Tagpolice

The Rise of Predictive Policing: Police Using Statistics to Predict Crime

The Minority Report

The Department of Homeland security is field testing a system that will attempt to predict which passengers on an airline are planning terrorist activity, according to Nature. The system, called Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) looks at a number of factors, including your pulse, the steadiness of your gaze and the way you walk and calculates the probability that you’re planning to commit a crime. It’s a bit like a polygraph, but it doesn’t require subjects to be connecting to a polygraph.

DHS claims that the system is 70% effective in lab tests.

Nature: Terrorist ‘pre-crime’ detector field tested in United States

But DHS isn’t the only law enforcement agency looking to statistic modeling to predict crime. Earlier this year Slate ran a story on how police departments, including the LAPD and Chicago PD, are researching predictive policing. This projects aren’t about predicting the actions of one individual, Minority Report style, but instead are designed to help decide how best to allocate police resources.

Slate: Can police really predict crime before it happens?.

Police Robot Accidentally Burns Down House

A mobile home in Tennessee was left a smoking ruin last month after it was attacked by a heavily armed police robot firing advanced triple-warhead gas grenades.

Despite the uncompromising tactics employed by the no-nonsense tin cop, and the fact that satellite and heat-sensing technology had apparently confirmed that the residence housed a dangerous fugitive tooled up with a deadly arsenal of weaponry, feds and local lawmen who combined to launch the assault were left egg-faced following the inferno. The ashy wreckage left behind following the robocop’s orgy of mechanical destruction contained no trace of their quarry, who had plainly escaped during the mayhem.

The Register: Police ROBOT attacks and BURNS DOWN HOUSE

I wonder what unit this mechanical police offer was. ED209s are known for this sort of fuck-up.

(Thanks Alex!)

Seattle Police Rounding Up Super Heroes

Phoenix Jones

A police bulletin has been sent to all officers this week, requesting they look at the Real Life Super Hero national website to get an idea of what they are dealing with.

The Rain City Superhero Movement includes the likes of Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88, Penelope and Phoenix Jones the Guardian of Seattle. All masked, they carry Tasers, nightsticks, pepper spray, but no firearms. […]

The police will be interviewing more member of the Rain City Superhero Movement this week, to be identified. Basically, the plot of Civil War is being carried out on the streets of Seattle – just without any dead giant black men.

Bleeding Cool: Seattle Police Almost Shoot “Superhero”

(via Cat Vincent)

My childhood self would be glad to know that I would live long enough to see the day when the real-life superhero problem would be “hard news.” My adult-self, however, disapproves of vigilantism and thinks this whole thing will only end badly.

Military Police Meets Zen Buddhism

buddhist police

The government of Espírito Santo, a state located in the southeast of Brazil, is experimenting with a new training routine for some of its military police officers. Instead of learning about new combat techniques, policemen are developing interpersonal relationship skills, emotional balance and discipline in a Zen Buddhist monastery, located 70km from the state capital, Vitória.

PSFK: Military Police Meets Zen Buddhism

Occult Profiling: Where it comes from and why it’s worth fighting

West Memphas Three

In In Pursuit of Satan: The Police and the Occult, Robert Hicks describes how news reporters get their misinformation about so-called occult crimes from police. Police, in turn, learn what they know from seminars – and the information disseminated at those seminars comes from conservative Christian sources.

“Cult officers employ fundamentalist rhetoric, distribute literature that emanates from fundamentalist authorities, and sometimes offer bibliographies giving many fundamentalist publications,” Hicks writes. “Further, cult cops sometimes team up with clergy to give Satanism seminars.”

At the same time, police are discouraged from studying primary sources on the occult, according to Kail. “One law enforcement guide warns: ‘Intense study of resource books and materials by occult sources is hazardous. Preferred is studying overviews and synopses by credible authors who have studied the occult traditions. The unknown realm of the occult beckons with many lures. Study and/or experimentation are to be avoided. There are safer ways to test for poisonous chemicals than by tasting them.’”

Plutonica: Occult Profiling: Where it comes from and why it’s worth fighting

Despite Obama admin’s promise, DEA continues raids on medical marijuana growers

Chris Bartkowicz

On Thursday, a Denver news station interviewed Chris Bartkowicz about his medical-marijuana operation in the basement of his home. Bartkowicz, confident of his compliance with state laws, boasted of its size and profitability.

