Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UK Trains delayed as theives steal copper wires from junction boxes

Here is an example of how theft of one item -- in this case copper, actually results in theft of time, and increase in safety risk. Consider the following story from the UK;

Copper thieves delay trains

RECORD numbers of UK trains are being delayed due to thieves stealing copper wires from junction boxes. The crimewave has seen 11,000 trains delayed over the last 12 month and around one million passengers made late as a consequence.

Network Rail first highlighted this problem in England’s north four years ago as a result of rising copper prices, and a taskforce was set up to address the worrying trend. Industry bosses estimate that £35m worth of copper wire has been stripped from railway lines since 2006, with £20m-worth stolen every year by 2014 if current rates continue to rise.

The problem of copper theft is particularly bad in England’s northeast which reports around 40 incidents every day. The raids became less profitable in late 2008 because of falling copper price around the world, but a recent rise has seen a resurgence of the trend to their worse levels ever.

Gangs are causing 500,000 minutes of otherwise avoidable delays every year by removing swaths of the rail network and ripping out cables attacked to trackside signals. Once rail signals lose current their lights revert to auxiliary power, immediately switching to red until engineers can arrive to fix the problem.

The Network Rail taskforce also includes train the British Transport Police (BTP) and railway operators, and focuses of securing tougher sentencing for thieves and rogue scrap dealers who act as middlemen that ‘fence’ the stolen material on.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Internet Crime Hits Record High in First Half in Japan; up 31.5%.

Internet Crime Hits Record High in First Half in Japan; up 31.5%. Police responded to a record 2,444 Internet crime cases nationwide in the first half of this year, a National Police Agency survey showed Thursday. The number, up 31.5% from a year earlier, represented a new high since the NPA started gathering statistics for Internet crimes, defined as crimes which use a computer network, on a half-yearly basis in 2004. (Source: Kyodo)

Romania prepares for crime wave with exodus

MORE than 8000 Roma have been sent back to Romania and Bulgaria from France under President Nicolas Sarkozy's crackdown - but many plan to return to the West to escape unemployment and a life without even the most basic amenities.

The Romanian countryside has little to offer those who, like Florin Chel, 24, and his family, were rounded up from a caravan site near Montpellier last week and offered E300 ($423) to make a "voluntary return" to Europe's poorest country.

Mr Sarkozy's policy has attracted criticism from the UN and some in his government for branding an entire community as criminal, despite none of those returning in recent months being convicted of a crime, according to Romanian authorities.

Mr Chel, whose shiny Dolce & Gabbana shoes seem out of place on the potholed road that leads to his family's simple concrete house, said he and his wife were told their two children would be taken into care if they did not sign an agreement to leave.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stolen Copper Salavge Market Booming in Economic Downturn

From the West Virginia Gazette comes this story. But truly, this story could have been written from almost any jurisdiction with rural highways in the US.

"For several years, Southern West Virginia has suffered an upsurge of metal-stealing. Thieves strip utility poles, power stations, vacant mines, shutdown plants, etc. -- mostly to get valuable copper to resell to scrap dealers."

"Trying to steal power lines can be deadly. Just this year, four West Virginians have been electrocuted during alleged thefts. The robberies sometimes knock out electrical or telephone service for neighborhoods."

"Even the 400-pound Fernbank School bell was stolen from a South Hills memorial and broken up for scrap."

"Frontier Communications, which purchased Verizon's telephone network, says the Mountain State has a horrible rate of copper wire theft. Nowhere else "even comes close to what is happening in West Virginia," security chief Lynne Monaco said."

This seems like a simple problem to resolve -- yet it remains a problem. There is no market if there is no buyer. Greater control of buyer market access could control this problem; remove cash from transactions, and require an electronic trail for starters.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

46 US States in Budget Deficits; forbodes more headwind to economic recovery

Recession Continues to Batter State Budgets; State Responses Could Slow Recovery

By Elizabeth McNichol, Phil Oliffand Nicholas Johnson

The worst recession since the 1930s has caused the steepest decline in state tax receipts on record. As a result, even after making very deep spending cuts over the last two years, states continue to face large budget gaps. At least 46 states struggled to close shortfalls when adopting budgets for the current fiscal year (FY 2011, which began July 1 in most states). These came on top of the large shortfalls that 48 states faced in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. States will continue to struggle to find the revenue needed to support critical public services for a number of years, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs. States face:

  • Budget problems in 2011. Fiscal year 2011 gaps — addressed with spending cuts and revenue increases by most states — totaled $121 billion, or 19 percent of budgets in 46 states.[1] This total is likely to grow over the course of the fiscal year, which started July 1 in most states. It may well exceed $140 billion and would be higher still without federal assistance. The fact that the gaps have been filled and budgets are balanced does not end the story. Families hit hard by the recession will experience the loss of vital services throughout the year, and the negative impact on the economy will continue.
  • Uncertainty for the future. States’ fiscal problems will continue in the current fiscal year and likely beyond. Already 39 states have projected gaps that total $102 billion for the following year (fiscal year 2012). Once all states have prepared estimates these are likely to grow to some $120 billion.
  • The effects of gaps in 2010 budgets. These new shortfalls are in addition to the gaps states closed in their fiscal year 2010 budgets. Counting both initial and mid-year shortfalls, 48 states addressed such shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2010, totaling $192 billion or 29 percent of state budgets — the largest gaps on record.
  • Declining federal assistance. Federal aid to states provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has lessened state cuts in services and tax increases. But the aid is now mostly gone; only about $40 billion remains to help with 2011 fiscal problems. The federal government could avert deep additional budget cuts that would further harm the economy by extending assistance over the period during which state fiscal distress is expected to continue rather than cutting it off before states have recovered.
  • Combined gaps of $260 billion for 2011 and 2012. These numbers suggest that states are dealing with total budget shortfalls of some $260 billion for 2011 and 2012. When all is said and done, states will have closed shortfalls of more than $500 billion since the start of the recession.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Robotics foretasted to be accomplices of criminals of the future

In an article appearing in IEEE, a futurist speaks about how robots are likely to be used increasingly in crimes and terrorism.

