Law Enforcement

  • U.S. tech companies increase lobbying efforts related to surveillance, NSA

    Technology firms Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, among other tech powerhouses, are quietly increasing lobbying efforts directed at government surveillance laws as they seek to have a say in what Congress does regarding surveillance reforms and National Security Agency (NSA) programs. Traditionally, tech firms have not pushed for restrictions on the ability of the U.S. intelligence community to collect data, and it is not clear what position these industry leaders will take, whether they plan to take a position at all, or whether they will present lawmakers with a united industry front.

  • Fighting al-Shabab’s recruitment efforts in U.S. Somali community

    Somali community organizations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area are taking a proactive approach to the war against terrorist recruitment in America’s Somali community. “Given our support for the African peacekeeping mission, and the fact that the U.S. remains a top al Qaeda target, we need to get ahead of al-Shabab’s efforts to radicalize vulnerable youth,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Representative Ed Royce (R-California) said in his opening remarks at the hearing on the subject earlier this month.

  • Man arrested in connection with LAX dry ice bombs

    Four dry ice bombs were planted in restricted area of LAX Sunday and Monday. Two bombs exploded, causing no injury or damage, and two were found before they exploded. The LAPD announced it had arrested 28-year-old Dicarlo Bennett, an LAX employee of one of the airport’s ground crew contractors, Servisair. The LAPD chief says the police and FBI believe there was “no nexus” between the bombs and terrorism, but that the incident is related to a labor dispute.

  • Calif. Gov. Brown vetoes restrictive assault weapon measures

    Governor Jerry Brown of California, saying that “The state of California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country,” on Friday vetoed two measures which would have restricted the sale and possession of some semi-automatic assault weapons, and two other measures which would have tightened firearms reporting requirements and denied guns to DUI offenders. The governor’s vetoes derailed the most sweeping gun legislation measures to be considered so far this year by the California legislature. Brown signed several smaller pieces of gun legislation into law on Friday.

  • German neo-Nazis targeted Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for assassination

    Beate Zschäpe, the last surviving members of the National Socialist Underground, a violent German neo-Nazi group, is on trial this month for taking part in the murders of eight Turkish immigrants, one Greek man, and a German policewoman, in addition to participating in fifteen bank robberies and two bomb attacks. In testimony Monday, a police investigator said that computer files found in an apartment used by NSU member indicate that in 2002, the group was working on a plot to assassinate the then-chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

  • Predicting violence among psychopaths no more accurate than tossing a coin

    Risk assessment tools used to predict prisoner re-offending are no more accurate than tossing a coin when it comes to psychopaths, according to new research. The researchers say the findings — which also show the tools perform at best moderately in those with depression, drug and alcohol dependence, and schizophrenia — have major implications for risk assessment in criminal populations.

  • Shots exchanged near Capitol Hill, suspect – a woman -- hit

    Shots were exchanged around 2:15 p.m. this afternoon outside the Hart Senate Building on Capitol Hill between police officers and a lone gunmen. Congressional buildings on both the Senate and the House side were placed under lock-down for about an hour. The lock-down was lifted at 3:00p.m. Police said the fire was exchanged between police officers and a woman in a black car, who had earlier was driving suspiciously near the White House. She sped away from the White House when police approached her, and sped toward Capitol Hill.

  • Violent hate crimes, lone-wolf terrorism share characteristics

    Researchers examined the timing, locations, methods, targets, and geographic distributions of lone-actor terrorist attacks, group-based terrorist attacks, and violent hate crimes that occurred in the United States between 1992 and 2010. They found that locations where the 101 lone-actor terrorism incidents occurred shared more demographic similarities with the locations of the 46,000 violent hate crimes than with the locations of 424 group-based terrorist attacks over the time period.

  • Conference marks opening of UMass Lowell’s new Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

    Top counterterrorism and law enforcement officials and leading researchers are today (Tuesday) gathering at UMass Lowell to discuss the challenges they face in protecting the public and their work to find solutions to security threats. The event marks the opening of UMass Lowell’s new Center for Terrorism and Security Studies.

  • Updated, expanded “Crime Scene Investigation” guide now available

    Investigators and first responders can find the latest recommendations on crime scene investigations in the newly updated Crime Scene Investigation, A Guide for Law Enforcement.

  • Pentagon to review security clearance procedure, military base security

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel acknowledged at a news conference on Wednesday that the procedure for granting security clearances will be looked at, and probably needed fixing, telling reporters that “a lot of red flags” about Alexis’s past behavior were missed. Among the questions will be whether more personal information — even short of information on a criminal conviction — should be looked at before a security clearance is granted, and whether security clearance reviews should be conducted more often. Hagel also announced that he had ordered a broad review of procedures at military bases around the world.

  • New study shows link between rates of gun ownership and homicides

    A new study shows that U.S. states with higher estimated rates of gun ownership experience a higher number of firearms-related homicides. The study, covering thirty years (1981-2010) in all fifty states, found a “robust correlation” between estimated levels of gun ownership and actual gun homicides at the state level, even when controlling for factors typically associated with homicides. For each 1 percentage point increase in the prevalence of gun ownership, the state firearm homicide rate increases by 0.9 percent, the authors found.

  • Using math to track, predict criminals’ next move

    One way to study criminal behavior and predict a criminal’s next move is by analyzing his or her movement. Several mathematical models have addressed this in detail, in particular, the UCLA “burglary hotspot” model. Mathematicians now propose a mathematical model that analyzes criminal movement in terms of a Lévy flight, a pattern in which criminals tend to move locally as well as in large leaps to other areas. This closely replicates daily human commute in big cities.

  • U.K. newspapers complain government "conflating terrorism and journalism"

    The U.K. government, relying on the Terrorism Act 2000, has recently taken actions against several newspapers, culminating the 18 August detention at Heathrow Airport of David Miranda. Miranda is the companion of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian’s journalist who broke the Snowden story, and the security services believed Miranda, a Brazilian, was transporting Snowden-related material with him. He was detained and questioned for nine hours.

  • Suburban Chicago police cancels anti-terrorism training course after complaints

    The police at the city of Lombard, Illinois, has cancelled a class on counterterrorism after the Chicago branch of a Muslim advocacy group complained that the Florida-based instructor and his teachings were blatantly anti-Muslim. The instructor has faced similar criticism in Florida. The course was to be taught through the North East Multi-Regional Training group, which trains Illinois police and corrections employees. The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board said it was reviewing the course – titled “Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy” – and the materials used in it. The board said that instructor’s qualifications will also be reviewed.