Criminology and Economic Theory
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Criminology and Economic Theory
In search of viable criminological theory
Curated by Rob Duke
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Portland train suspect: 'I hope everyone I stabbed died'

Portland train suspect: 'I hope everyone I stabbed died' | Criminology and Economic Theory |
After his arrest, Jeremiah Christian sat in the back of a police car and said: "I stabbed the two (expletives) in the neck and I'm happy now. I'm happy now."
Kimber A. 's comment, May 31, 2017 5:55 PM
This is another instance in which I would be very interested in any psychiatric evaluation of this young man. His continuous outbursts and inability to control himself lead me to believe that this is more than just passionate white supremacist behavior and actually indicative of mental illness of some manner. While I am being presumptive in my assumptions that some type of mental illness exists in this young man, if true it speaks volumes to the lack of mental health facilities available and the gross consequences that we risk when we as a nation do not value or oversee mental health.
Jenna's comment, June 2, 2017 12:34 AM
This is not that shocking to read because it seems that the media is only interested in covering stories that are crazy like this so it seems that I read articles like this often. I think that if you have the audacity to murder a citizen in the first place without a liable cause, then you probably are mentally ill to some extent. It is very rare to read articles that cover cases that happen often, instead it is the stories that surprise people and are very rare occurrences that the media argue over.
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The Death of Noriega—and U.S Intervention in Latin America

The Death of Noriega—and U.S Intervention in Latin America | Criminology and Economic Theory |
American involvement in Panama suggests humbling lessons about the ability to change the course of history.
Rob Duke's insight:
First America supported Noriega, then power evidently went to his head and he became a regional drug power....or, if you believe Noriega, we set him up to be a regional power--including drug & money laundering lord and then turned on him....
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You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition

Photographs by Anna Maria Barry-Jester As the new year begins, millions of people are vowing to shape up their eating habits. This usually involves dividing foo…
Rob Duke's insight:
So-called scientific research is a bit sketchy when it comes to complex human behavior.  Take just one small area of behavior: eating.  What we eat and how that affects health--in particular.  What could be easier?  It's still complex human behavior.  It's still a serious issue.  But, people should be willing to participate; to be serious; to be honest; and not alter their behavior just because they're being studied.  NOT!!
Imagine then, what happens when we study drug abuse...or sexuality...or crime.  The very fact that people know we're looking alters the activity.  And, then we wonder why we get divergent results...and faulty conclusions.
Jenna's comment, June 2, 2017 12:46 AM
I agree, when people know they are being watched, they act differently. For example, I had a teacher in high school that would be a totally different person when someone came in to review them. When she thought no one was watching she would threaten to throw some of the misbehaving kids out of the window. It was entertaining to see and notice in different examples in every day life.
Boan White's comment, June 16, 2017 5:18 PM
Everyone has something different to say what is good for you, but everyone is different and no matter what people should choose a custom made diet that is right for them.
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Drawing the Dead: Artist with Arkansas roots aims to identify unknown

Drawing the Dead: Artist with Arkansas roots aims to identify unknown | Criminology and Economic Theory |

The man's body was spotted off the coast of Sunset Cliffs in San Diego, Calif. It had been battered against rocks while surf and sun warped identifying features, forensic artist PJ Puterbaugh remembered.
No one knew who it was. But a few of the man's elaborate tattoos were intact.
So Puterbaugh, who lived in Arkansas as a child, drew his tattoos on a computer in the hopes it would lead to finding someone who knew him. The drawings were broadcast to the media and nearby tattoo parlors, ultimately landing in the inbox of Chris Von Bong, an artist at Chronic Tattoo. When Von Bong opened the email, he saw a familiar image: a technicolored elephant-headed Hindu god, Ganesh.

Only this deity was even more distinct.
“Ganesh doesn’t usually hold a bass guitar,” Von Bong said.
Von Bong recalled that he’d etched Ganesh strumming an orange-and-cream bass down the shoulder of his co-worker’s friend, Marty. Police were called, and 38-year-old Martin “Marty” McDermott was identified a week after he was found in mid-February 2016.
Of 27 California cases in which Puterbaugh created drawings or sculptures to try to identify people investigators couldn't, seven of the subjects have been named, and two of those occurred immediately after her work was circulated. Now the mother of four is hoping to help solve unidentified-person cases in Arkansas.
As a forensic artist, Puterbaugh sketches tattoos and gap teeth, molds clay sculptures from skulls and maps out faces from the slant of cheekbones and foreheads of the unidentified. Her goal is a likeness, she said, a resemblance that’s close enough for someone who sees the image — a friend, a neighbor, a corner store clerk — to feel a wave of recognition, like Von Bong did.
Though she lives in California, Puterbaugh’s history is intertwined with Arkansas. And a few years ago, a case drove Puterbaugh back to the state to volunteer her services. When asked why the case led her to the state Crime Lab’s door, Puterbaugh responded with a sentence that seems to be her guiding principle.
“Any hope is hope.”