Drug runners are already using robotic submarines to ferry illegal drugs to the USA. For example, in the photo shown, the US Coast Guard seizes $196 million of cocaine from robot submarine

With accurate GPS locating devices, dead drops and stash locations are increasingly making law enforcement more difficult. Here is an article addressing the topic by a scientist familiar with the current state of technology.

"Robots will increasingly be used in crime and terrorism, with criminals hacking or copying police and military machines." So claim University of Sheffield computer scientist Professor Noel Sharkey, Interpol advisor Marc Goodman, and former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross in an article called 'The Coming Robot Crime Wave' in the August edition of the IEEE magazine Computer.

"The growing availability of robotics knowledge and components will promote a new breed of garden shed robot criminals and terrorists," said the University. "Building robots is 80% cheaper now than 20 years ago and experts are calling for manufacturers to 'think thief' and plan against crime when they are designing machines."

Colombian drugs cartels, according to Sharkey, are already using robot submarines to deliver cocaine."Robots could assist a vast range of crime from drugs vending to murder, voyeurism and burglary. Robots can't even be detected by the passive IR alarm systems in most of our houses," he said. "More pressing though, is the danger that criminals or terrorists will hack into armed military or police robots and pose a threat to life.

Although the predicted crime might be 10 or 20 years away, Sharkey, Goodman and Ross urge scientists and engineers to be mindful of future crime prevention now, for example: building in software components that could assist forensic analysis.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mexican drug cartel infighting rivals 1930s gangland mob turf battles

In the 1930s, owing to markets made available through Prohibition creating an illegal alcohol market, North American gangs waged regional gangland turf battles involving murder, extortion, kidnapings, robberies, arson... This continued through a period of consolidation until the battlefield was turned from a battle between rivals, to a unified battle against government and law enforcement authority. The local police were corrupted by the system and it took outsiders from the national government, indeed outsiders from the traditional law enforcement scene to identify, target, and round up the "public enemies." Such was the scene during the first Great Depression.

Fast forward to today, when economic markets decline, those that have relied on their illegal drug market revenue search for new ways to keep revenues maintained; hence encroaching turf wars. The market itself has far more to do with issues impacting these rival gangs than any credit due law enforcement or government action. But just as the gang lords in the 1930s figured out that it was more prosperous to work together than fight each other, it should be expected that the criminal elements in Mexico will unite ultimately redirecting their deadly aim at authorities that seek to take them down. There appears to be a sea change in Mexican battleground -- a deliberate effort to go after law enforcement and authorities -- particularly with the first car bomb incident this past week in bordertown Mexico.

What was particularly noticeable in the Cuidad Juarez bombing incident was that the focus on the bomb was first responders, law enforcement, and investigators. Reportedly, the bombers called in a phony report that an officer was shot (and down), and this brought the calvary response, but when support arrived the bomb went off killing 3 people. This distraction bombing, or sometimes called secondary device bombing, is typical of terrorism type bombings and marks the milestone of increasing escalation in the Mexican border violence.

The violence is so extreme at the border that many have become numb to the violence and somehow excuse the violence as being related to some discomforting, disquieting, activities involving others and not related to themselves; this is false. The violence at the border is real, the consequences of fear palpable, and lasting peace and economic development of the border cannot occur until the violence stops and the rule of law established.

Travelers are advised to stay clear of the Mexican border and to be cautious on their business travel to the area.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CNBC Special Report - Counterfeit Goods Underworld

7/14/2010, tonight, CNBC airs what is sure to be a significant report on the underworld of "counterfeit goods" markets. Counterfeit goods are a peril to the safety of the public and firms alike. Counterfeit drugs kill. Counterfeit autoparts can kill. Counterfeit goods can kill reputations of firms costing millions (and perhaps billions).

CNBC reports, "Fake handbags, watches, shoes and perfumes. The business of Counterfeit Goods is the largest underground industry in the world. Hundreds of billions of dollars are generated while sapping the economy, putting lives in jeopardy, and funding organized crime in the process.

CNBC’s "
Crime Inc.: Counterfeit Goods," takes viewers on a rare look inside a global crime spree, where the goods are produced and confiscated in a world of high-risk and high-reward.

Carl Quintanilla takes you on raids with the LAPD anti-counterfeiting unit, inspections at ports, and back-room factories where counterfeits are produced. Meet a company whose whole brand was copied, and the story of a defense contractor who counterfeit defense parts that found their way into weapons depots in Iraq.

At around 7% of all global trade, Counterfeit Goods are a big business with low overhead. It makes too much money to go away any time soon.

Crime wave alert - Boston sees sharp spike in crimes in tourist areas

Crime is up in Boston's tony tourist districts where visitors and shop keepers are being targeted by local criminals and gangs.

The Boston Herald Reports that "Tourist hot spots such as Newbury Street, the North End and the Navy Yard, home of Old Ironsides, which attract out-of-towners by the droves, also are drawing vicious thieves and mayhem-minded thugs in a crime wave that has alarmed merchants and visitors fearing for their safety."

“It’s a war zone. There’s a battle here every day,” said Karl Volker, 54, owner of Super Socks in Downtown Crossing, who blames roving bands of teens for the nearly 20 percent spike in larcenies in the area.

“The little monsters ruin your day every day. It creates a bad culture and there’s no consequences for these kids who travel in packs,” Volker said.

