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: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1267807&srvc=rss

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.