• U.S. must address the “wicked problem” of wildfire

    U.S. wildfires burned more than 10.1 million acres in 2015 — a new record. Wildfire suppression costs the United States, on average, $2.9 billion a year. Researchers say that the United States must make preparing for and adapting to wildfire a top national priority, recognizing that widfire is a “wicked problem” — one so complex that a one-size-fits-all solution does not exist.

  • Brennan Center sues DHS, DOJ to make “Countering Violent Extremism” records public

    The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law last week sued DHS and the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records pertaining to an inter-agency initiative known as “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE). The CVE initiative is designed to identify and preempt Americans from becoming involved in “violent extremism” and is being implemented in Muslim communities in several parts of the country, including the three formally designated pilot cities of Los Angeles, Boston, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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  • IT system allows police to predict crimes, better organize police shifts

    Scientists have developed an IT system based in mathematical algorithms which allows to predict how many and what type of crimes are going to be committed in the next police shift. The developer say that it is about using scientific methods for police patrolling, and that it is the first case of predictive police methods are combined with a mathematical patrolling model.

  • Software helps detect nuclear tests

    When North Korea conducted its recent nuclear weapon test, it was not terribly difficult to detect. It was a fairly large blast, it occurred in a place where a test was not surprising, and the North Korean government made no effort to hide it. But clandestine tests of smaller devices, perhaps by terrorist organizations or other nonstate actors, are a different story. It is those difficult-to-detect events that the Vertically Integrated Seismic Analysis (VISA) — a machine learning system — aims to find.

  • Anaheim police employed Stingray surveillance devices

    Police in Anaheim, California have been using Stingray surveillance devices, as well as employing the more intrusive cousin, “dirtboxes,” during active investigations, without the knowledge of residents. More than 400 new documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union show that the department has requested funds for the technology, and that it has been using the devices since at least 2009.

  • Oregon militia member killed, others arrested after standoff with police

    Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 55, one of the armed antigovernment protesters occupying a remote federal facility in eastern Oregon, has been killed in a shootout with the FBI and state police. The group’s leader, Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy, and five other men were arrested. Those arrested were charged with conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.

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  • It is 3 minutes to midnight -- still

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists yesterday announced that the minute hand of the Bulletin’s closely watched Doomsday Clock will remain at three minutes to midnight, since recent progress in the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord “constitute only small bright spots in a darker world situation full of potential for catastrophe.” The Bulletin’s panel of security experts said that “Three minutes (to midnight) is too close. Far too close…” – but that this reflects “world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world’s attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change. When we call these dangers existential, that is exactly what we mean: They threaten the very existence of civilization and therefore should be the first order of business for leaders who care about their constituents and their countries.”

  • Paramedics' risk of being assaulted far exceeds risk to firefighting colleagues

    Research found that y medical technicians and paramedics are fourteen times more likely to be violently injured on the job than the firefighters they work alongside. The researchers found that assault-related injuries are often not reported, not acknowledged by administration, and therefore they are internalized by the workers as a “part of the job.”

  • Paramedics' risk of being assaulted far exceeds risk to firefighting colleagues

    Research found that y medical technicians and paramedics are fourteen times more likely to be violently injured on the job than the firefighters they work alongside. The researchers found that assault-related injuries are often not reported, not acknowledged by administration, and therefore they are internalized by the workers as a “part of the job.”

  • Europol bolsters EU’s counterterrorism capabilities

    Europe is currently facing the most significant terrorist threat in over ten years. The Paris attacks on 13 November 2015 indicate a shift toward a clear international dimension of Islamic State to carry out special forces-style attacks in the international environment. This and the growing number of foreign fighters are posing new challenges for EU Member States. Europol says that more attacks in the EU may happen in the future. Therefore, there is a great need within the European Union to strengthen our response to terror, to suspected terrorist networks and foreign fighters, and have an improved strategic understanding of threats.

  • Most Americans support smart guns: Survey

    In 2014, the most recent year for which final data are available, 33,599 people died in the United States from gun violence. The majority were suicides (more than 21,000 deaths), and firearm homicides accounted for more than 11,000 deaths. Unintentional shootings, in which children are often the shooter or the victim, comprised more than 500 deaths that year. Survey finds that nearly 60 percent of Americans, if they buy a new handgun, are willing to purchase a smart or childproof gun — a weapon that is only operable in the hands of an authorized user.

  • How dangerous people get their guns

    The San Bernardino massacre is unique in several respects, but it does bring into focus an important issue with broad relevance: how do dangerous people obtain guns, and what should the police and courts be doing to make those transactions more difficult? Criminal assaults with guns kill thirty Americans every day, and injure another 170. The guns carried and misused by youths, gang members, and active criminals are more likely than not obtained by transactions that violate federal or state law. Unlike in the case of Enrique Marquez, a friend and neighbor of the terrorist couple who purchased two military-style rifles for them, it is rare for the people who provide these guns to the eventual shooters to face any legal consequences. Currently it is rare for those who provide guns to offenders to face any legal consequences, and changing that situation will require additional resources directed to a proactive enforcement directed at penetrating the social networks of gun offenders.

  • Northwestern enhancing local safety with new volunteer emergency response training

    Northwestern University says it is enhancing its commitment to the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors by launching a new training session of its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program for volunteers this April. The CERT program is a volunteer opportunity and training program for community members to help support preparedness activities, community welfare during major special events and organized community recovery efforts following a crisis.

  • Mining social media improves disaster response efforts

    Leveraging publicly available social media posts could help disaster response agencies quickly identify impacted areas in need of assistance, according to a team of researchers. By analyzing the September 2013 Colorado floods, researchers showed that a combination of remote sensing, Twitter and Flickr data could be used to identify flooded areas.

  • A firefighter drone flies, crawls up walls

    The 1974 American disaster film “Towering Inferno” depicted well the earnest struggles of firefighters engaged in ending a fire at a 138-story skyscraper. To this day, fires at high-rise buildings are considered one of the most dangerous disasters. Researchers developed a wall-climbing scout drone to fight fires in high-rises, finding the source of the fires and locating people trapped inside.