• Florida's Stand Your Ground law linked to rise in homicide rates in the state

    Before 2005, Florida’s so-called “Castle doctrine” allowed the use of lethal force in situations where individuals believed there was an imminent threat of death or serious physical harm from an intruder within their own home. In 2005 Florida enacted the Stand Your Ground law, extending the “no duty to retreat” clause of the Castle doctrine, giving individuals immunity for using lethal force to defend themselves in public places, as well as on private property. Anew analysis shows that thechange in Florida’s self-defense laws has been linked with the state’s homicide rates going up by nearly a quarter.

  • FBI releases hate crime statistics report

    The FBI says that hate crimes can have a devastating impact upon the communities where they occur, which is one of the reasons why the investigation of hate crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction is the number one priority under the FBI’s civil rights program. The Bureau’s just-publishedreport, covering 2015, reveals 5,850 criminal incidents and 6,885 related offenses that were motivated by bias against race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.

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  • Advanced anti-drone protection and neutralization system unveiled

    Elbit Systems will use the Israel HLS & Cyber Conference, taking place this week in Tel Aviv, to unveil its ReDrone system, a solution for protection of closed air spaces, national infrastructures, and other critical areas against hostile drones penetrating the protected perimeter. The new system addresses growing global demand for effective – and affordable — airspace protection against hostile drones.

  • Bathroom air freshener triggers emergency response at nuclear weapons complex

    Late in the afternoon on Wednesday of last week officials at the nuclear weapons complex declared an emergency after finding what they regarded as a suspicious device in a bathroom at the Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina. Emergency teams determined that the suspicious device was an air freshener wrapped in paper towels with a flashing light on it.

  • UN chief alarmed at “weakening taboo” after Syrian chemical weapons attacks

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his concerned Monday about “the weakening taboo” against chemical weapons attacks, after numerous reports that more such attacks have taken place in Syria in recent weeks. In a letter to the UN Security Council, Ban expressed fears that the use of chemical weapons could become “normalized in this or any conflict, present or future.”

  • Forensic technique to measure mechanical properties of evidence

    You may have seen it on CSI: The star examines hair from a crime scene and concludes its color or texture looks like the defendant’s hair, or maybe his dog’s. Case closed. But looks can be deceiving, as well as vague and subjective. In real life, the FBI is now reviewing thousands of cases involving hair comparisons going back to the 1980s because traditional identifications—often based on looks alone — have been called into question. Instead, what if investigators could precisely measure a hair’s mechanical properties — its stiffness and stickiness? Researchers say that in fact, they can.

  • Less crime, and fewer incarcerations: As New York became a safer city, prisons closed too

    Overflowing prison populations and high rates of violent crime once made New York City a metaphor for the urban decay confronting America’s cities. But over the last two decades crime in the nation’s largest city has declined steeply, with murders plummeting from 2,200 in 1990 to 350 in 2015. New York City’s crime decline was coupled with a sustained and dramatic reduction in incarceration, allowing the state to close more than a dozen prisons and save tens of millions of dollars. New York is now not only the safest big city in the United States, but also one with the fewest incarcerations for its size.

  • Trump's win spurs surge in private prison stocks

    Shares of private prison companies Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group jumped 48.1 percent and 20.8 percent, respectively, on Wednesday following Tuesday’s victory by Donald Trump in the presidential election. If Trump follows through on his campaign pledge to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, this will be a boon for the private prison industry.

  • Loophole in Rhode Island law allows domestic abusers to keep firearms, despite risks

    Courts in Rhode Island rarely require abusers to turn in their firearms, even when orders prohibit them from possessing firearms under federal law and there is evidence they pose a lethal risk to victims, according to new research. examined 1,609 case files of protective orders filed in Rhode Island Family and District courts from 2012 to 2014. “In Rhode Island, domestic abusers are rarely required to turn in their firearms — even when they are federally prohibited from possessing them,” said one researcher. “Addressing this gap in the state’s law could help prevent risk of gun violence to potential abuse victims.”

  • Canada to investigate object that could be a nuke lost in 1950

    The Royal Canadian Navy is to investigate an object found by a diver off the coast of Queen Charolette Islands, suspecting it could be a “lost nuke” which was lost off the coast of Canada since 1950. On 13 February 1950, three of the engines of a U.S. Air Force B-36 bomber aircraft caught fire while flying from Alaska to Texas. The plane was on a training mission, planning to carry out a simulated nuclear attack on San Francisco. The crew decided to drop the bomb into the Pacific Ocean before bailing out because they were unsure of how close they were to populated areas.

  • Venezuela president’s relatives engaged in drug smuggling to help his campaign

    Jury selection began in New York yesterday (Wednesday) in the drug trial of two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady. The two appeared in Manhattan federal court, charged with trying to put together a multimillion-dollar drug deal for the purpose of shoring up President Nicolas Maduro’s weakening hold on power. In secret taping of conversations with the two nephews, made by DEA informants, the two were not shy saying that the millions they would make in drug dealings would be used to help members of their family, including Maduro, in the coming December elections for Venezuela’s National Assembly.

  • Nuclear CSI: Noninvasive procedure could spot criminal nuclear activity

    Determining whether an individual – a terrorist, a smuggler, a criminal — has handled nuclear materials, such as uranium or plutonium, is a challenge national defense agencies currently face. The standard protocol to detect uranium exposure is through a urine sample; however, urine is able only to identify those who have been recently exposed. Scientists have developed a noninvasive procedures that will better identify individuals exposed to uranium within one year.

  • New 3-D crime-scene forensics technology

    Researchers are developing a new type of portable crime-scene forensics technology designed to take precise high-resolution 3-D images of shoeprints and tire tread marks in snow and soil. The system will cost around $5,000, which is about one-tenth the cost of systems commercially available, and represents an alternative to the traditional method of plaster casting.

  • Be Prepared: Canada engages youth in disaster resilience

    Large-scale natural disasters have been on the rise worldwide, and while the exact cause is unclear, there is something most scientists, policy-makers, and legislators can all agree with — the increasing global need to invest in disaster preparedness, prevention, and recovery. Canadian experts say they are constantly evaluating and improving Canada’s emergency preparedness and the most effective ways to keep people safe. But some experts are taking a different approach to disaster resiliency: they are engaging youth.

  • Harnessing science to help in emergency response

    Four years ago, communities across the East Coast faced Superstorm Sandy, a weather system that claimed more than seventy lives in the United States and caused $65 billion in damages. Earlier this month, Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti, killing more than a thousand people before turning north to the United States, where it caused another forty-three deaths. The NSF and NOAA collaborate to provide the necessary tools to ensure people respond appropriately to dangerous weather systems.