New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly returned to Haiti on Monday to meet with the earthquake-devastated country's president and lay the groundwork for the deployment later this month of six Creole-speaking NYPD officers to help train the Haitian police force, reports the Wall Street Journal. Kelly, who helped establish an interim police force there after political chaos enveloped Haiti in the 1990s, met with Haitian President Rene Preval and his top security officials to discuss Haiti's law-enforcement strategies.
The costs of the daylong meetings and the reassignment of the New York officers is being covered by the U.S. State Department as part of the effort to help rebuild the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. Kelly said the officers will be on 90-day assignments and rotate in and out in six-member teams. Even eight months after the quake, the devastation was apparent at every stop on Kelly's itinerary.
After elite hacker Albert Gonzalez was arrested in 2009 and later convicted of stealing data of some 170 million credit cards, the number of cyberattacks on retail stores fell noticeably. The impact of a single arrest on overall online lawlessness was one key point in a new Verizon report on cybercrime, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Unlike survey-based studies, Verizon's annual cyberattack report analyzes more than 900 actual cases and 900 million stolen records over the past six years. The richness of the data makes the Verizon report particularly closely watched within the industry.
Among the report's other findings: Financial services was the most-attacked industry, tallying 33 percent of the data breaches in the study. Hospitality – restaurants and hotels – came in second with 23 percent. Meanwhile, the retail industry, which led in cyberdata breaches in 2007 and 2008, fell to 14 percent in 2009. Hacking and malware use for data attacks were up sharply in 2009. About half of that malware was installed by a remote attacker, 19 percent was automatically installed by malicious websites, 9 percent was unwittingly installed by users clicking on fake software come-ons like "click to clean your system."
The Louisville Courier-Journel profiles Charles Randall Moore, who in 13 years as a police officer in that city has been suspended seven times and reprimanded on another eight occasions. He has been the subject of four criminal investigations, although he was never charged. Moore, 40, has accepted extra pay for court appearances he didn't make, according to department records. He has maintained material of a sexual nature on his computer and repeatedly lied to his superiors, including once about a sexually explicit conversation with an informant.
Three times, Chief Robert White has promised that further violations “of this nature” would warrant termination. Yet Moore remains on the Louisville Metro Police force, drawing an annual salary of $48,776. His lengthy disciplinary history is about to become an issue in a court case in which Moore made an arrest more than two years ago. Asked about Moore's record, Chief White accused reporters of “singling out” and “picking on” Moore, and asked, “What is your point?”
The Chicago Tribune visits a University of Illinois at Chicago drug clinic in a story that addresses the city's dubious standing as having the nation's most severe heroin problem. The clinic offers clean syringes, HIV tests and other services to those buying $10 baggies of dope on the drug-soaked streets nearby. Some of its patrons are old-timers, weary and bedraggled, their forearms misshapen with the knots and abscesses from years of shooting up. When you imagine an addict, they're probably what comes to mind.
But most who pass through the door are startlingly young: suburban teens and 20-somethings whose dalliance with the drug quickly became a consuming obsession. After looking at hospital admissions, drug test results and overdose deaths, Roosevelt University researchers concluded that heroin abuse in the Chicago region is more extreme than anywhere else in the country. And young suburbanites are a primary reason. They say the drug is alluring because it's cheap and easy to obtain. It's powerful, too, wrapping users in a numbing cocoon that seems to keep their troubles far away. That, of course, is a lie.
Nearly nine in 10 teenage drivers have engaged in distracted-driving behaviors such as texting or talking on a cellphone although most of them know that their actions increase their risk of crashing, reports USa Today. A new survey by Seventeen magazine and the AAA highlights the difficulty of the nation's efforts to stop texting while driving, especially among young drivers. "Teens do continue to drive distracted even when they recognize the dangers," says William Van Tassel, manager of AAA's driver training programs. "Driving is the first real adult responsibility, but let's face it, they're still teens whose brains aren't fully developed."
The USA's crackdown on distracted driving has focused on educating young drivers about its dangers. Almost 6,000 highway deaths each year involve distracted driving. Eleven states have enacted bans on texting while driving this year; 30 states and the District of Columbia now have passed such prohibitions for all drivers. "Everybody has heard the message that distracted driving can raise your crash risk," Van Tassel says. "They're getting the message, but their personal experience may influence them in the other direction."