As the tourist season hits its peak, a Herald review found:

  • 16 incidents of violent crime in the Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market area during the first half of this year, up from 14 the same period last year; and six car thefts this year, compared with just one over the same period in 2009;
  • 31 reports of violent crime, including aggravated assault, in the Newbury Street shopping district, up from 19 over the same period last year; and 19 robberies, up from 11 in the first half of 2009;
  • 56 incidents of violent crime in the storied North End, up from 46 over the same period last year; 18 stolen vehicles, up from 12 over the first six months of 2009; and 11 robberies so far this year, compared to six last year;
  • 36 reports of property crime in the Navy Yard area, up from 27 last year; eight vehicle thefts, compared with one last year; and an overall crime increase of 34 percent;
  • 293 incidents of major crime in the Downtown Crossing vicinity, up from 244 over the same period last year; and 245 larcenies the first half of this year, up from 208 the same period last year.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who said crime citywide is down 4 percent this year, said his commanders are strategizing on ways to tamp down the upsurge in tourist spots.

“We are working very hard in areas that we have seen spikes in crime. These are warning signs that we need to redouble our efforts in those areas, and that’s what’s happening on Newbury Street,” Davis said. “We know there are spikes in crime, but it’s not indicative of the overall health of the city.”

Read the whole article at:

Crime wave alert -- Scotland Yard Reports Broken Britain is in grip of £40bn organised crime...

Targeting Serious Habitual Offenders (or SHOs) is an important part of tackling the crime wave, as was related in Severin Sorensen's book on Economic Misery and Crime Waves (2009).

The Daily Mail (UK) reports that Britain is in the grip of a £40billion organised crimewave led by 6,000 gangs, so reported the head of Scotland Yard warned last night.

Sir Paul Stephenson spelt out the enormous economic cost to the country of large scale drugs supply, people smuggling, fraud and mass marketing scams as he called for a new approach to tackling the problem.

Sir Paul said forces are targeting in an 'operationally meaningful way' just 11% of the estimated 6,000 organised crime groups.

He called for the creation of a nationally coordinated federated structure for tackling organised crime, either from within the police service or as part of an extended remit for the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A global double dip is unavoidable

For those who read my book, Economic Misery and Crime Waves (2009), you will be familiar with the commentary of the guest blog contributor that follows next -- Mark J. Lundeen. Mark has provided some clever work that examines statistically, historically, and causally the reasons for our current economic downturn, and he posits that the moves of central bankers and governments to create stimulus and pump up the economy have only forestalled an inevitable market correcting and clearing economic crash. I felt his article today was worth reposting in its entirety.

# # #

Guest Blog Contribution by Mark J. Lundeen,

13 July 2010

A global double dip is unavoidable. The problem is that we have massive global debt weighing down the world’s economies that are woefully incapable of servicing the burdens of debt placed on them.

Debt by itself is not necessarily bad, if used properly debt has many benefits. Debt financed the industry and commerce that lifted western civilization out of the dark ages. But debt has a dark side too. What it built, it can destroy.

So what distinguished creative debt, from destructive debt? Simple, all debt finances economic activity of some nature. If in the creation of debt, economic activity is stimulated that pays off the debt, as it produces a profit for the lender and borrower; that is good debt. Valuable goods and services are produced, jobs are created, and taxes are paid, all thanks to debt.

But this is not what happened in the past 40 years. Credit standards have been relaxed, resulting in massive debt in government, commerce, and individuals, who were encouraged, by practitioners of quack economic theory, to take on debt to finance economic activity that could never pay off the debt. So now we find ourselves in our current situation. And what is our current situation? On a global basis, we have come to a point where our assets have transformed themselves into oppressive liabilities.

If you correctly understand our problem, you’ll understand that it’s not a question of whether or not we will see a global double dip. But rather how long, and how much pain the world must endure before we start discussing how best to go about the liquidation of politically inspired, uneconomic debt?

I’m in favor of returning to the marking of debt to the market. No more bailouts! If a debtor can’t pay his debts as scheduled, his assets are liquidated for * whatever * the going price is. I understand that this will result in massive deflation. Banking systems will fail as housing prices drop by 50% to 90%. Governments will fall too. Say goodbye to the school-loan system, and government “research grants” funding dubious-social science that made our Colleges and Universities as rich as the medieval church! But all this is going to happen anyways.

The current policy of bailing out insolvent, but politically connected debtors will in time result in hyper-inflation. And Hyper-inflation is even worse for political careers, the banking system, and lives of private citizens. We need to admit that there is no painless solution to our economic problem. Of the two solutions we are confronted with, the one that results in truly affordable housing, lower taxes, and steady employment in 2 to 3 years seems preferable to me. But this path will result in the destruction of the life’s work of our current political class of Academics, Bankers and Politicians. These elites only understand the common people as a human resource to be exploited.

They have brought the world to the edge of an economic abyss. With the people now in control of Washington, and the world’s financial system, it seems unlikely they will ever understand the wisdom of not taking the plunge over the side.

Mark J. Lundeen

13 July 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Grandad Bandit" sought in 23 bank robberies

Not your average bank robber.

The FBI suspects that the "Grandad Bandit has robbed 23 banks since early January 2010. The picture shown is the suspect robbing the St. Louis bank on May 18, 2010.

The middle-aged suspect in a robbery spree stretching from Syracuse, N.Y., to St. Louis is believed to have hit at least two Houston banks, FBI officials said Tuesday.

Dubbed the "Granddad Bandit" by FBI investigators, the man has robbed at least 23 banks in a dozen states. The crime wave began in mid-January 2009, agents said.

The latest happened Saturday at a Wachovia Bank branch in the 6800 block of Buffalo Speedway, FBI officials said.