Puterbaugh spent four years of her life shoeing horses and mending fences on a big farm in Huntsville. Her family lived there while she was in third through sixth grade, and it was in that small Madison County town where Puterbaugh was introduced to art.
Puterbaugh took a weekly oil painting and drawing class from an elderly woman who was like “a second grandmother” who sparked her creative side, she said. Her stepmother, who lived in Arkansas, also shaped her sensibilities. She often told Puterbaugh it's "good to be useful as well as ornamental.”
Puterbaugh later uprooted and moved to San Diego, where she studied studio art. She had kids, got a labrador and, in 2005 began volunteering with a local search-and-rescue outfit. Through that work, Puterbaugh realized the medical examiner’s office needed an artist to sketch unidentified bodies and recreate the faces of skeletal remains turned over to authorities.

So Puterbaugh took classes to follow in the footsteps of women who pioneered the field of forensic art. She studied the work of Betty Pat Gatliff, born in 1931, who helped remake the faces of President John F. Kennedy and the nine unidentified victims of serial murderer John Wayne Gacy. From women like Gatliff, Puterbaugh learned the seriousness with which to take their shared craft, she said.
“This isn’t something you fool with, you know, because this is a person who belongs to someone, who has rights,” Puterbaugh said. “You don’t try to change that.”
Then, in 2010, Puterbaugh heard about a young man who’d drowned near San Diego. There was some local barroom chatter passed along to police that he could have been from Arkansas, she said.
While visiting her old town of Huntsville, Puterbaugh approached police to ask if any missing person matched the young man’s description. Unfortunately, no one did. Years passed, but the case “stuck,” she said.
Through that encounter, Puterbaugh learned many of Arkansas’ missing people and unidentified human remains cases are handled by the state Crime Lab. While on another visit to the state in 2015, she met with executive director Kermit B. Channell II to see if the lab someone to re-create faces for its unknown dead — for free — in hopes the artwork might spark a lead in cases that have laid dormant for years.
“Basically, [Puterbaugh] showed up at our door,” Channell said, adding that he is grateful she did. No one was handling that task before, and now, if and when new skulls are uncovered, the lab can “really defer to her expertise,” he said.
Her work “is really critical, especially if you have nothing going on,” Channell said, like in cases in which there are no leads or matches from DNA.

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Beaver woman tasked with looking into embezzlement sentenced for embezzling

Beaver woman tasked with looking into embezzlement sentenced for embezzling | Criminology and Economic Theory |
A Beaver woman who discovered and reported the theft of $900,000 from the village native corporation and was hired in the aftermath to clean up the resulting mess was recently sentenced to six months in prison and three years of probation for embezzling money from the corporation herself.

Bonnie R. Adams, 58, was charged with first- and second-degree theft, scheming to defraud and falsifying business records after Alaska State Troopers discovered she wrote at least $33,604 of checks to herself from the Beaver Kwit’chin Corporation account between November 2012 and March 2013. 

In addition, investigators determined $6,942 in ATM withdrawals had been made and $1,400 in checks made payable to cash had been written during that time period.

Adams was not supposed to have direct access to the corporations bank accounts and was not authorized to write checks and make ATM withdrawals, according to court documents. 
Rob Duke's insight:
Having good accounting controls would have prevented this problem.  The same person who has spending authority should not also be in charge of reconciling the expenditures and checks/withdrawals should have at minimum a "two-signer" requirement.  While one person can be tempted, it's much more difficult to convince the whole team to steal.
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Jail break: America’s prisons are failing. Here’s how to make them work | The Economist

Jail break: America’s prisons are failing. Here’s how to make them work | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory |

SHIRLEY SCHMITT is no one’s idea of a dangerous criminal. She lived quietly on a farm in Iowa, raising horses and a daughter, until her husband died in 2006. Depressed and suffering from chronic pain, she started using methamphetamine. Unable to afford her habit, she and a group of friends started to make the drug, for their own personal use. She was arrested in 2012, underwent drug treatment, and has been sober ever since. She has never sold drugs for profit, but federal mandatory minimum rules, along with previous convictions for drug possession and livestock neglect, forced the judge to sentence her to ten years in prison. Each year she serves will cost taxpayers roughly $30,000—enough to pay the fees for three struggling students at the University of Iowa. When she gets out she could be old enough to draw a pension.

Barack Obama tried to reduce the number of absurdly long prison sentences in America. His attorney-general, Eric Holder, told federal prosecutors to avoid seeking the maximum penalties for non-violent drug offenders. This reform caused a modest reduction in the number of federal prisoners (who are about 10% of the total). Donald Trump’s attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, has just torn it up. This month he ordered prosecutors to aim for the harshest punishments the law allows, calling his new crusade against drug dealers “moral and just”. It is neither.

Prisons are an essential tool to keep society safe. A burglar who is locked up cannot break into your home. A mugger may leave you alone if he thinks that robbing you means jail. Without the threat of a cell to keep them in check, the strong and selfish would prey on the weak, as they do in countries where the state is too feeble to run a proper justice system.