While crime is rare on cruise ships, justice for those victimized on the vacation voyages can be elusive due to overlapping investigative powers, difficulty obtaining evidence and witnesses, and a lack of sworn officers aboard ships, reports the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Some of that could soon change. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, aimed at strengthening safety and reporting standards, was signed by President Obama last week. The new law requires the cruise industry to install video surveillance systems in common areas, as well as door viewers and security latches on cabin doors.
Each ship must carry equipment and materials to perform sexual assault medical exams and to collect forensic evidence. Ships also need to have drugs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases after an assault. Another provision requires cruise ships to log and report all deaths, missing persons, alleged crimes and complaints involving some thefts, sexual attacks and assaults involving U.S. citizens. Those records will be available to the FBI and the Coast Guard electronically and to all law enforcement officers upon request. The Department of Homeland Security will make cruise line crime statistics available to the public.
U.S. immigration officials are touting visa opportunities for immigrant crime victims who assist law enforcement in prosecuting their perpetrators, reports the Los Angeles Times. Enhanced publicity about the opportunities helped the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services approve the maximum number of visa petitions for this category — 10,000 — for the first time since it began reviewing them in 2008. The so-called U visa grants temporary legal status to those who suffer substantial physical or mental abuse in major crimes and help authorities pursue the cases. After three years, visa holders can apply for permanent residency.
One of the visa recipients this year is a Mexican immigrant in Los Angeles who was caught in the crossfire of a 2006 gang shooting while selling corn on the streets. The victim testified against the perpetrators. One of his assailants has been convicted, and authorities are pursuing cases against the others. Alejandro Mayorkas, the immigration agency chief, said the U visa was a critical tool for law enforcement and crime victims. He said the agency has boosted the number of staff members who process U visa requests from two in 2008 to 45 today.
Tom Graser, managing editor of the Marion, Ohio, Star, writes about his efforts to put together a crime reporting policy for the 10 Gannett-owned newspapers in central Ohio. It goes into effect today. He said his work began when editors at the papers saw a need for a "unifying policy" on reporting crime. He writes, "I took the existing policies, standards and guidelines of 10 newspapers and combined them into one set off policies we could share."
Glaser continued, "I started off with a big disclaimer: No compilation of policies and procedures can envision every circumstance that reporters, editors and copy editors will face in covering crime news. Careful judgment and common sense should be applied to make the decisions that best serve the public interest. When questions arise, consult an editor. Our aim is to responsibly publish as much crime news as possible, while respecting the privacy of victims."
The Salt Lake Tribune profiles a convict named Julian Stevens who struggles to adjust after his latest parole. “All I think about is the streets,” Julian says shortly before his release. “How difficult it will be earning an honest living.” After getting a quick pep talk, $50 and a temporary ID, Julian tells his caseworker he won’t be seeing them again. The Utah State Prison staffers give Julian their usual goodbye for inmates: “We’ll keep the light on for you.” Julian takes a last look at the barbed wire fences and prisoners lingering in the yard.
Some days, Julian’s mother blames herself for where her son ended up. Lynda Gonzales says Julian’s father drank, brought drugs around their children and was abusive. The couple divorced when Julian was 4, and Gonzales says she gave her kids more freedom to make up for the tough life they’d had. That backfired when Julian made the wrong friends in their Glendale neighborhood. With five sisters and an absent dad, Julian, known as “J.D.,” craved male camaraderie. He was drawn to gangs. “Everybody I ever knew was in that gang,” Julian says. “I thought it was the cool thing to do.” A beating delivered by seven men initiated him into VLT at age 11. By 13, grunt work as a getaway driver progressed to assaults and drive-by shootings.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff is discovering the complications of taking over small-town police departments, reports the L.A. Times. The sheriff moved into Maywood, Calif., a month ago to fill in for the city's disbanded police force. Sheriff's Capt. Henry Romero said there are challenges when his agency suddently assumes law enforcement responsibilities, including taking over unfinished police work. It's a scenario that may become increasingly common as municipalities across the county consider outsourcing public safety.
Amid fiscal problems, Pomona, Sierra Madre and other L.A. County cities are talking about following Maywood's lead and dropping local policing in favor of sheriff's patrols. Cudahy, which was patrolled by Maywood police, is now also relying on the Sheriff's Department. Maywood decided in June to disband its police department after learning that the city was losing its insurance. Its provider found the city too risky, mainly because of the high number of claims filed against the police force. The move came as Maywood moved to outsource other municipal operations to the city of Bell, which is now embroiled in a controversy over high compensation to top city officials.