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Safeguarding Children and Youth from Sexual Predators

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Safeguarding Children and Youth from Sexual Predators (PDF)
Source: University of Minnesota REACH Lab

In response to a request from The Office of Family Policy, Children and Youth, the Center for Research and Outreach (REACH) team conducted a review of the literature focused on safeguarding children and youth from sexual predators. An extensive and systematic review of the literature was conducted identifying relevant articles and reports ; approximately 400 documents were reviewed for this report . This report focuses on both the tactics that offenders utilize in grooming young people for sexual abuse, as well as existing programs that are in place to protect young people from predatory practices. Based on th e extensive review of empirical evidence , organizational best practices and recommendations are also identified.

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CRS — Guatemala: Political, Security, and Socio-Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations (August 7, 2014)

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Guatemala: Political, Security, and Socio-Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Since the 1980s, Guatemala, the most populous country in Central America with a population of 15.5 million, has continued its transition from centuries of mostly autocratic rule toward representative government. A democratic constitution was adopted in 1985, and a democratically elected government was inaugurated in 1986. A violent 36-year civil war ended in 1996.

This report provides an overview of Guatemala’s current political and economic conditions, relations with the United States, and several issues likely to figure in future decisions by Congress and the Administration regarding Guatemala. With respect to continued cooperation and foreign assistance, these issues include security and governance; protection of human rights and human rights conditions on some U.S. military aid to Guatemala; support for the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala; combating narcotics trafficking and organized crime; trade relations; intercountry adoption; and unaccompanied children at the U.S. border.

New From the GAO

August 21, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Enhanced Detection Tools and Reporting Could Improve Efforts to Combat Recipient Fraud. GAO-14-641, August 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-641
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665382.pdf

DHS OIG — Implementation Status of the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services Program

August 20, 2014 Comments off

Implementation Status of the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services Program (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

The National Protection Programs Directorate (NPPD) is primarily responsible for fulfilling the DHS national, nonͲlaw enforcement cybersecurity missions. Within NPPD, the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications is responsible for the implementation of the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program. Our overall objective was to determine the effectiveness of the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program to disseminate cyber threat and technical information with the critical infrastructure sectors through commercial service providers.

NPPD has made progress in expanding the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program. For example, as of May 2014, 40 critical infrastructure entities participate in the program. Additionally, 22 companies have signed memorandums of agreement to join the program. Further, NPPD has established the procedures and guidance required to carry out key tasks and operational aspects of the program, including an inͲdepth security validation and accreditation process. NPPD has also addressed the privacy risk associated with the program by developing a Privacy Impact Assessment. Finally, NPPD has engaged sector-specific agencies and government furnished information providers to expand the program, and has developed program reporting and metric capabilities to monitor the program.

Although NPPD has made progress, the Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program has been slow to expand because of limited outreach and resources. In addition, cyber threat information sharing relies on NPPD’s manual reviews and analysis, which has led to inconsistent cyber threat indicator quality.

NICB’s Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles

August 20, 2014 Comments off

NICB’s Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Wheels report, which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2013.

Also in today’s release is a list of the top 25 2013 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2013.

For 2013, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were (total thefts in parentheses):

1. Honda Accord (53,995)
2. Honda Civic (45,001)
3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) (27,809)
4. Ford Pickup (Full Size) (26,494)
5. Toyota Camry (14,420)
6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) (11,347)
7. Dodge Caravan (10,911)
8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (9,272)
9. Toyota Corolla (9,010)
10. Nissan Altima (8,892)

HHS OIG — Nursing Facilities’ Compliance with Federal Regulations for Reporting Allegations of Abuse or Neglect

August 19, 2014 Comments off

Nursing Facilities’ Compliance with Federal Regulations for Reporting Allegations of Abuse or Neglect
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

WHY WE DID THIS STUDY
To protect the well-being of residents, nursing facilities must comply with Federal regulations to develop and implement written policies related to reporting allegations of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, injuries of unknown source, and misappropriation of resident property (allegations of abuse or neglect). Further, allegations of abuse or neglect must be reported to the facility administrator or designee and the State survey agency within 24 hours. Results of investigations of these allegations must be reported to the same authorities within 5 working days. Nursing facilities must also notify owners, operators, employees, managers, agents, or contractors of nursing facilities (covered individuals) annually of their obligation to report reasonable suspicions of crimes.

