Public Safety

  • ATF to require gun dealers to report multiple rifle sales

    Mexico, reeling under the weight of the escalating armed conflict between the government and the drug cartels, is on the verge of becoming a failed, ungovernable state on the U.S. door-step; U.S. and Mexican experts say that 90 percent of the tens of thousands of the semi-automatic rifles in the arsenals of the cartels are smuggled from the United State; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has announced a new measure, requiring U.S. gun dealers to report multiple sales of rifles to authorities; Texas law enforcement authorities say that since the reporting requirements will only include the southwest border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California — guns will continue to flow into Mexico from other parts of the United States — and from other countries

  • U.S. not ready for bioterrorism

    New report finds that if a major disease incident or bioterrorism attack were to occur today, the United States would not be ready for it; significant local, state, and federal budget cuts have had a negative impact on public health departments’ ability to maintain staff capabilities, and their ability to respond to crises

  • Closing of U.K. forensics research centers triggers protest

    The U.K. government announced that the Forensic Science Service — a leading research center based in Birmingham, United Kingdom — will be closed by 2012 because of budgetary reasons; law enforcement leaders and scientists calls on the government to reconsider the decision, saying that “The reputation of forensic science in the U.K. will undoubtedly diminish —- The lack of research means that we will be lagging behind the rest of the world, and justice will suffer”

  • ShotSpotter to detect gun firing in Huntington Station

    To combat rising gun violence in Huntington Station, Long Island, Suffolk County has decided to deploy the ShotSpotter gunfire detection system; ShotSpotter, an acoustic surveillance system, uses microphones that pick up the sounds of gunfire. Patrol cars with laptop computers can then detect the origin of the shots within ten feet

  • New camera technology may give soldiers eyes in the back of their heads

    DARPA is looking for ideas on how to develop a small and light device which will give the user zoom vision, various forms of night sight, and act as a heads-up display besides; perhaps best of all, the proposed kit would also offer “full sphere awareness” — that is, eyes in the back of your head

  • Mobile phone forensic tools to reduce hi-tech crimes

    Government funded technology center in India is developing a set of mobile forensic tools that will assist the law enforcement agencies in cracking unlawful activities committed using mobile phones; the center is a government agency, and will be able to provide the tools at reasonable cost

  • Holder: threat of homegrown terrorism "keeps me up at night"

    U.S. attorney general Eric Holder says the danger of homegrown terror “keeps me up at night”: “The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born”; the attorney general said that of 126 people who have been charged with allegations related to terrorism in the past 24 months, 50 had been American citizens; Holder dismissed criticism of recent FBI sting operations, which some have argued employed the use of illegal “entrapment,” offering that “options are always given all along the way for them to say, ‘You know what, I have changed my mind. I don’t want to do it’”

  • CIA forms taskforce to assess fallout from 250,000 leaked U.S. cables

    The CIA has formed a task force to assess the impact of 250,000 leaked U.S. diplomatic cables; the group will scour the released documents to survey damage caused by the disclosures; the name of the task force is WikiLeaks Task Force, or WTF for short; WTF is more commonly associated with the Facebook and Twitter profiles of teenagers, where the acronyms stand for three words used to express extreme disbelief or annoyance

  • Millions allowed into U.S. without proper border documents

    The inspector general for DHS estimated this week that about 3.6 million people a year were still passing through customs without the required documents — passports or other hard-to-forge identification cards — and that about half of those were coming through the border crossings in Texas

  • State-federal tensions on immigration issues continue

    Governor David Patterson of New York has pardoned six immigrants facing deportation because, he says, deportation is unjustified in their cases; “[immigration officials] may take no account of the New York State criminal justice decisions, but I do,” he said; the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the first of two controversial Arizona immigration law; this law was signed by then governor Janet Napolitano, now DHS secretary in the administration which is challenging the law in court

  • Senate to ratify New START pact today

    The New START pact passed a key procedural hurdle on Tuesday when the Senate voted to bring the weapons pact between the United States and Russia to the floor of the Senate for a final vote, which is likely to be held today, Wednesday; the Senate voted 67-28 to pass a cloture motion, seemingly enough to assure final ratification; eleven Republicans joined with fifty-six Democrats to pass the cloture motion; it will take sixty-seven votes to ratify the New START pact; even if the U.S. arsenal is reduced by 30 percent, as stipulated in New START, the United States would still have 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads; there are signs that these aging systems need refurbishing and modernization — and the $80 billion over ten years earmarked for this purpose is a good investment

  • Carjackings, violence to increase in wake of Mexico prison break

    Close to 200 drug dealers, murderers, and human traffickers broke out of a Nuevo Laredo prison — probably with the help of guards who were bribed or threatened; members of the Zetas were behind the prison break, and they are expanding their influence in cities close to the U.S. border; intelligence analysts say that the breakout means that we should expect more violence in cities within the Zetas-dominated areas

  • U.S. kill vehicle missile defense weapon fails test

    The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has suffered another failure in a live test conducted last week over the Pacific; the first part of the test — detecting and tracking the “enemy” missile by the Sea Based X-band Radar — went well; the second part — getting an Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) to place itself in the path of the oncoming missile warhead and destroying it — did not work; the Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) triple-stage rocket is the most capable tool in the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s armory, but its test record is spotty at best

  • Augmented GPS system can transmit emergency information around U.S.

    Commercial global positioning systems (GPS) like those dispensing driving directions in cars can provide reliable location information to within twenty feet, while an augmented system used primarily by the Coast Guard for navigation is even more accurate; researchers say that the augmented system, called Differential GPS or DGPS, can also be used to concurrently transmit emergency messages or other relevant data for use by DHS or other government agencies