Posts Tagged ‘New York’

NYPD counter-terrorism intelligence

January 16, 2019

Here’s an interview with two top NYPD counter-terrorism intelligence officials about their assessment of current threats to the city and the police department’s preparedness. Publicly disclosed plots have averaged 1-2 per year since 2001. Since 2010, lone actor plots have become much more common than externally-directed ones. Most of the threats to the city continue to come from salafi-jihadi inspired extremists, with only a small increase in extreme right-wing acts. Plots often target New York as the iconic and symbolic representation of America, but also because it is a media center, guaranteeing maximum publicity.

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Shifting face of international terrorism

January 2, 2019

Counter-terrorism efforts directed mainly at ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Middle East will need to shift attention to Russian-speaking individuals and networks in the coming years, according to this article. Terror groups that previously resisted oppressive governments in their own countries are now focused on perceived international enemies. Attacks in Turkey, Sweden, and the U.S. over the past several years were committed by Uzbeks, and fighters from several former Soviet countries who joined ISIS in Syria have since slipped back into Europe and Central Asia.

Long-term drop in solving rape cases

December 28, 2018

This article reviews the national clearance rate for rape, which has dropped from 62% in 1964 to 32% in 2017. Some of the decline is probably due to increased reporting by victims and more complete recording by police. Also, the FBI definition was expanded in 2013 and, most recently, #MeToo has caused a surge in reporting, straining investigative staff in many agencies. DNA and other forensic impovements should help solve cases, but many still boil down to he-said/she-said over the question of consent.

NYPD improves victim services

December 4, 2018

This article describes enhancements that NYPD has made to victim services over the last 4-5 years. The agency has adopted 101 initiatives “infused with trauma-informed practices, a raft of changes in police training, and an overriding goal to connect more victims with available counseling and reimbursement for funerals, medical costs, lost wages, and other disruptions in their lives.” Many of the practices are cost-free, with one exception being the addition of two victim advocates to each precinct and public housing unit.

Firearm homicides & suicides in metro areas

November 10, 2018

This CDC report looks at firearm homicides and suicides in 2015-2016 in the 50 largest metropolitan areas. New Orleans had the highest homicide rate by firearm, Providence the lowest. Oklahoma City had the highest firearm suicide rate, New York the lowest. Combining the two (homicides and suicides), Boston had the lowest rate of firearm deaths while New Orleans had the highest, followed by Birmingham and Memphis. An unusual case was Salt Lake City, which had the 6th lowest homicide rate, but the 2nd highest suicide rate.

NYPD apologizes for mistreating 1994 rape victim

October 29, 2018

The NYPD police commissioner has issued a rare public apology to a 1994 rape victim whose case was treated as a false report and leaked to a newspaper that ran the headline “Rape hoax the real crime.” New DNA analysis last year identified her attacker, a career sex offender. The commissioner wrote that he is “deeply and profoundly sorry” and “there is zero justification for the additional trauma she endured.” The victim’s attorney said his client is grateful for the apology but added “It’s unfortunate that it didn’t go further and highlight the people in the police department that allowed this to happen,” according to this article.

Transit agencies & homelessness

October 27, 2018

This article reports several examples of cities and transit systems responding to challenges presented by homelessness. Subway stations and other transit facilities are often chosen by homeless people for weather protection and some remain open throughout the night. Philadelphia has brought social services into metro stations and police in Minneapolis have taken the lead in obtaining housing and shelter options for people they encounter.

Death certificates often inaccurate

October 20, 2018

According to this article, cause of death and other information on death certificates is often incorrect — 20% to 50% contain errors based on studies conducted in several jurisdictions. Reasons seem to include lack of training, assigning the task to the lowest staffer on the totem pole, and poorly-designed forms. One result of the errors has been that survivors aren’t eligible for insurance payouts that they actually deserve. Also, violence and disease studies that rely on death certificate data are probably less valid than one might assume.

The runaways

September 25, 2018

This episode of the public radio program This American Life recounts the stories of several young people who went missing on Long Island and were eventually found to have been murdered by MS-13 gang members. The Suffolk County police were recently congratulated for their anti-gang efforts, but the record indicates that they treated the first few missing boys merely as runaways, ignoring pleas from immigrant parents, refusing to use qualified interpreters, and failing to follow modern protocols for missing children cases.

An American in Al-Qa’ida

September 11, 2018

This article decribes the experiences of the first American foreign fighter to join Al-Qa’ida following the 9/11 attacks. He traveled from Long Island to Pakistan and Afghanistan, completed several training courses, and participated in two failed missions before being captured. He subsequently renounced the affiliation, became a western intelligence asset, and testified against captured jihadists. He is coauthor of the article along with a former NYPD intelligence official.