HOW WE DID THIS STUDY
This study included a: (1) review of sampled nursing facilities’ policies related to reporting allegations of abuse or neglect, (2) review of sampled nursing facilities’ policies related to reasonable suspicions of crimes, and (3) survey of administrators from those sampled facilities. It also included an examination of a random sample of allegations of abuse or neglect identified from the sampled nursing facilities, and a review of documentation related to those sampled allegations of abuse or neglect.

WHAT WE FOUND
It is both required and expected that nursing facilities will report any and all allegations of abuse or neglect to ensure resident safety. We found that 85 percent of nursing facilities reported at least one allegation of abuse or neglect to OIG in 2012. Additionally, 76 percent of nursing facilities maintained policies that address Federal regulations for reporting both allegations of abuse or neglect and investigation results. Further, 61 percent of nursing facilities had documentation supporting the facilities’ compliance with both Federal regulations under Section 1150B of the Social Security Act. Lastly, 53 percent of allegations of abuse or neglect and the subsequent investigation results were reported, as Federally required.

WHAT WE RECOMMEND
We recommend that CMS ensure that nursing facilities: (1) maintain policies related to reporting allegations of abuse or neglect; (2) notify covered individuals of their obligation to report reasonable suspicions of crimes; and (3) report allegations of abuse or neglect and investigation results in a timely manner and to the appropriate individuals, as required. CMS concurred with all three of our recommendations.

AU — Crime and law enforcement: a quick guide to key Internet links

August 19, 2014 Comments off

Crime and law enforcement: a quick guide to key Internet links
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This Quick Guide provides key Internet links to websites with information on crime and law enforcement arrangements and issues. Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department —the lead Commonwealth agency for criminal law, law enforcement policy, crime prevention and anti-corruption. Key pages include:
– crime and corruption—overview and links to more specific information including legislation and policy on organised crime, money laundering, people smuggling, human trafficking, cybercrime, foreign bribery, anti-corruption, illicit drugs and federal offenders
– crime prevention—information on the government’s crime prevention initiatives, including grants programs and
– international crime cooperation arrangements—information on extradition, mutual assistance and international transfer of prisoners processes and arrangements with other countries.

CRS — Missing and Exploited Children: Background, Policies, and Issues (August 1, 2014)

August 15, 2014 Comments off

Missing and Exploited Children: Background, Policies, and Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Beginning in the late 1970s, highly publicized cases of children abducted, sexually abused, and sometimes murdered prompted policy makers and child advocates to declare a missing children problem. At that time, about 1.5 million children were reported missing annually. Though dated, survey data from 1999 provide the most recent and comprehensive information on missing children. The data show that approximately 1.3 million children went missing from their caretakers that year due to a family or nonfamily abduction, running away or being forced to leave home, becoming lost or injured, or for benign reasons, such as a miscommunication about schedules. Nearly half of all missing children ran away or were forced to leave home, and nearly all missing children were returned to their homes. The number of children who are sexually exploited is unknown because of the secrecy surrounding exploitation; however, in the 1999 study, researchers found that over 300,000 children were victims of rape; unwanted sexual contact; forceful actions taken as part of a sex-related crime; and other sex-related crimes that do not involve physical contact with the child, including those committed on the Internet.

CRS– Juvenile Victims of Domestic Sex Trafficking: Juvenile Justice Issues (August 5, 2014)

August 15, 2014 Comments off

Juvenile Victims of Domestic Sex Trafficking: Juvenile Justice Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

There has been growing concern over sex trafficking of children in the United States. Demand for sex with children (and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children) is steady, and profit to sex traffickers has increased. Law enforcement is challenged not only by prosecuting traffickers and buyers of sex with children, but also by how to handle the girls and boys whose bodies are sexually exploited for profit.

Under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA; P.L. 106-386), the primary law that addresses trafficking, sex trafficking of children is a federal crime; moreover, an individual under the age of 18 who is involved in commercial sex activities is considered a victim of these crimes. Despite this, at the state and local levels, juvenile victims of sex trafficking may at times be treated as criminals or juvenile delinquents rather than victims of crime. Of note, there are no comprehensive data that address the number of prostituted or otherwise sexually trafficked children, and there are limited studies on the proportion of these juveniles who are treated as offenders.

