Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

Access to police discipline records

April 26, 2019

A media collaboration has compiled discipline records for about 10% of U.S. police around the country, as reported on this 6-minute PBS news clip. Initial reporting is available here, along with a link to the database that was compiled. In California, where a new state law opening up police personnel records went into effect January 1, the Attorney General and the courts are still deciding whether it is retroactive, and various parties are suing, as reported here. New York has one of the most restrictive laws but advocates and legislators are pushing for change in the current session, as reported here.

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Elder fraud

March 8, 2019

U.S. authorities announced a year-long “largest-ever” elder fraud crackdown resulting in criminal and civil charges against 260 defendants for defrauding more than 2 million victims out of $750 million, as reported here. The total annual loss to elder Americans is estimated at $3 billion. The investigation was aided by Europol and police in several individual countries, with “alleged fraudsters charged criminally and extradited from Canada, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Poland.” An additional 600 U.S.-based “money mules” who helped transfer funds were identified, most receiving warning letters rather than charges because they didn’t realize they were facilitating scams.

Murder clearance rates have actually improved — with one big exception

January 26, 2019

This article analyzes city clearance rates for murders and shootings. One key finding is a drop from 65% to 42% since the 1980s in the clearance rate for black and Hispanic victims killed by guns — aside from this category, murder clearance rates have actually improved. Also, non-firearm homicides, which are more likely to yield DNA and other suspect evidence, are solved at higher rates regardless of victim characteristics. Solve rates for non-fatal shootings vary widely but tend to be well below those for murder, at least in part due to overwhelming caseloads.

Disabilities app

November 1, 2018

Police in Minnesota and Ohio have started using an app that alerts them when they are near a person wearing a disabilities “beacon,” as reported here. Importantly, “Users have complete control over the information accessible to police and first responders. Their profile data can include basic personal details, as well as potential deescalation tactics, possible triggers and emergency contact numbers. The information is only available to public safety officers within the 80-foot radius, and it cannot be stored.” Currently, 1,500 families have created profiles on the “Vitals” app.

Crime victim vs. public nuisance

October 13, 2018

This article points out an apparent flaw in many public nuisance laws — they can penalize crime victims. In the case of domestic violence, some victims who have called the police multiple times have crossed a threshold that put their home into the public nuisance category, particularly risky when renting from a landlord. Others have been warned that their next call could qualify them as a public nuisance, effectively deterring them from reporting future assaults. Estimates are that less than 10% of public nuisance laws have an exception for domestic abuse victims.

Focusing on crime guns

September 7, 2018

This best practices manual explains how agencies are increasingly using crime gun intelligence to “disrupt the shooting cycle.” The aim is to develop quicker intelligence using NIBIN and the ATF gun tracing center to connect ballistics evidence, guns used in crimes, and shooters. Equally important is rapid dissemination and sharing of information among an agency’s units and between neighboring agencies. According to the manual, the approach “has proven its value in measurable reductions in violent gun crime through apprehension and successful prosecution of violent offenders.”

How many school shootings?

August 29, 2018

This public radio segment reviewed the data behind a U.S. Department of Education report that during the 2015-2016 school year “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” That figure is apparently way off. When NPR followed up, 2/3 of the schools (161) said no such incident occurred. Only 11 incidents could be verified, while another 59 could not be confirmed or disconfirmed. Many cases were mis-classified in the data, with two school systems accounting for 63 of the errors.

Vacant lots & abandoned buildings

August 24, 2018

This article reports efforts in various cities to reduce crime by focusing on places, especially vacant lots and abandoned buildings. The approach follows the same logic as broken windows theory, but emphasizes improving the physical environment rather than police action. A Philadelphia experiment resulted in a 39% reduction in gun violence in and around remediated abandoned buildings and a small decrease for fixed-up vacant lots, with no evidence of displacement and impacts lasting 1-4 years.

The value of positive examples

August 7, 2018

This law journal note uses the example of a successful settlement agreement in Warren, Ohio to highlight the impact of ethics and virtue on police behavior. It observes that “Police reform scholarship tends to emphasize the bureaucratic nature of problems in policing, and, in turn, proposes administrative solutions,” relying on incentives, penalties, and accountability. Sometimes overlooked are mentoring and leading by example — “we should also emphasize positive statements about what conduct is encouraged and provide models to demonstrate desired behavior.”

Not a police matter

July 16, 2018

Police have been called recently to deal with a black guy wearing socks at a private pool (in Memphis), an 11-year-old black kid on his first day delivering newspapers (in Cincinnati), a 12-year-old black kid mowing a lawn who accidentally crossed into a neighbor’s yard (outside Cleveland), and a 9-year-old black girl selling water outside her apartment building (in San Francisco). This article discusses what police should do, including having call takers ask more specific questions and routing such calls through supervisors before assigning them to patrol officers.