Charlie Shrem went to prison. While he was there, he thought up a better way to move money behind bars. Now, he’s out and trying to sell his idea to international investors.
Tagged with “crime” (9)
When successful internet entrepreneur Robert Hoquim died, the people who knew him found out they actually didn’t know him at all.
Even the creator of ‘broken windows’ policing thought it could lead to racial problems | Public Radio International
George Kelling was one of the two men who developed "broken windows" policing, which minority communities say unfairly targets them. But Kelling says the theory is misunderstood and even easily misapplied in potentially racist ways, even as it may have helped drive down crime rates nationwide.
HBO’s hit series "True Detective" is an uncanny blend of police procedural and metaphysical inquiry, set in the Louisiani bayous. In this exclusive interview, creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto tells Steve Paulson the backstory to the show, and provides a glimpse at what’s in store for season 2 (hint: it won’t take place in Louisiana).
Typically, police arrive at the scene of a crime after it occurs. But rather than send cops to yesterday’s crime, a new trend in law enforcement is using computers to predict where tomorrow’s crimes will be — and then try to head them off.
The software uses past statistics to project where crime is moving. Police in Los Angeles say it’s worked well in predicting property crimes there. Now Seattle is about to expand it for use in predicting gun violence.
It all started as a research project. Jeff Brantingham, an anthropologist at UCLA, wanted to see if computers could model future crime the same way they model earthquake aftershocks. Turns out they can.
"It predicts sort of twice as much crime as any other existing system, even going head-to-head with a crime analyst," Brantingham says.
Checking The Boxes
Older systems, like the famous CompStat in New York, show where crime has been. This system looks forward.
"The model will actually predict other locations, that effectively say, even though there was a crime somewhere else in your environment, the risk is still greatest in this location today for the next 10 hours or the next 12 hours," Brantingham explains.
Enlarge image Seattle police officer Philip Monzon patrols an area where the department’s predictive policing software has indicated car thefts are likely to occur.
Martin Kaste/NPR Brantingham and his colleagues are now selling the predictive system to police departments with the name PredPol. At this point, you may be thinking about the sci-fi movie Minority Report. But this is different. No psychics sleeping in bathtubs, for one. More to the point, this doesn’t predict who will commit a future crime, just where it is likely to happen.
In Seattle, police Sgt. Christi Robbin zooms in on a map of the city. Earlier this year, Seattle started using PredPol to predict property crimes. It’s now the first place to try predicting gun violence with the software.
"These red boxes [on the map] are predictions of where the next crimes are likely to occur," Robbin explains.
At the start of every shift, patrol cops are assigned to those red boxes. "So we’re asking that they spent the time in that 500-by-500-square-foot box, doing whatever proactive work they can to prevent that crime," Robbin says.
On a recent shift, officer Philip Monzon pulls up inside his box; today, it’s a city block near the Seattle waterfront.
"[The police] want visibility, they want contacts with businesses as are appropriate, and anyone who’s wandering through the area," Monzon explains.
This area has parking lots, and PredPol’s forecast includes car thefts. As Monzon passes a green Honda, he pauses. The guy inside seems to be ducking under the dashboard.
"[I] wanna make sure to see if he’s got the key or if he’s gonna pull out anytime soon," Monzon says.
The car starts — the guy probably does have the key. But why didn’t Monzon challenge him, just in case?
"I don’t really have enough — I’m not just going to single out one guy in a Honda," he explains.
Computer Models And ‘Reasonable Suspicion’
And this is where this gets tricky. The courts say police need "reasonable suspicion" in order to stop somebody. That suspicion can come from a lot of things — even someone’s "furtive movements," as police like to say.
All Tech Considered Police May Know Exactly Where You Were Last Tuesday
Around the Nation At LAPD, Predicting Crimes Before They Happen But can it come from the fact that someone is occupying an imaginary red box drawn by a computer?
"Ah — no. No. I don’t know. I wouldn’t make a stop solely on that," Monzon says.
That’s probably the right answer, says Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia who has taken a special interest in the constitutional implications of PredPol. He says the departments using it have told police not to use it as a basis for stops. But he also wonders how long that can last.
"The idea that you wouldn’t use something that is actually part of the officer’s suspicion and not put that in — [that] may come to a head when that officer is testifying," Ferguson says. Either that officer will have to omit the fact that he or she was prompted by PredPol, he says, or that officer will admit it on the stand. "Then the issue will be raised for the court to address."
And it may be that PredPol is a constitutional basis for stopping someone. Some might consider it more objective than an individual police officer’s judgment — less prone to racism or other kinds of profiling, for example.
Ferguson says that argument may have merit, but that police and society still need to be careful.
"I think most people are gonna defer to the black box," he says. "Which means we need to focus on what’s going into that black box, how accurate it is, and what transparency and accountability measures we have [for] it."
In other words, even though computers aren’t biased, the statistics feeding it might be. And if police are going to follow an algorithm, we should at least be willing to check the math.
Working closely with a former detective, James still goes out with Brighton police to gather material for his work about an English city with a rich criminal history.
Robert Wittman founded the FBI’s Art Crime Team and tracked down more than $225 million worth of stolen art and cultural property â including a $36 million self-portrait by Rembrandt. He describes the heists in his memoir, Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures.
Salford and Hackney riots: ‘We don’t want trouble. We want a job’ - audio | UK news | guardian.co.uk
Witnesses to the riots in Salford, Greater Manchester, and Hackney, east London, tell Shiv Malik what happened this week and speak of their anger at a lack of job prospects.
Nils Gilman describes deviant globalization as "the unpleasant underside of transnational integration."
There’s nice tourism, and then sex tourism, such as in Thailand and Switzerland. The vast pharmacology industry is matched by a vast traffic in illegal drugs. The underside of waste disposal is the criminal dumping in the developing world of toxic wastes from the developed world. Military activities worldwide are fed by a huge gray market in weapons. Internet communications are undermined by floods of malware doubling every year. Among the commodities shipped around the world are exotic hardwoods, endangered species, blood diamonds, and stolen art worth billions in ransom. Illegitimate health care includes the provision of human organs from poor people — you can get a new kidney with no waiting for $150,000 in places like Brazil, the Philippines, Istanbul, and South Africa. Far overwhelming legal immigration are torrents of illegal immigrants who pay large sums to get across borders. And money laundering accounts for 4-12% of world GDP — $1.5 to 5 trillion dollars a year.
These are not marginal, "informal" activities. These are enormous, complex businesses straight out of the Harvard Business Review. The drug business in Mexico, for example, employs 400,000 people. A thousand-dollar kilo of cocaine grows in value by 1400-percent when it crosses into the U.S. — nice profit margin there.