Colorado’s Rollout of Legal Marijuana Is Succeeding

August 12, 2014 Comments off

Colorado’s Rollout of Legal Marijuana Is Succeeding
Source: Brookings Institution

In November 2012, Colorado voters decided to experiment with marijuana, passing a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational cannabis. It was a bold move, but it also required quick, bold, and unprecedented action on the part of the state government to implement the policy. Colorado needed to set up a legal, regulatory, and tax system so that product would be available in dispensaries by January 1, 2014. As part of an examination of Colorado’s implementation and rollout, Brookings’ John Hudak spent a week in Denver interviewing elected officials, regulators, industry officials, and others playing a variety of roles and including supporters and opponents of legalization policy.

Hudak reports that the state of Colorado has largely succeeded in rolling out a legal marijuana system, and its early implementation efforts have been impressive. This report details what has been successful, how Colorado has achieved an effective rollout, and what challenges remain.

Survey: lawyers ready to join in major push to spot and report financial fraud targeting older Americans

August 12, 2014 Comments off

Survey: lawyers ready to join in major push to spot and report financial fraud targeting older Americans (PDF)
Source: Investor Protection Trust (IPT), the Investor Protection Institute (IPI), and the American Bar Association (ABA)

Nine out of 10 practicing attorneys surveyed by the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), the Investor Protection Institute (IPI), and the American Bar Association (ABA) are willing to take part in a new campaign to address the estimated 20 percent of older America ns who have been the victims of investment fraud and financial exploitation.

In releasing the survey findings, the three groups announced that they are launching the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) Prevention Program Legal. The EIFFE Prevention Program Legal will develop, test, and implement a model national continuing legal education (CLE) program to teach lawyers to: (1) recognize clients’ possible vulnerability to EIFFE due to mild cognitive impairment (MCI); (2) identify EIFFE in their clients; and (3) report suspected instances of EIFFE to appropriate authorities. In June 2010, the Investor Protection Trust released a national survey showing that one out five older Americans are victims of financial swindles.

+ Survey Results (PDF)

Smartphone Thefts and Robberies: Growing Trends and Promising Practices

August 11, 2014 Comments off

Smartphone Thefts and Robberies: Growing Trends and Promising Practices (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

These types of thefts and robberies are occurring every day across America, and law enforcement is striving to find innovative ways to combat this growing crime. In a story for the Today show on NBC, Stamford, Connecticut, Police Captain Rick Conklin said that “Apple picking” (slang term for iPhone thefts or robberies) is “a trend that’s actually gaining speed and growing very rapidly.” Every day, criminals snatch phones on crowded streets, inside restaurants, and on subways, reselling them on the Internet, on street corners, and inside local convenience stores. It is estimated that stolen and lost cell phones will cost American consumers approximately $30 billion this year.

A stolen iPhone equates to cash for thieves. In the United States, used iPhones can sell for $50 to $400, and overseas, a stolen iPhone can be sold for as much as $2,000.

Trends in Children’s Exposure to Violence, 2003 to 2011

August 8, 2014 Comments off

Trends in Children’s Exposure to Violence, 2003 to 2011 (PDF)
Source: JAMA Pediatrics

Importance
The study suggests that years of public policy designed to reduce the burden of violence and victimization among youths is having some success.

Objective
To identify trends in children’s exposure to violence, crime, and abuse from 2003 through 2011.

Design, Setting, and Participants
Three national telephone surveys of representative samples of children and caregivers from 2003, 2008, and 2011 were compared, all obtained using the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire; samples included parents of children 2 to 9 years old and youth 10 to 17 years old.

Exposures
Direct and indirect experiences of violence, abuse, and victimization during the previous year.

Main Outcomes and Measures
Change in rates between 2003 and 2011 and between 2008 and 2011.

Results
Of 50 trends in exposure examined, there were 27 significant declines and no significant increases between 2003 and 2011. Declines were particularly large for assault victimization, bullying, and sexual victimization. There were also significant declines in the perpetration of violence and property crime. For the recession period between 2008 and 2011, there were 11 significant declines and no increases for 50 specific trends examined. Dating violence declined, as did one form of sexual victimization and some forms of indirect exposure.

Conclusions and Relevance
Victimization surveys with general population samples confirm patterns seen in police data and adult surveys. Crime and violence have been declining in the child and youth population as well.

CRS — Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832

August 6, 2014 Comments off

Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Stealing a trade secret is a federal crime when the information relates to a product in interstate or foreign commerce, 18 U.S.C. 1832 (theft of trade secrets), or when the intended beneficiary is a foreign power, 18 U.S.C. 1831 (economic espionage). Section 1832 requires that the thief be aware that the misappropriation will injure the secret’s owner to the benefit of someone else. Section 1831 requires only that the thief intend to benefit a foreign government or one of its instrumentalities.