But as with many good things, more is not always better (see article). The first people any rational society locks up are the most dangerous criminals, such as murderers and rapists. The more people a country imprisons, the less dangerous each additional prisoner is likely to be. At some point, the costs of incarceration start to outweigh the benefits. Prisons are expensive—cells must be built, guards hired, prisoners fed. The inmate, while confined, is unlikely to work, support his family or pay tax. Money spent on prisons cannot be spent on other things that might reduce crime more, such as hiring extra police or improving pre-school in rough neighbourhoods. And—crucially—locking up minor offenders can make them more dangerous, since they learn felonious habits from the hard cases they meet inside.
America passed the point of negative returns long ago. Its incarceration rate rose fivefold between 1970 and 2008. Relative to its population, it now locks up seven times as many people as France, 11 times as many as the Netherlands and 15 times as many as Japan. It imprisons people for things that should not be crimes (drug possession, prostitution, unintentionally violating incomprehensible regulations) and imposes breathtakingly harsh penalties for minor offences. Under “three strikes” rules, petty thieves have been jailed for life.

A ten-year sentence costs ten times as much as a one-year sentence, but is nowhere near ten times as effective a deterrent. Criminals do not think ten years into the future. If they did, they would take up some other line of work. One study found that each extra year in prison raises the risk of reoffending by six percentage points. Also, because mass incarceration breaks up families and renders many ex-convicts unemployable, it has raised the American poverty rate by an estimated 20%. Many states, including Mr Sessions’s home, Alabama, have decided that enough is enough. Between 2010 and 2015 America’s incarceration rate fell by 8%. Far from leading to a surge in crime, this was accompanied by a 15% drop.

America is an outlier, but plenty of countries fail to use prison intelligently. There is ample evidence of what works. Reserve prison for the worst offenders. Divert the less scary ones to drug treatment, community service and other penalties that do not mean severing ties with work, family and normality. A good place to start would be with most of the 2.6m prisoners in the world—a quarter of the total—who are still awaiting trial. For a fraction of the cost of locking them up, they could be fitted with GPS-enabled ankle bracelets that monitor where they are and whether they are taking drugs.

Tagging can also be used as an alternative to locking up convicts—a “prison without walls”, to quote Mark Kleiman of New York University, who estimates that as many as half of America’s prisoners could usefully be released and tagged. A study in Argentina finds that low-risk prisoners who are tagged instead of being incarcerated are less likely to reoffend, probably because they remain among normal folk instead of sitting idly in a cage with sociopaths.

Justice systems could do far more to rehabilitate prisoners, too. Cognitive behavioural therapy—counselling prisoners on how to avoid the places, people and situations that prompt them to commit crimes—can reduce recidivism by 10-30%, and is especially useful in dealing with young offenders. It is also cheap—a rounding error in the $80 billion a year that America spends on incarceration and probation. Yet, by one estimate, only 5% of American prisoners have access to it.

The road to rehabilitation

Ex-convicts who find a job and a place to stay are less likely to return to crime. In Norway prisoners can start their new jobs 18 months before they are released. In America there are 27,000 state licensing rules keeping felons out of jobs such as barber and roofer. Norway has a lower recidivism rate than America, despite locking up only its worst criminals, who are more likely to reoffend. Some American states, meanwhile, do much better than others. Oregon, which insists that programmes to reform felons are measured for effectiveness, has a recidivism rate less than half as high as California’s. Appeals to make prisons more humane often fall on deaf ears; voters detest criminals. But they detest crime more, so politicians should not be afraid to embrace proven ways to make prison less of a school of crime and more of a path back to productive citizenship.

Laura Lee Smith's comment, June 2, 2017 8:36 PM
I feel if we are going to enforce conformity in sentencing we are going to lose a lot of the nuance of law, and rather than foist that burden on those being sentenced it should be placed on those doing the actual sentencing in the form of closer examinations of rulings and response when there is clearly bias, favor, or racism shown. A perfect example would be the Stanford swimmer case that was widely covered in the media as a perfect example of racial bias, the rapist is given an extremely lenient sentence so as not to impact HIS future, but minority rapist routinely serve years for rape convictions. That sentence should have been examined by a publicly accountable board and I believe overturned as an example of judicial overreach.
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Federal judge tosses out life sentences for DC sniper Malvo

Federal judge tosses out life sentences for DC sniper Malvo | Criminology and Economic Theory |
A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson in Norfolk said Malvo is entitled to new sentencing hearings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.

Malvo was 17 when he was arrested in 2002 for a series of shootings that killed 10 people and wounded three over a three-week span in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, causing widespread fear throughout the region.

His accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, was executed in 2009.
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Alabama executes 75-year-old inmate convicted of 1982 murder

Alabama executes 75-year-old inmate convicted of 1982 murder | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Alabama executed on Friday a 75-year-old inmate who had spent more than three decades on death row and faced seven previous execution dates after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend's husband in 1982.
Joe Dugan's comment, May 28, 2017 6:55 PM
It is 2017 and we just executed a man without fully going through and making sure that there was not a shred of doubt about his conviction? How in this day and age wasn't the wig tested before we put the needle in him. Sure the jury had enough evidence back in 1982 to find him guilty, but since DNA testing is becoming so big in overturning many death row inmates convictions, why was it ignored here? Sad.
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Cannabidiol slashes seizures in kids with rare epilepsy, study finds

Cannabidiol slashes seizures in kids with rare epilepsy, study finds | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Cannabidiol, which is found in marijuana plants, reduced the number of convulsive seizures in children with Dravet syndrome, according to research.
Rob Duke's insight:
Is a substance "evil"?  Should we regulate what enters a person's body?  John Stuart Mill argues in On Liberty that we shouldn't; but, let's assume that we still do so due to properties dealing with addiction or intoxication.  Then, we ask: what if we could strip out all the parts of the product that intoxicate (cannabis was never addictive)?
CBD's (cannabinoids) don't intoxicate, but block some of the same receptors that cause inflammation and epilepsy....this sounds a lot like beta-blockers (allergy meds, high blood pressure meds, migraine meds).
Boan White's comment, May 25, 2017 5:52 PM
The problem isn't the medical use of marijuana so much as the increasing number of people abusing and illegally profiting from marijuana that makes it so dangerous.
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Kung phooey: A fist-fight in China turns into a clash between tradition and modernity | The Economist

Kung phooey: A fist-fight in China turns into a clash between tradition and modernity | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory |
A video of the clash spread rapidly online. Some commentators in China sided with Mr Xu, and urged him to expose other kung fu “masters”. Mr Xu promised to do so. His aim, he said, was not to disparage Chinese martial arts, but to expose deceitful practitioners.

But many netizens accused Mr Xu of trying to besmirch the country’s ancient fighting techniques: how, they asked, could a single fight prove anything?, a news portal, said Mr Xu’s posts over the years on Weibo, a microblog website, had insulted the Chinese army and Mao Zedong. Ye Yincong of Lingnan University in Hong Kong wrote that the reaction demonstrated a common tendency in China to view the world in terms of a struggle between Chinese tradition and Western influence.

Some kung-fu fighters have expressed willingness to take up Mr Xu’s challenge. But faced with a barrage of hate messages, Mr Xu appears to have lost his zeal. On May 4th he appeared in a live video-stream, looking stressed. “I have lost my career and everything,” he said, implying the pressure had been affecting his work as a mixed-martial-arts coach.
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Facebook Live's emerging role in policing and criminology

Facebook Live's emerging role in policing and criminology | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Facebook Live's emerging role in policing and criminology
Keisha Andrea Kay Manglona's comment, May 29, 2017 12:30 AM
The only difference in the crimes being committed today compared to back then is the technology the comes with it. Social media is more advance and plays a part in most people's everyday lives. Yes, you may be getting attention from millions of users but that doesn't mean it's the right kind of attention or even a good one. You may get that "15 minutes of fame" that the generations nowadays care for but then again, you may also be paying the consequences of your actions for a lifetime. There are pro's and con's when it comes to something like this. Yes, there is a higher chance of finding the culprit responsible along with the evidence from such videos. The only thing I dislike about this is that the lack of privacy a victim will now feel after having the world watch your demise.
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Harrisburg residents share ideas about ending crime wave

Harrisburg residents share ideas about ending crime wave | Criminology and Economic Theory |
HARRISBURG — More than 100 citizens, lawmakers, law enforcement and city officials met Monday night at Harrisburg City Hall for a Town Hall-style discussion on the recent crime wave which
Rob Duke's insight:
A good survey of remedies....
Anna Givens's comment, May 29, 2017 2:11 AM
What a great article- a much different tune than the rest. I appreciate that the mayor and sheriff organized this so that the community is able to come together to create new, fresh ideas while sharing their concerns. Even living within a community with imploding crime, I would feel great to live in a town where everyone joins together to help the community become a safer place. It is also wonderful that the community is able to help the PD and neighbors are able to look after one another in hopes to control the crime rates. "We need your support and we need your participation" is what the sheriff told the community and I think that getting the community involved makes the town a lot stronger and safer.
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The Poisoned Generation

The Poisoned Generation | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Lead was only one of many ecological risks her family faced. The playgrounds where Ryan and Ronnie played often brimmed with pools of fetid, standing water—owing to New Orleans’s fabled and constant flooding—that were sometimes tainted with battery acid. Billieson had heard tell about the regurgitated sewage and chemical waste from Louisiana’s booming petrochemical operations that flowed back into dirt common spaces where her children learned to walk, all while they breathed in the emissions from the nearby roads and highways.

Some other kids across the virtually all-black New Orleans housing projects had it even worse. That year, the Press Park section of the Desire projects and its nearby elementary school were declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency for a concoction of known contaminants leaching from a closed landfill.
Rob Duke's insight:
How much is lead responsible for violence? 
Stanley Kreft's comment, May 28, 2017 8:32 PM
I think there needs to be more research and data gathering into potential lead linked causes of crime. As lead paints, plumbing and gas additives, were around for quite a few years prior to the 80's and 90's there would need to be a much greater in depth look at crime in relation to lead. One could also run statistical tests in regards to the lead released from car emissions in all major cities were there would be a compounding effect of the toxins.
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Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Overdue - Columbia Business Times

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Overdue - Columbia Business Times | Criminology and Economic Theory |
I expected that, by the time this article was published, the Missouri General Assembly would have passed a prescription drug monitoring program that would make Missouri the last state in the country to adopt one. They didn’t.