He opened a black bag and passed a note to the teller, demanding a specific amount of cash and allowing only 30 seconds to comply. He took money from the teller, placed it in his bag and left. No injuries were reported, FBI officials said.

The man is also a suspect in the April 10 holdup of an Allegiance Bank branch in the 200 block of North Durham, FBI officials said.

Investigators described the suspect as a balding white male in his early 50s. He is slightly taller than 6 feet and weighs about 220 pounds. He wore glasses, a blue polo shirt and khaki pants.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

In addition to up to $5,000 offered by Crime Stoppers, the FBI will give a $10,000 reward for information leading to the man's capture.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Where is the crime wave? A critical analysis of the FBI Crime Report Data Released Today

From my book, Economic Misery and Crime Waves (2009), since 1954, EVERY sharp economic contraction has been followed by a crime wave, typically within one year. The sharp contraction occurred on with the fall of the housing of Lehman Brothers on 9/15/2008; that was the tipping point. Since that time the market has slid into a deep recession. Yet law makers, criminologists, and news makers now ask -- is this time different? Where is the crime wave?

If you follow my analysis, the crime wave will be first noticeable in Q4 2009 data.

However, the FBI did not release Q4 2009 data today. Rather, they released aggregated annual data that blends the results for the full year. The FBI recently released aggregate data for 2009 crime show that there was a decrease in violent crime of -5.5%, and a decrease in property crime of 4.9%.

What was not stated was that there was an increase in property crime in the 4th Quarter -- as the data were not broken out by month or quarter -- only annualized data. However, analyzing the FBI's own press release showing the first six months of the 2009 (Q1 and Q2) one can observe the following:

UCR Crime Type Q1+Q2 2009 >>> Q1+Q2+Q3+Q4 2009

Violent Crime -4.4% ->>> -5.5% Analysis ->> continued decreases in violent crime
Property Crime -6.1% ->>> -4.9% Analysis ->> property crime rising Q4-09

What caused the decrease in benefits of crime rate from -6.1% down to -4.9%?
Answer: rising property crime in the 4th Quarter 2009 -- consistent with the crime wave theory. The data will come out in time, but for now it is important to know that there was an increase, and the increase in property crime is likely to spill into 2010. More on this later.

It is significant that crime is down and that the crime wave is apparently forestalled in arrival. What could explain this? For starters, from 1929-1933, the US government implemented individual measures, non-simultaneous, to abate the financial crises, and the efforts were deemed too little, too late, and economic misery increased along with skyrocketing unemployment and economic misery. One of the lessons learned from this period was that there was a need for social insurance -- unemployment benefits, supports, etc. Another lesson was to move in a coordinated and deliberate manner to combat the conditions create economic misery and foster crime waves; what did the government do this time around that was not available in the 1930s;

- Insurance on bank deposits; not available in the 1930s, and expanded to $250,000 per account in the 2nd Great Recession.

- Social insurance -- such as unemployment insurance benefits provided now, with increasing, or lengthening benefits in the 2nd Great Recession.

- Government stimulus to the economy; including bank bail out; automotive industry bail out; mortgage purchasing by federal reserve; low (nearly free) money cost to banks in recovery mode.

- Coordinated international effort to stave off economic collapse.

These items, and many more, have served to change the macroeconomic conditions that fostered the great crime wave during the Great Depression. The question however, in the condition of prolonged economic misery, long-term unemployment, federal-state-and-local government budget deficits -- how long can the government continue to pay-forward for supports that will ultimately need to be repaid. The recent Greek and European debt crisis will likely have contagion and reach back to us here in the USA, and our debts are mammoth, far more than the Greece, Ireland, Spain, or Portugal financial problems.

As evidenced on this blog site -- there is mounting evidence reported in pockets globally of increases in crime that are at first anecdotal, that when reported, will show that a crime wave is emerging.

During the 1930s, great political effort was made to control public opinion and shape opinion to redirect attention to other crimes, thus lowering public perception of crime. I found it ironic that in today's FBI press release and comments that "targeting habitual offenders" was a strategy attributed to the crime decreases -- and this is a strategy right out of the Great Depression crime wave -- detailed in Economic Misery and Crime Waves (2009).

Another issue that received NO attention today in the FBI press release was Fraud. Fraud, organized retail crime, and other property crimes are on the rise -- but not reported in the public statements today.

It is my supposition that the FBI crime data underreports the impact of major frauds, and undetected frauds. For example, the Madoff ($50 billion) and Sanford ($7 billion) frauds sum over $57 billion in fraud, but will account for several dozen fraud counts; these counts will not appear to be out of the ordinary when blended with other data of frauds for $400, $2000, etc. These cases are not the same, yet they are reported categorically as fraud.

I am comfortable in my forecast that we will indeed experience a crime wave, and the evidences of the rising tide of crime are evident in the data -- but not the data released today by the FBI.

This will of course be an issue to track in the coming weeks, months, and years.

FBI Preliminary Crime Reports Show 5.5% Decrease in violent crime; 4.9% Decrease in Property Crime

Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 24, 2010

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

FBI Releases Preliminary Annual Crime Statistics for 2009

Preliminary 2009 statistics indicate that violent crime in the nation decreased 5.5 percent and property crime declined 4.9 percent when compared with data from 2008, according to the FBI’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, which was released today. Data in the report came from 13,237 law enforcement agencies that submitted six to 12 months of data in both 2008 and 2009.

