• Steam thermography may compete with luminol in solving crimes

    Luminol gets trotted out pretty frequently on TV crime shows, but a new technique might someday compete with the storied forensics tool as a police procedural plot device and, perhaps more importantly, as a means of solving real crimes. Researchers developed what they term “steam thermography,” which has the ability to detect blood spots in all kinds of spots — even in spots where luminol cannot.

  • Mexico to use drones, satellites in a renewed effort to find dead students

    Mexico said it would launch a new search, joined by international experts, for the remains of dozens of students training to be teachers who were abducted and apparently massacred in 2014. Forty-three students were abducted by corrupt municipal police, and then turned over to a local drug gang to be killed. Apparently, the gang leaders believed the students were linked to a rival drug gang in the area.

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  • Justice Department created new office to focus on domestic terrorists

    The Justice Department said this week that it has created a new office which would on homegrown extremists. Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin announced the move on Wednesday. He said the new office, the Domestic Terrorism Counsel, will be the main point of contact for federal prosecutors working on domestic terrorism cases. Carlin said the new office was created “in recognition of a growing number of potential domestic terrorism matters around the United States.” Following the 9/11 attacks, U.S. law enforcement had shifted its attention, and the allocation of law enforcement and intelligence resources, from domestic to foreign terrorism. The result, security experts say, was that federal authorities had lost sight of domestic extremists. “Looking back over the past few years, it is clear that domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists remain a real and present danger to the United States. We recognize that, over the past few years, more people have died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups,” Carlin said.

  • Predictive policing substantially reduces crime in Los Angeles during 21-month period

    Can math help keep our streets safer? A new study by a UCLA-led team of scholars and law enforcement officials suggests the answer is yes. A mathematical model they devised to guide where the Los Angeles Police Department should deploy officers, led to substantially lower crime rates during a recent 21-month period. The model was so successful that the LAPD has adopted it for use in 14 of its 21 divisions, up from three in 2013.

  • An app alerts people, law enforcement about potential crime risk

    You are walking home after a night out on a dark autumn evening. Suddenly, you get the feeling that someone is following you. You look over your shoulder, and see a shadow between the trees in the park. You quicken your steps. When you glance behind you again, you see the shadow disappear in between two houses. This is when you could press the “help” button on the app that you have downloaded. It sends a message to everyone in the area who also has the app, with information about your phone number and where you are. This way they are able to call you, alert emergency services, or get to your location if need be. The app has been developed by a group of student entrepreneurs.

  • Dissident republican terror attack “highly likely”: Northern Ireland police

    Will Kerr, Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable, said on Thursday that the threat from the New IRA, Continuity IRA, and Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) was at present severe, and that a dissident republican terror attack is “highly likely.” Kerr said the main armed republican groups which oppose the ceasefire would aim to ramp up their violence ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising against British rule in 2016. He noted that the republican dissidents had honed their skills and improved their rocket and bomb-making technology by studying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamist insurgents in Iraq.

  • Forensic facial examiners can be near perfect

    In what might be the first face-off of its kind, trained forensics examiners from the FBI and law enforcement agencies worldwide were far more accurate in identifying faces in photographs than nonexperts and even computers. The new assessment provides “the first strong evidence that facial forensic examiners are better at face recognition than the rest of us,” says a face recognition researcher.

  • Criminals acquire guns through social connections, not through theft or dirty dealers

    Criminals are far more likely to acquire guns from family and acquaintances than by theft, according to two new studies. “There are a number of myths about how criminals get their guns, such as most of them are stolen or come from dirty dealers. We didn’t find that to be the case,” says one of the researchers.

  • Two states changes gun laws, and suicide-by-firearm rates in the two states shift

    A new study examining changes in gun policy in two states finds that handgun purchaser licensing requirements influence suicide rates. Researchers estimate that Connecticut’s 1995 law requiring individuals to obtain a permit or license to purchase a handgun after passing a background check was associated with a 15.4 percent reduction in firearm suicide rates, while Missouri’s repeal of its handgun purchaser licensing law in 2007 was associated with a 16.1 percent increase in firearm suicide rates.

  • New personality profiling technique helps identify potential school shooters

    Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a personality profiling technique which automates the identification of potential school shooters by analyzing personality traits that appear in their writings. The text-based computational personality-profiling tool uses “vector semantics.” This involves constructing a number of vectors representing personality dimensions and disorders, which are analyzed automatically by computer to measure the similarity with texts written by the human subject.

  • Determining the age of fingerprints

    Watch the imprint of a tire track in soft mud, and it will slowly blur, the ridges of the pattern gradually flowing into the valleys. Researchers have tested the theory that a similar effect could be used to give forensic scientists something they’ve long wished for: A way to date fingerprints. Even the approximate age of a fingerprint can have a critical bearing on forensic results, as it can rule out some prints as being too old to be relevant to a crime scene. Military forensics experts would like to be able to date the multitude of fingerprints found on improvised bombs used by insurgents to winnow out prints of individuals who may simply have handled the components in a shop from those of the actual bombmakers.

  • The number of guns stolen from police officers is growing

    From time to time, the media report of a burglary in which a firearm was stolen. Some of those stolen weapons were later used in the commission of crime, oftentimes a robbery or shooting. In the past few years, however, a trend has been developed, but which has not been reported in the mass media. That occurrence is the theft of a police officer’s firearm, often accompanied by the pilfering of the officer’s uniform, vest, and badge.

  • More minorities join the sovereign citizen movement

    The sovereign citizen movement, the roots of which lie in white separatism and anti-Semitism, now welcomes non-white adherents. Especially susceptible to recruitment efforts by the movement are African Americans – called “Moorish Americans” or “Moorish Natives” by movement members – from poor and neglected neighborhoods.“They are much more reflective of the demographics of society today,” a former FBI case manager notes.

  • Members of right-wing militia go to jail for plotting attacks on U.S. infrastructure

    Three members of a right-wing militia have been sentenced to twelve years in prison for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in attacks against federal government agencies. The defendants planned to attack critical infrastructure in Georgia while motivating militia groups in other states to rise up and join them in removing government officials who they believed had exceeded their Constitutional power. The militia members planned on starting a revolution against the federal government by conducting an attack aimed at the infrastructure supporting the TSA, DHS, and FEMA.

  • Questions raised about Provisional IRA’s possible return to its violent ways

    It has been assumed that Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) has “gone away,” in the words of Sinn Féin’s leader Gerry Adams. In the wake of the 13 August killing in Belfast of a former IRA operative, police north of south of the border have launched an investigation into whether PIRA is still engaged in violence. Separately, a former member of PIRA, who is now a historian working in theBoston College Belfast Project, has charged that hackers affiliated with Sinn Féin have hacked his and his wife’s communication and leaked some of it to the press. U.S. courts allowed the Northern Ireland police access to portions of the archive, leading to arrests of several prominent Belfast Republicans.