Prescription drug monitoring programs in the U.S. are not new, but they’ve constantly evolved as policies have reflected changes in society’s attitude toward prescription drugs. According to a study published by Pew Charitable Trusts, nine statewide PDMPs were established by 1990, starting with California, in 1939. In their early forms, many of these programs were operated by law enforcement or regulatory agencies and had a narrow focus on tracking Schedule II drugs, primarily opioids. Prescribers and pharmacists in these states rarely received the reports filed under these programs.

While the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Grants and the passage of the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act reflect the federal government’s growing interest in PDMPs, the states carry the burden of operations, oversight, and enforcement. And despite nearly all states enacting or approaching the adoption of similar programs, the function of these programs remains inconsistent.
Rob Duke's insight:
This type of program is fine, but without pain management programs and decriminalized cannabis (which makes a good substitute for opiates in that it both reduces pain and often inflammation) there will be an explosion in heroin soon after.  Once the doctors know that their discretion is being monitored, they'll become reticent to prescribe opiates, which forces patients to seek help on the black market.
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Prostitution and the internet: More bang for your buck | The Economist

Prostitution and the internet: More bang for your buck | The Economist | Criminology and Economic Theory |

FOR those seeking commercial sex in Berlin, Peppr, a new app, makes life easy. Type in a location and up pops a list of the nearest prostitutes, along with pictures, prices and physical particulars. Results can be filtered, and users can arrange a session for a €5-10 ($6.50-13) booking fee. It plans to expand to more cities.

Peppr can operate openly since prostitution, and the advertising of prostitution, are both legal in Germany. But even where they are not, the internet is transforming the sex trade. Prostitutes and punters have always struggled to find each other, and to find out what they want to know before pairing off. Phone-box “tart cards” for blonde bombshells and leggy señoritas could only catch so many eyes. Customers knew little about the nature and quality of the services on offer. Personal recommendations, though helpful, were awkward to come by. Sex workers did not know what risks they were taking on with clients.

Now specialist websites and apps are allowing information to flow between buyer and seller, making it easier to strike mutually satisfactory deals. The sex trade is becoming easier to enter and safer to work in: prostitutes can warn each other about violent clients, and do background and health checks before taking a booking. Personal web pages allow them to advertise and arrange meetings online; their clients’ feedback on review sites helps others to proceed with confidence.

Even in places such as America, where prostitution and its facilitation are illegal everywhere except Nevada, the marketing and arrangement of commercial sex is moving online. To get round the laws, web servers are placed abroad; site-owners and users hide behind pseudonyms; and prominently placed legalese frames the purpose of sites as “entertainment” and their content as “fiction”.

The shift online is casting light on parts of the sex industry that have long lurked in the shadows. Streetwalkers have always attracted the lion’s share of attention from policymakers and researchers because they ply their trade in public places. They are more bothersome for everyone else—and, because they are the most vulnerable, more likely to come to the attention of the police and of social or health workers. But in many rich countries they are a minority of all sex workers; just 10-20% in America, estimates Ronald Weitzer, a sociologist at George Washington University.

Leaving the streets behind
Others will still prefer to have a manager or assistant to take care of bookings and social media. “[Nowadays] you have people hitting you up on Twitter, Facebook, your website, and e-mail,” says Ms Doogan., an international listings site, allows prostitutes to tell clients whether they are currently available. But it means going online every hour or two, which is a chore. And online advertising is not cheap. Ms Doogan used to spend 10% of her income on print adverts; she spends far more on online ones because with so many people advertising, returns are lower. Checking customers’ bona fides also takes time.
Meanwhile some traditional forms of prostitution are struggling. In the decade to 2010 the number of licensed sex clubs in the Netherlands fell by more than half, according to a study for Platform31, a Dutch research network. Much of the decline will have been offset by the growth of sex work advertised online, it reckons. Many prostitutes would rather work from private premises than in a club or for an agency, says Sietske Altink, one of the authors. Dutch municipalities often bar such work—but the option of finding clients online makes such rules harder to enforce.

That shift will make the sex industry harder for all governments to control or regulate, whether they seek to do so for pragmatic or moralistic reasons, or out of concern that not all those in the industry are there by their own free will. Buyers and sellers of sex who strike deals online are better hidden and more mobile than those who work in brothels, or from clubs or bars, points out Professor Weitzer of George Washington University. Ireland has banned the advertising of sexual services since 1994. The prohibition has achieved almost nothing, says Graham Ellison, a sociologist at Queen’s University in Belfast. Websites simply moved to other jurisdictions. The closure of those such as MyRedBook may prompt American ones to do the same; as they grow more specialised, the excuse that they merely host classified advertisements is wearing thin.