Violent Crime

  • All four violent crime offenses—murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault—declined nationwide in 2009 when compared with 2008 data. Robbery dropped 8.1 percent, murder decreased 7.2 percent, aggravated assault declined 4.2 percent, and forcible rape decreased 3.1 percent.
  • Violent crime fell in all city groupings. The largest decrease, 7.5 percent, was in cities with populations ranging from 500,000 to 999,999 inhabitants. Violent crime declined 4.0 percent in the nation’s metropolitan counties and 3.0 percent in nonmetropolitan counties.
  • Cities with 25,000 to 49,999 inhabitants were the only city population group to report an increase in the number of murders, 5.3 percent. The number of murders in the nation’s nonmetropolitan counties also rose, 1.8 percent.
  • Forcible rape trends dropped in all city population groups. The largest decrease was 7.3 percent in cities of less than 10,000 residents. Metropolitan counties reported a 3.7 percent decline in the number of rapes, but the number of rapes reported in nonmetropolitan counties rose slightly, 0.3 percent.
  • All population groups reported decreases in the volume of robbery in 2009. Of the city groups, cities with populations of 100,000 to 249,999 had the largest decrease at 10.3 percent. Metropolitan counties reported a 6.7 percent drop in robberies; nonmetropolitan counties reported a 0.7 percent decline.
  • The number of aggravated assaults declined in all population groups, with cities of 500,000 to 999,999 inhabitants reporting a 6.3 percent decrease. Aggravated assaults declined 3.7 percent in nonmetropolitan counties and 3.0 percent in metropolitan counties.
  • All four regions in the nation showed decreases in violent crime in 2009 when compared with data from 2008. Violent crime decreased 6.6 percent in the South, 5.6 percent in the West, 4.6 percent in the Midwest, and 3.5 percent in the Northeast.

Property Crime

  • All property crime offenses—burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft—decreased in 2009 when compared with 2008 data. Motor vehicle theft showed the largest drop in volume at 17.2 percent, larceny-thefts declined 4.2 percent, and burglaries decreased 1.7 percent.
  • The nation’s largest cities, one million or more inhabitants, reported the greatest decrease, 7.9 percent, in property crime overall. Of the city groupings, this population group also reported the biggest decreases in the offenses that comprise property crime: a 21.1 percent drop in motor vehicle theft, a 5.7 percent decline in burglary, and a 5.5 percent decrease in larceny-theft. In the nation’s nonmetropolitan counties, larceny-thefts fell 9.5 percent; in metropolitan counties, larceny-thefts declined 5.9 percent.
  • The only population group to indicate a rise in any type of property crime was in nonmetropolitan counties, where burglary rose 0.5 percent.
  • In comparing 2008 data and 2009 data by region, law enforcement agencies in the West reported the biggest decline in property crime, with a decrease of 6.8 percent. Property crime declined 5.6 percent in the Midwest, 5.3 percent in the Northeast, and 3.2 percent in the South.


  • Arson offenses, which are tracked separately from other property crimes, declined 10.4 percent nationwide. All population groups reported decreases in the volume of arson offenses. In addition, arson fell in all four of the nation’s regions: 11.6 percent in the West, 10.6 percent in the South, 9.2 percent in the Midwest, and 8.6 percent in the Northeast.

The complete 2009 Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report is available exclusively at

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rural crime reports rising - missing sheep, bees, fuel, and machines

In the UK, Rising meat prices have been blamed by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) for an increase in sheep rustling, with hundreds of animals stolen around the country this year. In the most recent incident, a flock of 271 sheep, worth up to £25,000, was taken from a field in Ramsbottom, near Bury, Lancashire on May 13. Read more in the article link.

Crime against farmers has risen, following a dip two years ago, and covers everything from siphoning fuel from combine harvesters to stealing bees, according to a report in The Guardian.

Tim Price of NFU Mutual insurance, said one recent claim involved 18 hives and 800,000 bees worth £6,000 missing from a farm in rural Shropshire.

He told the newspaper: "Crime adjusts to whatever is currently valuable. Farmers' quad bikes, for instance, are a new target, and there's evidence that good police work against thieves stealing luxury cars has driven them to target tractors instead.

“We're talking about machines worth £100,000 in some cases, which is every bit as tempting as a Ferrari.

Related Articles

Increasing crime in rural areas is predicted in Economic Misery and Crime Waves

Friday, May 21, 2010

Is this news?: Man with drug addiction robs to obtain cash

The following article appeared in the Niagara Gazette on 5/14/2010. The article shows how individuals can be a one-man crime wave. At issue, a man was let out of a drug rehabilitation program -- and with no job -- he immediately went out on a two-day crime spree robbing others before he was finally caught, and re-incarcerated this time at the jail house. This looks like a simple case of a man seeking money for drugs -- but there may be something else going on here to consider? With no job, no income, and no place to go -- is it surprising that a personal with criminal tendencies would return to crime? While he used a gun, he appeared to be a "pleasant" offender, asking his victims to just obey so he did not need to pull out his gun. Perhaps this speaks more about the transitional hand-off of a person re-entering society. Can you really just open the doors of the prison or drug-treatment center and expect individuals to function as normal law abiding citizens in an era of tight employment and economic hardship? Just asking questions. Now read the article and form your own opinions.

# # #

May 14, 2010

Drugs blamed for wave of crime

NIAGARA FALLS — A man who single-handedly staged a South End crime wave from Wednesday night through Thursday morning, went on his rampage just hours after leaving a drug treatment program.

Lawrence Colvin, 29, no permanent address, had been released on his own recognizance from the Falls City jail, where he was being held on charges stemming from a violent robbery and burglary, on Wednesday afternoon. By early Wednesday evening, he had walked out of a residential drug treatment facility.

Sources tell the Gazette Colvin spent just two hours at the facility before heading off to commit a series of robberies where he claimed to be armed with a gun.

The first holdup took place at 11:39 p.m. at gas station in the 500 block of Main Street. After waiting for customers in the station to leave, Colvin approached a clerk with a handwritten note and demanded cash.