“I’m definitely living the dream now,” he told 9News.

The following day, the dream was over.

Drug-enforcement agents raided his home, placed him under arrest, and carried off dozens of black bags of marijuana plants and growing lights.

The Obama administration promised in October that the federal government would respect state laws allowing the growing and selling of marijuana for medicinal use, but the Drug Enforcement Agency sent a loud message with the arrest of Bartkowicz.

Read More – Raw Story: Despite Obama admin’s promise, DEA continues raids on medical marijuana growers

(via Disinfo)

Court to Cops: Stop Tasing People into Compliance

Sometimes there is good news:

The use of Tasers has become increasingly controversial over the last year, following high-profile cases such as the Tasering of a 10-year-old girl who had refused to take a shower and video of a 72-year-old great-grandmother who was Tasered following a driving offense. Now a federal appeals court in San Francisco has set down new rules for when police officers are allowed to use Tasers. In particular, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Tasers can’t be used simply to force a non-violent person to bend to an officer’s will. The court’s reason was that Taser’s X26 stun gun inflicts more pain than other “non-lethal” options.

However:

It would be naïve to assume that there will not be any market response to the ruling. We have recently seen a rash of new devices aimed at police forces, including assorted laser dazzlers and pepper ball guns as Taser alternatives. There are also portable pain beams in prospect, both microwave and infrared laser varieties, not to mention various acoustic blasters. The ruling is likely to lead to more experimentation, both technical and in the courts, to find out just what the acceptable level of pain and suffering is and how it can best be delivered.

The ruling is also a potential boost for devices such as the LED Incapacitator, which does not rely on pain but other physiological effects (disorientation, loss of balance and nausea).

Court to Cops: Stop Tasing People into Compliance

Escaped prisoner taunts police on Facebook

facebook fugative

Craig “Lazie” Lynch vanished from Hollesley Bay Prison in Suffolk in September this year close to the end of a seven-year sentence for aggravated burglary.

Instead of hiding away from police Lynch has set up a Facebook account complete with a photograph sticking his middle finger up and boasts about eating 12lb steaks and his home being so warm it feels like the Caribbean.

The burglar has become prolific Facebooker with 199 friends and has even posted when he is going round to friend’s homes and attending parties and events.

Telegraph: Escaped prisoner taunts police on Facebook

(via Disinfo)

See also:

Barefoot teenage outlaw has eluded police for nearly two years

What Does It Take to Really Disappear?

WaPo Sits on Eyewitness Account on Snowball Gun Incident

cop bring gun to a snowball fight

Check it out, it’s a media-criticism story AND a police misconduct story rolled into one:

Washington Post editorial aide Stephen Lowman was at 14th and U on Saturday when the controversial snowball-fight-cum-police-indiscretion went down. He wasn’t there on assignment–he was just taking it all in.

And take it all in he did. He eye-witnessed the snowball fest and the cop waving around a gun, not to mention all the hubbub that ensued.

So Lowman got on the phone to the Post, to give the newsroom a heads-up. He says he was placed in contact with staff writer Matt Zapotosky. Lowman told Zapotosky about the confrontation and the gun. It was just after 3 pm. […]

Two hours later, at 5:40 pm, the inexplicable takes place: The Washington Post files a post by Zapotosky and Martin Weilrefuting the photographic evidence already on the Web and taking the official position of the D.C. Police Department.

Washington City Paper: WaPo Sits on Eyewitness Account on Snowball Gun Incident

(via Jay Rosen)

Study: States can’t afford death penalty

according to a new report that concludes that states are wasting millions on an inefficient death penalty system, diverting scarce funds from other anti-crime and law enforcement programs.

“Thirty-five states still retain the death penalty, but fewer and fewer executions are taking place every year,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. “But the overall death row population has remained relatively steady. At a time of budget shortfalls nationwide, the death penalty is turning into an expensive form of life without parole.”

His group commissioned the study released Tuesday.

A privately conducted poll of 500 police chiefs released with the report found the death penalty ranked last among their priorities for reducing violent crime. Only 1 percent found it to the best way to achieve that goal. Adding police officers ranked first.

CNN: Study: States can’t afford death penalty

(via Bill)

Governments have been maintaining other policies that not only can they not afford, but are amoral – for example, the drug war. This hasn’t stopped them yet. Still, one can hope this report will lead to some reversal of policy.

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