In the long term there will always be people who, for whatever reason, want to hire a prostitute rather than do without sex or pick up a partner in a bar. As paid-for sex becomes more readily and discreetly available online, more people will buy it. A greater awareness may develop that not all sex workers are the victims of exploitation. The very discretion—and the hidden nature of such prostitution—may also mean that the stigma persists. But, overall, sex workers will profit. The internet has disrupted many industries. The oldest one is no exception.

Rob Duke's insight:
This is illustrative of crime in general: with the Third Industrial Revolution ( boom), we see many illegal activities shifting to an e-commerce model which strips out most of the violence.  Perhaps because of this sans-violence approach, social norms also appear to be shifting so that behaviors once shunned are now taking a "taboo, but accepted" status.
Rob Duke's curator insight, May 30, 2017 5:06 AM
This is illustrative of crime in general: with the Third Industrial Revolution ( boom), we see many illegal activities shifting to an e-commerce model which strips out most of the violence. Perhaps because of this sans-violence approach, social norms also appear to be shifting so that behaviors once shunned are now taking a "taboo, but accepted" status.

The question for policing is how to deal with this shift.  Laws will remain on the books for some time because legal shifts tend to lag behind social shifts.  Do the police ignore the shift or do they become proactive in helping the law change?

Not only this, but do the police begin to view these fringe social dwellers as part of the "we" and not as the "them" that they have previously been grouped.  If we embrace these folks as a part of the "we", that means we begin to treat them with respect and sometimes act as if we don't "see" their indiscretions or taboo activities.  It's not like we don't already do so.  How many times have we stopped upstanding citizens who are in places where they shouldn't be with people other than their spouses?  When this happens, we engage in polite games of "we don't judge" and "don't worry, we don't gossip".  Will we do the same for this group of emerging social ladder climbers?
Austin Thomas's comment, June 2, 2017 12:43 AM
This is a perfect example of criminals (or potential criminals) getting involved with the sex trade and adapting to the modern day technologies. Even though it is legal in the area it is not legal in other places and the use of the internet and encrypted messeging apps can make it very hard to track or gather evidence. This ties directly into the classicist approach to criminolgy. Workers in the sex trade are adapting to the changing world around them to avoid potential detection. Although the threat of punishment is still there the risk side of the equation goes way down using the internet the right way.
Laura Lee Smith's comment, June 2, 2017 8:32 PM
People talk about "victim-less crimes" and Puritanical based laws that reflect Judeo-Christian values more than actual negative impact to society and I believe voluntary prostitution to be an example of that, controlling what a woman/man has the legal right to do with their own body seems illogical at best. However my concern with technological growth in this industry in particular is sex-trafficking during which the individuals can be forced to appear willing. I think were this field less penalized more victims would feel safe coming forward and asking for help, rather than worrying they will end up in a worse situation like a prison or deported.
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Prosecutors are pushing back against Sessions order to pursue most severe penalties

Prosecutors are pushing back against Sessions order to pursue most severe penalties | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Prosecutors say Sessions's directive “marks an unnecessary and unfortunate return to past 'tough on crime' practices” that will do more harm than good in their communities.
Laura Lee Smith's comment, May 29, 2017 9:25 PM
I absolutely agree that this type of push for harsh sentencing is counter-productive to say the least given the types of crimes that receive heavier sentences are disproportionately commited by minorities while those committed more often by Caucasian men like tax fraud receive lighter sentences and create a larger economic impact.
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Juvenile Crime: Drawn to crime by drugs

Juvenile Crime: Drawn to crime by drugs | Criminology and Economic Theory |
John Winston said during his career as a juvenile probation officer, a lot has changed, from the types of crimes involving juveniles to the younger ages of those in trouble for the first time.

However, the root causes remain the same.

“Drugs and alcohol are the underlying factors in most of the issues and charges,” Winston said. “It has always been that way.”

Winston said when he first started, a juvenile in trouble might be a teen with a "joint" (marijuana cigarette). Now, officers are arresting juveniles with harder drugs.

“Violence and drugs, it seems to go hand-in-hand,” Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said. “They’re breaking into cars, committing thefts -- all to support those habits.

“We have some that keep coming back until they graduate to adult court. If you don’t do something to change their habits, they will graduate to adult court and prison.”
Laura Lee Smith's comment, May 29, 2017 9:27 PM
This very problem is part of the reason I am so interested in juvenile offender treatment prograsm, eveyr dollar invested in helping a youth saves more down the road in potential lost property, public property, rehabilitation costs. Unfortunately many parents simply aren't equipped with the tools to deal with issues like these and thus a concerted effort by local governments is necessary, and good people to carry it out.
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Anchorage police: Credit union robbery suspect has been arrested

In a text message, police said 41-year-old Jennifer Trengrove was arrested “without incident.” The police department previously described Trengrove as a person of interest in the case.
Jenna's comment, June 2, 2017 12:49 AM
I am happy with how quickly the Anchorage Police Department can work. Some citizens do not understand why the police cannot just go out the same day and make an arrest, however, it takes a little bit more than just placing someone under arrest. Some cases take a few months in order to make arrests. The swift action of the APD builds trust in the community which ultimately leads to power and legitimacy.
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Todd Kohlhepp pleads guilty to murdering 7

Todd Kohlhepp pleads guilty to murdering 7 | Criminology and Economic Theory |
A South Carolina real estate agent accused of killing seven people over 13 years -- four in 2003 and three found last year on his property -- pleaded guilty Friday to seven counts of murder.