Colvin indicated he had a gun and told the clerk, “Don’t act stupid.”

Four hours later, Colvin walked into a motel in the 400 block of Main Street and told a night auditor, “I have to rob you.”

“I said, ‘Are you serious?’,” the auditor told Falls police detectives. “He said, ‘I have a gun. Don’t make me show it to you.’”

Colvin grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash and fled.

Some three hours after that. Colvin entered a convenience store in the 400 block of Niagara Street and, again, waited for other customers to leave. He then walked up to the clerk and handed her a note demanding cash.

The clerk said Colvin had his hand on his hip “as if he had a gun.”

By late Thursday afternoon, Falls police cornered Colvin in a home at 440 Fourth St. and were able to take him into custody after a brief stand-off with the department’s Emergency Response Team.

“We got information that he was dropped off here,” Capt. David LeGault said. “His plan, apparently, was to hide out here until dark and go out and start robbing again.”

Colvin was arrested April 24, after he tried to break into a convenience store in the 600 block of Pine Avenue. The break-in was interrupted when a store clerk arrived for work and Colvin then forced her to give him money from the store’s cash register.

At the time of that arrest, Colvin said he had “a real bad addiction” to crack cocaine. On Thursday night, Colvin told investigators, “I remember robbing the gas station and (the convenience store) on Fourth and Niagara streets. I’m on drugs real bad and all (expletive) up.”

He has been charged with one count of first-degree robbery, two counts of third-degree robbery and three counts of petit larceny. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges during an arraignment Friday in Falls City Court.

Colvin is being held without bail, pending a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Crime Spree in Fayettte

One of the aspects of a crime wave is that you know it has arrived when it achieves public attention. Consider the following news report from Fayette.

Local ABC Channel 11 reports,

Fayetteville police are asking the public for help in solving a rash of break-ins and burglaries.

Investigators say they have a narrow time span for the crime wave from early April to Wednesday, but they're not ruling out any cases before then.

In the meantime, some residents worry the police aren't moving fast enough.

"It's my kids and I worry about their safety and I'm mad as hell cause it's my house," burglary victim Taniesha Wright said.

Wright and her neighbors say they are fed up with the rash of burglaries in their neighborhood.

Detroit Mayor Perplexed by Crime Wave; Need Suggestions?

One of the epicenters of economic misery is Detroit, Michigan.

It should not be surprising therefore that Detroit is experiencing a crime wave. What is of greater concern is that the city Mayor, David Bing, reports that he is perplexed, and does not know what to do about it?! The Mayor has described crime in the city as "demoralizing." Where is the leadership and vision?

Need some ideas? Read Chapters 5 and 6 in Severin Sorensen, CPP, Economic Misery and Crime Waves (2009) for some concrete recommendations.

It appears that the city leadership is in need of a strategy. I strongly suggest adopting a posture of crime opportunity blocking. Situational Crime Prevention is an opportunity blocking strategy that seeks to:

1. increase the effort needed to commit crime at specific places;
2. increase the risk associated with crime at specific places;
3. reduce the rewards for crimes committed at specific places;
4. remove excuses for non-performance, non-cooperation, and even
loitering at specific places, thereby blocking opportunity crimes; in
some cultures, this might include shaming to discourage participation in
crime, or encourage positive behavior.

There is more, but getting started here will set them on the right direction.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Used Car Auto Sales Fraud Proliferates -- the phantom escrow scam

If anything is too good to be true --- it generally is not true. Purchase a $25k automobile for $9800 -- not a chance.

Frauds have existed for many years but it seems that new technologies, greed, and just ingenuity on the part of fraudsters keep the public guessing and at risk. Furthermore, it may be that hard economic times create pressures on many to find better deals, cheaper prices, and to chase the unbelievable.

I was recently in the market for a replacement vehicle and I considered purchasing a 2007 Chevy Tahoe LTZ with 4x4 and loaded options. I searched the online sites and found several attractively priced automobiles -- with much lower than market pricing. The only catch, the seller would not allow inspection of the vehicle and wanted money to be sent to a 3rd party escrow agent -- using some reported "ebay motors" escrow process -- the only thing is that Ebay does not offer such service. So I decided to check further and found this interesting article highlighting the typical escrow scam;

Take for instance this current ad posted at that reports to sell a 2007 Chevy Tahoe LTZ with 70,000 miles for $9800. The seller presents a somewhat believable story that he is in the military and heading overseas in a few weeks and he has decided to sell his car quickly. Here is the problem however, if the seller were really in need of cash -- he should take the vehicle to Carmax immediately and get average trade-in and get $25k with ease. This should send warning bells off to anyone -- it is illogical, and foolish.

And now to protect you the public from this scam and scammer I relate the following particulars of this particular scam, and communications from the scam seller to me (a potential buyer). The seller represents himself as James Roberson -- and this is indeed a pun as James indeed seeks to Rob me and my sons of my hard earned monies.

# # #

James Roberson

Mr. Roberson writes,

"My time is limited and as much as I'd like to meet you and close the deal in person or sell it locally, this is impossible for me. That's why I have decided to sell the car over the Internet."

The sale will be managed through eBay under their Vehicle Purchase Protection program since they offer the highest rate of safety and reliability during online transactions. They act as a neutral third party. I will briefly describe the Vehicle Purchase Protection Program transaction steps so I can make things clear for both of us:

1. Buyer and seller reach an agreement (price and delivery conditions)
2. Buyer sends money to an eBay Motors Agent.
3. eBay Motors confirm to seller that the amount has been received.
4. Seller performs the required services (shipping, insurance).
5. Buyer accepts delivery and informs eBay Motors about the acceptance.
6. eBay Motors release the money to seller.

