Law Enforcement

  • Mathematical model informs gun policy debate

    The relationship between the legal availability of guns and the firearm-related homicide rate has been a hot topic of debate in the United States for more than three decades now. Gun-control advocates argue that unrestricted gun availability promotes the occurrence of firearm-induced homicides. Gun-rights supporters have pointed out that gun possession can protect potential victims when attacked. A new paper presents a mathematical model – admittedly, with limited data – which offers a logical, detached approach to the gun-control debate.

  • Islamic group’s plan for a 9/11 "Million Muslim March" on Washington denounced

    The American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC) is organizing what it hopes would be a mass demonstration by American Muslims on 11 September in Washington, D.C. Critics called the demonstration ill-timed, if not downright offensive. Mainstream Muslim American groups describe group members as virulently anti-Semitic “truthers” who question al Qaeda’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. There is little chance a million people would show up for the march: AMPAC, based in Kansas City, Missouri, has just 57 supporters signed up for the 11 September event on Facebook.

  • Lawmakers, scientists question FBI’s investigation, conclusion in 2001 anthrax attacks

    Twelve years after the fall 2001 anthrax attacks, and six years after the 2007 FBI’s determination that Bruce Ivins, a top government anthrax researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), was the perpetrator of the attacks (Ivins died in 2008 of apparent suicide), lawmakers and USAMRIID scientists insist that the FBI’s conclusions are not supported by scientific evidence – indeed, that some basic scientific facts make the Bureau’s conclusions untenable.

  • Federal judge: NYPD stop-and-frisk policy violates 4th, 14th Amendments (updated)

    In a scathing, 195-page decision, a federal judge repudiated one of the major pillars of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s crime-fighting strategy, finding that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York. The NYPD stopped some 4.43 million between 2004 and mid-2012, with Blacks and Hispanics accounting for 88 percent of those stopped. The NYPD has explained the disparity by saying that it mirrored the disproportionate percentage of crimes committed by young minority men. Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, using harsh language, dismissed this rationale. “This might be a valid comparison if the people stopped were criminals,” Judge Scheindlin wrote, explaining that there was significant evidence that the people being stopped were not criminals. “To the contrary, nearly 90 percent of the people stopped are released without the officer finding any basis for a summons or arrest.” Rather, Judge Scheindlin found, the city had a “policy of targeting expressly identified racial groups for stops in general.” She added: “Targeting young black and Hispanic men for stops based on the alleged criminal conduct of other young black or Hispanic men violates bedrock principles of equality.” The judge ruled that the effectiveness of “stop and frisk” was irrelevant. “Many police practices may be useful for fighting crime — preventive detention or coerced confessions, for example — but because they are unconstitutional, they cannot be used, no matter how effective,” the ruling said.

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  • FBI allowed informants to commit more than 5,600 crimes in a single year

    Newly released documents show that the FBI allowed its informants to break the laws on more than 5,600 occasions in a single year. The Justice Department rules sets tight limits on when informants can engage in what the agency termed “otherwise illegal activity.” Under no circumstances can an agent authorize a violent crime, and the most serious crimes must be approved by federal prosecutors.

  • Interpol issues global alert following nine al Qaeda-linked prison breakouts

    Interpol, in a statement issued from the organization’s headquarters in Lyon, France, urged law enforcement agencies around the world to show “increased vigilance,” following prison breakouts over the past nine month in nine countries, including Iraq (22 July), Libya (27 July), and Pakistan (31 July). More than 2,500 terrorists have escaped in these nine prison breakouts.

  • FBI terrorism unit investigates animal rights group after pheasant farm attack

    An FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has launched an investigating after an animal rights group announced on its Web site that its members cut open fencing around a and releasing more than a dozen pheasants from the aviary at Ash Grove Pheasant Farm and Orchard in Riverside, California. The incident took place 22 July.

  • The arithmetic of gun control and gun violence

    The most comprehensive statistical study of gun violence in the United States – examining data going back to the First World War – finds that, in more common domestic and one-on-one crimes, reduced legal gun availability, if properly enforced, is likelier to lower deaths. In rare mass shootings, armed citizens might save lives if sufficiently trained to avoid accidentally shooting fleeing bystanders. The authors note, though, that key parts of their equations should be studied more closely: the fraction of offenders who illegally possess a gun, the statistical degree of protection provided by legal gun ownership, and the number of people who are legally carrying a gun when attacked. Comprehensive data in those areas, they say, could further aid the development and implementation of effective policies.

  • Research priorities for understanding public health aspects of gun-related violence

    A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) proposes priorities for a research agenda to improve understanding of the public health aspects of gun-related violence. The committee which wrote the report said significant progress can be achieved in three to five years through a research program that addresses five high-priority areas: the characteristics of gun violence, risk and protective factors, prevention and other interventions, gun safety technology, and the influence of video games and other media.

  • Ukrainian man in U.K. court charged with anti-Muslim terrorism

    Pavlo Lapshyn, a 25-year-old postgraduate student from Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, appeared in a Westminster, U.K. court Tuesday and charged with the terror-related April murder of an 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem as Saleem was walking home from a mosque. Lapshyn has also been charged with three additional offenses related to three explosions near mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton, and Tipton.

  • Bloomberg vetoes bills aiming to curb NYPD’s stop-and-frisk

    New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed two bills aiming to limit the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy. The policy has been criticized by civil rights advocates, and has also been highlighted by those opposing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s candidacy to replace Janet Napolitano as DHS secretary.

  • Giuliani says political correctness hampers fight against domestic terrorists

    The Department of Defense initially described Army Major Nidal Hassan’s Fort Hood shooting spree as “terrorism,” but quickly changed that definition to “workplace violence.” Testifying before a congressional panel, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani criticized DoD’s decision, and political correctness more generally, saying that “You can’t fight an enemy you don’t acknowledge.”

  • The differences between impulsive and predatory murderers

    A pioneering study finds distinct differences between two types of murderers: impulsive murderers and predatory, or premeditated, murderers. Impulsive murderers were much more mentally impaired, particularly cognitively impaired, while predatory or premeditated murderers exhibit deeper psychiatric disorders.

  • Gun-possession arrests reduce subsequent crimes involving firearms

    Gun possession arrests made by a concentrated, proactive patrol unit in the Houston Police Department were linked to significant reductions in subsequent crimes involving firearms, a study finds.

  • White House finalizes executive actions on gun violence

    The White House said President Obama is close to putting the final touch on several executive actions to address gun violence. White Officials said that these actions should be viewed as a substitute to legislative action.