Todd Kohlhepp, who was arrested in November after police rescued a woman found inside a shipping container at his farm near Woodruff, also pleaded guilty in the Spartanburg County courthouse to two counts of kidnapping and one count of criminal sexual assault.
Anna Givens's comment, May 29, 2017 1:51 AM
I remember reading about this crime last year but never revisited it to learn of the details that went on. The article talks about Todd's past of violence when they mention he is a sex offender who held a young girl at gun point because assaulting her. With a background of that kind, he was never properly rehabilitated back into society as a changed person and he therefore was able to commit more crimes. This makes me wonder- because he was a teenager was he let off for this crime and therefore was never really held accountable for his crime- maybe making him think he is invisicable to commit further crimes and get away with them as well.
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2 fatally stabbed on Portland train after trying to calm "ranting" man

2 fatally stabbed on Portland train after trying to calm "ranting" man | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Two people were fatally stabbed and a third was injured after trying to intervene after a man was spewing hateful language aboard a Portland MAX train Friday.
Laura Lee Smith's comment, June 2, 2017 8:39 PM
Another example of hatred of minorities that has been encourage by a stream of nationalist invective coming from a man who should be the leader of the entire nation and encourage us to be stronger together. is extremely sad these two men lost their lives but it gives me hope there are men in a demonized group "Caucasian men" that do not believe or support that kind of ideology and I'm sure reinforces to those members of minorities that we are not as divided as the news would have us believe.
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Beyond ‘cops on the dots’: How Dayton police are using data to battle crime hot spots

Beyond ‘cops on the dots’: How Dayton police are using data to battle crime hot spots | Criminology and Economic Theory |

The Dayton Police Department plans to use a new investigative strategy that focuses on “micro areas” of violent crime to not only bring criminals to justice also to disrupt their networks and eliminate or clean up places where criminals hang out, meet, shop, live and make preparations to engage in illegal activity. 

Where police resources are deployed is based on crime rates and trends, but deeper analysis is needed to truly understand how to craft the most effective police response, said Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl. 

“The most frequent strategy or tactic in law enforcement is called ‘hot spot policing,’ or it’s called cops on the dots,” he said. “Where the data aggregates — the dots appear with greater density — that’s where you deploy police officers.”

But, Biehl said, police also need to engage those areas and interact with the community to achieve meaningful and sustained reductions in crime, he said. 

The Dayton Police Department is about to try a new strategy to cool off the tiny crime hot spots by taking away the places criminals hang out, live, gather and meet to support their illegal activities. 

Last month, Biehl discussed research that found that about 39 percent of shootings, 14 percent of robberies and 17 percent of firearms offenses in Dayton last year occurred in very small parts of the city, referred to as high-crime micro areas. 

Put together, those tiny hot spots represent less than 0.7 square miles of space. 

Taking a page out of Cincinnati’s playbook, the police department plans to try to reduce gun violence and criminal activity at some of the city’s worst hot spots high-crime “micro areas” through a data-driven, place-based investigative strategy.

Rob Duke's insight:
Here's a criminologist career that doesn't require one to work graveyard patrol: crime analyst....analyze crime, make policy recommendations, attend briefings and managerial meetings to report on crime trends, help develop budget and planning documents.
Laura Lee Smith's comment, May 29, 2017 9:30 PM
I love the use of technology and understanding of human behavior that go into changes in policing like this, an excellent use of tools and data tracking can make a real difference in the lives of residents of these neighborhoods as well as substantially affect crime for years to come if the disruptions to crime networks are severe enough to force them to shut down or relocate, now imagine if EVERY department did this! As our world becomes more and more connected, the technology we develop can be used to solve problems individuals cannot by increasing our ability to see, hear, and respond to crime in ways criminals may not always anticipate.
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When a Farmer Punches Back at the Feds