They will hold and insure your money until you will receive and test the car.

I need your full name and shipping address so I can reserve the car for you and register the transaction with eBay and they will contact you with all the instructions step by step on how to complete the transaction.
VIN 1GNFK13007R220368

Here is what I find wrong with the above --
(1) This is a typical automobile escrow scam;
(2) Ebay motors does not provide an escrow service;
(3) The money transfers from your hands before you inspect the goods or title transfers;
(4) The proposed 3rd party unnamed dealer is unknown
(5) The seller refused to allow site inspection of the vehicle before the sale;
(6) The seller refused to meet the buyer at a neutral location such as a branch of a national bank in his area where a notary public, bona fide cashiers checks could be made and presented.
(7) The seller could or would not provide an opportunity to validate the title prior to money transfer; if the above vehicle were totaled and had a salvage title, it would be possible that it was just a shell and not operational.
(8) The VIN number provided is likely a valid number, however the background in the photos is not consistent with the sellers area, and looks more like Asheville, NC rather than Pensacola FL or Atlanta where the ads were posted.

So let this be a lesson to you, and beware -- if a deal looks to good -- it is to good -- and run, not walk away from the temptation.

In closing, here is some sage advice from another on this same topic:

Do Not Buy That Used Car If.....
These are the top mistakes made by used car buyers. Don't let this happen to you!
  • The 17 digit VIN#'s on the door, hood, engine, dashboard do not all match exactly
  • You failed to have a mechanic check out the car on a lift
  • You did not run the Experian AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports on the car's VIN# prior to purchasing
  • The title still shows a lien holder with no "Lien Satisfied" stamp on it. It means they still owe the bank
  • The AutoCheck report shows evidence of odometer rollback or title branded as junk, flooded, stolen, etc
  • There is no VIN# on the dashboard, or it has been filed down or altered in any way
  • The seller does not let you drive the car first
  • The seller does not back up every verbal promise IN WRITING!
  • The seller is NOT the owner of the car. It means they are a dealer's agent
  • The seller has no written bill of sale identifying the car, VIN#, and stating the title has not been rebuilt, etc.
  • The seller does not give you copies of anything you ask for
  • It's parked along the side of the road with a For sale sign, unless you can verify they are the owner
  • The seller has no drivers license, title, and registration for the car. Assume the car is stolen
  • You have not verified the seller's name on their drivers license is the same person on the car title
  • The seller refuses to let you take the car to a trusted mechanic for inspection
  • The seller's asking price is suspiciously far below market value
  • The seller makes you sign a power of attorney, or only wants cash
  • The seller tells you to pay now, and he'll get you the title tomorrow, it's locked up at the bank

Credit Card Fraud Escalates -- 40% increase in UK

May 19, 2010. London Times reported... "The number of victims of the “hidden crime” of card fraud has leapt by 40 per cent in a year to more than 2.4 million people. Credit and debit card fraud, which cost the banks £440 million last year, is rising fast at a time when figures for other types of crime indicate that the feared recession crimewave has failed to materialize. The number of victims is not included in the annual British Crime Survey, however, disguising the full extent of property crime in England and Wales. People are three times more likely to fall victim to plastic card fraud than have their homes burgled. A total of 6.4 per cent of card owners were the victims of fraud in 2008-09 compared with 4.7 per cent the previous year. However, the extent of card crime is hidden because the crime survey gives only percentages rather than the precise number of victims."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Metal thefts rise in amount and sophistication

From the New York Times - Photo of scrap yard metal available for recycling.

Criminals have become more brazen and educated in their metal thefts. It was formerly that drug users would scrap fully functioning air-conditioning units, guard rails, and other metals they could get their hands on. Now the metal crimes are much more glaring -- with miles of electrical power lines cut down, dragged, stripped, and hauled off within hours. The hyperlinked article shows the current plight of organized retail crime as it relates to metal theft.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Major Jewelers Hit by Crime Wave

Jewellery Brands Targeted for Large Heists

World-famous jewellery brands are being targeted by brazen thieves, with De Beers and Tiffany & Co the latest victims.

A gang of 10 robbers used sledgehammers to break into the De Beers and Tiffany & Co stores in London’s Westfield shopping centre.

At least $1.6 million in jewellery was stolen in the night raids on Wednesday, May 5, The Australian reported last week

The robbery was over in just a few minutes, with the thieves fleeing the scene in stolen cars.

A high-speed police chase followed, however the gang managed to elude police.

After the robbery, Francois Delage, chief executive of De Beers, raised a few eyebrows by turning news of the theft into a sales pitch.

"This is an unfortunate incident, but is yet another reminder of the timeless allure of diamonds," he said.

London jewellers have experienced a spate of similar attacks over the past year, often involving gangs of thieves and heavy tools.

More than $6.7 million worth of goods have been taken from Watches of Switzerland, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana and Tiffany & Co.

The most notable robbery occurred in August last year, when more than $67 million worth of diamonds were stolen from Graff Diamonds - Britain’s biggest jewellery robbery of all time.

Three teenagers have been arrested in relation to the most recent robberies, although charges are yet to be laid.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crime Wave Alert - Atlanta GA - Campus Concerns

Typically, the tipping point of recognition of a crime wave is some heinous incident. Such was the case this past Sunday in Atlanta.

In announcing the new offensive to bolster campus security, Atlanta Police Department acknowledged a singular incident raised consensus for need; last Sunday night four students were carjacked and kidnapped a block away from the Morehouse campus. The youths were able to call 911 on a cell phone and were rescued by police.

