaphor shows, humans develop as rational beings.  

By the 14th century, Islam’s centre of gravity had shifted to Istanbul, but its courts continued to attract the world’s leading scientists and artists and remained at the cutting-edge of medical advances and military technology. After a familiar bout of devastation, Mongol rule ushered in fresh investments in science, particularly its 13th-century observatory at Maragheh, whose findings underpinned Copernicus’s models of the universe. Multiculturalism, perhaps even trans-confessionalism, remained a familiar trope of Islamic rule. Alternating between Sunni and Shiite rites, the Mongols’ faith felt remarkably fluid. Uljeitu’s vizier was Rashid al-Din, an Iranian-born Jewish convert to Islam, who assembled a warehouse of global researchers near Tabriz in the 14th century and set them to work on “an industrial-sized” history of the world, the “Compendium of Chronicles”. Its encyclopaedic breadth is a composite of texts drawn from Hebrew scholars (apparently translated by Rashid al-Din himself), Kashmiri monks, Chinese envoys and perhaps the most sympathetic account of Buddha in a non-Buddhist text. More than 2,000 miles away in Tunis, Ibn Khaldoun penned a social history which for the first time ditched the composition of court chronicles to examine the causes behind historical events.

There are, of course, characters closer to the caricatures of modern-day Muslim fundamentalists. Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, a 14th-century judge in Damascus and Alexandria, railed against the Mongols for favouring Shiism and applying their own yassa law, not Sharia – a sin which, he declared, rendered them apostates. When the Sunni Mamluk authorities he favoured overlooked a Christian’s insults against the Prophet, he agitated the mob to demand his beheading. A bit-player in his time, the Salafists have elevated him to centre-stage today, ranking his teachings alongside the Prophet’s in Saudi Arabia’s core curriculum. Islam’s most zealous detractors and practitioners alike could do worse than to recall Robinson’s other 29 characters too.

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A court case exposes Singapore’s Victorian attitudes to families

A court case exposes Singapore’s Victorian attitudes to families | Criminology and Economic Theory |

IT SOUNDS like something out of a Lewis Carroll novel. First, a father had to petition the courts to be allowed to adopt his own biological son, who was born in America with the help of a surrogate, and thus was not automatically considered his child under Singaporean law. Then on December 26th a judge ruled that the adoption would not be allowed. That, in turn, prevents the child, who lives in Singapore with his Singaporean father and his father’s Singaporean partner, from becoming a Singaporean citizen. Instead each year his parents will have to apply for temporary leave for him to remain. As well as being topsy-turvy, the case feels like a scene from “Alice in Wonderland” in another way: the Singaporean government’s attitude to families is remarkably Victorian.

The two men involved in the case did not have a child lightly. After they had been a couple for 15 years and had lived together for nine, they looked into adopting, but found that an “unwritten policy” barred gay couples from adopting in Singapore (as written ones did until recently in much of the West). What is more, an unwed, heterosexual man can only adopt a boy. After much research, the couple paid $200,000 to an American firm to help them conceive abroad. “We thought that in starting our family, the best way was surrogacy,” says one.

But under Singaporean law, any child born to an unmarried couple (including all gay ones) is deemed illegitimate. That means the parents do not receive a “baby bonus” from the state or certain tax breaks accorded to the parents of legitimate children. The child does not automatically inherit anything when both parents die. The family will have a harder time gaining access to public housing. And illegitimate children born abroad to a Singaporean father are not automatically entitled to Singaporean citizenship, depriving them of yet more benefits.

In her ruling, which the couple plan to appeal, Shobha Nair, the judge, tut-tutted about “the use of money to encourage the movement of life from one hand to another” (payment for adoption is illegal in Singapore). But many heterosexual Singaporean couples conceive using foreign surrogates each year, although they may attempt to conceal this from the authorities.

Ms Nair also excoriated the pair for trying to find a way to start a family, or for “walking through the back door of the system when the front door was firmly shut”. She claimed that “it is no place of this Court to dictate to the applicant what a family unit ought to…look like,” even as her ruling firmly laid out that the ideal family unit, in the eyes of the Singaporean state, entails the marriage of a man to a woman.

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Danish man charged with killing reporter on his submarine

Danish man charged with killing reporter on his submarine | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Inventor Peter Madsen was charged Tuesday with killing Swedish journalist Kim Wall during a trip on his private submarine, with prosecutors saying he either cut her throat or strangled her before dismembering her body and dumping it into the sea.

Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen called the case "very unusual and extremely disturbing."

Madsen, 47, is charged with murder, dismemberment and indecent handling of a corpse for the way he disposed of Wall's body. He is also charged with having sexual relations with Wall, 30, of a "particularly dangerous nature" before she was killed.

The charges were made public by the Danish prosecution authority.

Buch-Jepsen said the killing was premeditated. Prosecutors will urge that Madsen be sentenced to life in prison, or be locked up in a secure mental facility if deemed necessary by psychiatrists for as long as he's considered sick and dangerous to others.

"There is much technical evidence but I won't go into details right now," Buch-Jepsen told a brief news conference. He also declined to comment on Madsen's motive.

"Evidence must be presented in court and not in the media," he said, adding he also didn't want to comment out of respect for Wall's family.

Madsen's defense lawyer Betina Hald Engmark had no immediate comment in reaction to the charges, adding her client still denies murdering Wall.

Madsen and Wall had gone on a trip in Madsen's submarine on Aug. 10. Wall, who was working on a story about Madsen, was last seen aboard the vessel as it left Copenhagen. The next day, Madsen — an entrepreneur who once dreamed of launching a manned space mission — was rescued from the sinking submarine without Wall.

Police believe he deliberately sank the vessel.
Rob Duke's insight:
Here's a great Civil Law System case to follow this semester.  The murder occurred in August and the police and prosecutors have built their case in the last 4 months.  Now the court proceedings will progress in a fairly rapid fashion as compared with U.S. courts.
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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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