When a Farmer Punches Back at the Feds | Criminology and Economic Theory |
John Duarte faces millions of dollars in fines for breaching the Clean Water Act by plowing 450 acres of farmland. If Duarte ultimately loses in court, his fall will affect the property rights of landowners and farmers across the U.S.
Rob Duke's insight:
White Collar Crime: yae or nae?
Keisha Andrea Kay Manglona's comment, May 28, 2017 11:55 PM
I would look at it this as a White Collar Crime. Someone who is a fourth-generation producer like Mr. John Duarte would have a good understanding on the layout of his property and be familiarized with the CWA's standards and regulations. The fact that Mr. Duarte offered to have someone come unto his property to see for themselves that he is adhering to the regulations, only to be paid no mind baffles me. Especially how the DOJ sent a team in and exactly the same thing what Mr. Duarte is being accused of, if not more. Not only that but also how it was handled in court. It seems that the Corps were trying to find any excuse as to why Mr. Duarte was being fined.
Rob Duke's comment, May 29, 2017 1:29 PM
I managed a regional wastewater authority for about a decade and saw clean water law being extended due to 1. staff activism; and, 2. increased technology and improved testing measures. The Clean Water Act (CWA) didn't set levels of pollution, but instead said "no degradation" was allowed. But in 1978, when we passed the CWA, we could test to parts per million. Today we can test parts per billion, thus what would not have ever been considered pollution in 1978, now an order of magnitude lower is illegal. The other problem is that the Constitutions gives the Feds jurisdiction for interstate transportation, which by extension includes the navigable waterways. By further extension, the courts ruled that pollution control is included in those duties. Further, the courts ruled that the Feds had jurisdiction for any water that was connected to a navigable waterway even if only connected by "one molecule". Originally, staff interpreted this as being any slough that say ran alongside the Mississippi river, but now as this case illustrates, a temporary puddle on an inland farm pasture is claimed in their jurisdiction....a regulation too far? So, far the courts have said no.
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UAF named its bird lab after this man. Now he’s guilty of bird smuggling

A renowned bird collector whose name was adopted by the University of Alaska for its ornithology lab in Fairbanks pleaded guilty in federal court last week to smuggling bird carcasses into the United States.

Heinrich "Henry" Springer, a longtime research associate with the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks, helped smuggle the bird specimens into the country for his own collection and for a Florida friend between May 2010 and October 2014, according to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in U.S. District Court in Gainesville, Florida.

Springer, now 80 years old, declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday. His attorney did not respond to an email and phone message Tuesday seeking comment.

Springer is a former member of the Alaska House, representing Nome as a Democrat from 1987 to 1988. He also once served as the executive director of the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority and as chairman of the Alaska Board of Game.
Rob Duke's insight:
White Collar Crime or overly restrictive Federal laws?
Boan White's comment, May 25, 2017 5:53 PM
You just can't trust people nowadays. For someone respected, to the point of having a bird lab named after him, could do something so illegal makes me wonder if there are truly all that many honorable people out there anymore.
Anna Givens's comment, June 10, 2017 4:21 AM
White collar crime. Springer misused and took advantage of his position with the University to obtain items (birds) for his pleasure as well as a friends, so generous of him, right? No matter the good he has done for the state and university he needs to be reprimanded and I believe be cut off from the University 100% which means renaming that lab. He is 80 years old now and I think that being hit with the appropriate fines and UA relinishquing the honors they gave him would be an appropriate punishment. What does everyone else think?
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Legal practitioners discuss juveniles access to justice

Legal practitioners discuss juveniles access to justice | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Legal practitioners have been challenged to advocate for children’s rights irrespective of the economic standing of the families of the children.

The call was made, last week, by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Isabelle Karihangabo, during a consultative meeting that brought together different stakeholders to discuss access to justice by juveniles.

Besides lawyers, the meeting in Kigali was also attended by government officials, prosecutors, police and members of the civil society.

“You must ensure that children get free access to justice be it those from rich or poor families. Free access to justice for juvenile offenders is enshrined in the country’s laws. It is therefore your duty to ensure this is respected,” said Karihangabo.

She said restorative justice that is aimed to correct the behaviour of the children should be prioritised.
Rob Duke's insight:
News from Rwanda....
No comment yet.
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Purse snatcher seriously injures 71-year-old outside Fairbanks bingo hall, police say

A man being held on robbery and assault charges in Fairbanks broke a woman’s pelvis when he snatched her purse and knocked her down, police say.
Boan White's comment, May 25, 2017 5:57 PM
what is the world coming to that the elderly must fear from others there health at least there health at worst, is nothing sacred anymore.
Keisha Andrea Kay Manglona's comment, May 29, 2017 12:13 AM
It goes to show that regardless if you live in a heavily populated area or a small town, there are still individuals who resorts to petty crimes regardless of the consequences. Especially around the time frame similar to this article because there are not much people awake or present to witness such crimes. I do hope preventive measures would be taken to deter future outcomes like this lady went through. Perhaps having a companion with at those times of the day or a hired security guard just to ensure patrons get to their vehicles safely.
Anna Givens's comment, May 29, 2017 2:00 AM
I read this on the Newsminer a few weeks ago and I can't say I am shocked. I have only lived in Fairbanks for a year but within the last few months there has been an increasing amount of violent crimes within the community. Law enforcement here seems to be doing a great job in finding suspects and making sure justice is served- but I hope that this begins to show the criminals in the area that their activity will not be stood for and it will not be taken lightly. Everyday I see the FPD putting out suspect photos looking for individuals for theft, robbery, etc and it worries me going out to run errands alone. I am glad they were able to find the man who injured this elder lady and I hope crime starts to decrease in our area.