The Atlanta Constitution Reported that, "The plan was formalized Tuesday on Georgia Tech's campus, which has been plagued by a series of robberies dating back to May, when a student was shot at a parking deck on Northside Drive and Tenth Street. Last week, there were three incidents reported in which Tech students were robbed either on campus or a short distance from the school." "This is the second major APD initiative on campus crime in the last six months. Last fall then-Police Chief Richard Pennington announced the department would dispatch eight uniformed officers to keep watch over the neighborhoods near Tech and the Atlanta University Center. But Turner said those increased patrols dwindled once the revenue source for overtime pay dried up."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Crime Wave Alert - Chicago violent crime on the rise, appeals for national guard to assist

CNN reported on April 26, 2010, that a "violent crime wave in Chicago" has prompted calls for the National Guard to step in. Two Illinois law makers are urging IL State Governor Pat Quinn to deploy troops following a recent surge in violent crime. Unfortunately, the National Guard, outside of Military Police, are not trained for doing police work -- they are not versed in domestic law enforcement, and are not a good fit. Yet it is interesting to observe that for all the publicly voiced opinions that no crime wave exists, that there are some experiencing acute pain from this economic downturn that they attribute to the conditions giving rise to a crime wave.

Read the article below. The comments on the CNN web link are also revealing in terms of capturing attitudes about the crime situation in Chicago.

April 26, 2010
Posted: 09:15 AM ET

A violent crime wave in Chicago prompts a call for the National Guard to step in. Two Illinois lawmakers, State Reprepresentatives John Fritchey (D) and LaShawn Ford (D), are urging Governor Pat Quinn to deploy troops following a recent surge in violent crime. "We're not talking about rolling tanks down the street," said Fritchey. "If we bring them in to fill sand bags and pick up tornado debris, we can bring them in to save lives."

While they may believe the Guard is the solution, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis disagrees. Weis says the Guard's military training falls short of the criminal laws and procedures that police must follow in combating crime. “I’m not that mixing the National Guard with local law enforcement is the solution," Weis said.

We want to hear from you. Tell us whether you think the National Guard should be called in to help combat the city’s recent crime wave.

Leave us a comment. We’ll share some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom, 11am – 1pm ET

Friday, April 16, 2010

Crime Wave Alert - Honduras - civil unrest, massive peasant squatters movement

In Honduras, government leaders are calling it a crime wave, and are planning to use the military to put down crime wave, that peasant leaders fear will include an assault on peasant squatters that have seized over 10,000 acres of farmland from large corporate owners.

"Zelaya's supporters expressed fear the security buildup might be used in a crackdown on a peasant squatter movement in the area. Just before the coup, about 3,000 farm workers seized almost 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) in commercial plantations used to grow African palms. The pro-Zelaya National Popular Resistance Front said the Aguan deployment posed a serious threat of raids to clear the squatters."

The AP Press reported that "Troops will be sent into Honduras' streets to help police combat a wave of violent crime, the government said Tuesday. Defense Minister Marlon Pascua told reporters that soldiers will be assigned to search vehicles and pedestrians and pursue criminal suspects. He did not specify when the troops would be deployed."

This Central American country of 7.7 million people suffered more than 5,300 homicides in 2009 while grappling with a political crisis touched off by a coup. The country's army was harshly criticized after soldiers hustled then-President Manuel Zelaya out of the country aboard an airplane last June. All six members of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff were charged with abuse of power in January, but all were later cleared by a Supreme Court judge. Lawmakers approved amnesty for both Zelaya and all those involved in his removal. On Monday, Lobo's administration announced it was sending more than 2,000 soldiers and police officers to the Atlantic coast region around the Aguan River to seize drugs and illegal weapons. Drug cartels are increasingly using the coasts of Central America to move drugs toward the U.S. market.

Read more:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Crime wave in New Haven: murder on the rise

What will the crime wave look like when it arrives? This is a question that researchers and watchers are asking. Criminal justice scholars are pleased with their observation that "no crime" wave has occurred, and that somehow this time is different. City leaders in New Haven are not so sure, as they are experiencing rapidly increasing violence in the past four months, with 17 homicides so far this year.

Despite the well intended scholars, or the hopeful politicians, this time is not different -- we will not avoid a crime wave -- rather it will get a lot worse before it gets better as we went so much further down the economic roller coaster, and we have yet to pull up. Furthermore, it is dangerous anytime someone suggests that somehow this time is different. This logic allows city officials to lay-off police at the same time that the conditions for crime are brewing. It must be remembered that it was not until 1933, some four years after the 1929 stock market crash, that the public was so greatly outraged by crime that something was done about it. Murder, extortion, kidnapping, racketeering, bank robberies, and many other crimes were the seminal markers of crime wave during the Great Depression era.

Consider now what is happening in our nations cities. Each is different, unique, and yet all are suffering from new conditions. The streets are getting meaner. Consider the recent press conference held Monday (yesterday) that marked the first time city leaders have spoken publicly to discuss the crime wave, responding to the continuing violence and rising anxiety in the city. New Haven Police Department Chief Frank Limon, who was sworn in just last week, said he will work on strategies for his “Operation Corridor” policing campaign, which was just launched this weekend and increased police presence in the area where the recent murders occurred. In the past four months, there have been 17 homicides, 15 of which involved firearms, Limon said. Most of the victims were in their late 20s or 30s and were recently released from prison. All were black, and this is most troubling as only 12% of the city population is African American, so this is intensely located in specific demographic areas, but it impacts the whole city.

New Haven is a densely populated city of 160,000 located along I-95 on the easter n seaboard. The city is comprised of a 19 square mile area.

Is there something going on in New Haven? In past economic crises, such as the Great Depression, criminal organizations were more violent to each other seeking to take away turf and restore profits. Perhaps times are not so different on the mean streets where it is believed that the victims and shooters are somehow gang related.