See also: Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832 (PDF)

You Have Been Hacked

August 6, 2014 Comments off

You Have Been Hacked
Source: Holden Security

Over the past 18 months, this was our conversation starter with many companies and individuals. Helping our clients prevent breaches or find their stolen data is our business. If you have been following information security, or even if you haven’t, you have probably heard of Hold Security and our work. In October 2013, we identified a data breach with Adobe Systems. Later in December that year, we independently identified and tracked the Target breach and in February 2014 we identified over 360 million stolen credentials trafficked on the black market. Overall, Hold Security played a role in identifying and helping victims with most of the largest breaches.

In the latest development, Hold Security’s Deep Web Monitoring practice in conjunction with our Credential Integrity Services discovered what could be arguably the largest data breach known to date.

Whether you are a computer expert or a technophobe, as long as your data is somewhere on the World Wide Web, you may be affected by this breach. Your data has not necessarily been stolen from you directly. It could have been stolen from the service or goods providers to whom you entrust your personal information, from your employers, even from your friends and family.

What happened?
After more than seven months of research, Hold Security identified a Russian cyber gang which is currently in possession of the largest cache of stolen data. While the gang did not have a name, we dubbed it “CyberVor” (“vor” meaning “thief” in Russian).

The CyberVor gang amassed over 4.5 billion records, mostly consisting of stolen credentials. 1.2 billion of these credentials appear to be unique, belonging to over half a billion e-mail addresses. To get such an impressive number of credentials, the CyberVors robbed over 420,000 web and FTP sites.

PwC and IRRC Institute Release New Cybersecurity Report; Offers Investors Strategies to Evaluate Risk Amid Opaque Corporate Disclosures

August 4, 2014 Comments off

PwC and IRRC Institute Release New Cybersecurity Report; Offers Investors Strategies to Evaluate Risk Amid Opaque Corporate Disclosures
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

A new report from PwC US and the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi) indicates that while companies must disclose significant cyber risks, those disclosures rarely provide differentiated or actionable information. The report examines key cybersecurity threats to corporations and provides information to investors struggling to evaluate investment risk, business mitigation strategies and the quality of corporate board oversight.

The report suggests that investors focus on corporate preparedness for cyber attacks, engage with highly-likely targets to better understand corporate preparedness, and demand better and more actionable disclosures (though not at a level that would provide a cyber-attacker a roadmap to make those attacks).

The study suggests investors ask the following key questions:

  • Does the company have a Security & Privacy executive who reports to a senior level position within the company?
  • Does the company have a documented cybersecurity strategy that is regularly reviewed and updated?
  • Does the company perform periodic risk assessments and technical audits of its security posture?
  • Can senior business executives explain the challenges of cybersecurity and how their company is responding?
  • What is the organization doing to address security at its business partners?
  • Has the company addressed its sector-based vulnerability to cyber attack?
  • Does the organization have a response plan for a cyber incident?

The study also outlines common motivations for cyber-attacks, by industry sector, based on PwC experience…

Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health
Source: Social Science Research Network/National Bureau of Economic Research

Most governments in the world including the United States prohibit prostitution. Given these types of laws rarely change and are fairly uniform across regions, our knowledge about the impact of decriminalizing sex work is largely conjectural. We exploit the fact that a Rhode Island District Court judge unexpectedly decriminalized indoor prostitution in 2003 to provide the first causal estimates of the impact of decriminalization on the composition of the sex market, rape offenses, and sexually transmitted infection outcomes. Not surprisingly, we find that decriminalization increased the size of the indoor market. However, we also find that decriminalization caused both forcible rape offenses and gonorrhea incidence to decline for the overall population. Our synthetic control model finds 824 fewer reported rape offenses (31 percent decrease) and 1,035 fewer cases of female gonorrhea (39 percent decrease) from 2004 to 2009.

Digital Forensics in the Mobile, BYOD, and Cloud Era

August 1, 2014 Comments off

Digital Forensics in the Mobile, BYOD, and Cloud Era
Source: Deloitte

Quick, decisive action is often crucial to determining the facts and protecting an organization’s interests, whether the impetus is suspected fraud, a whistleblower claim, a lawsuit, or a regulatory inquiry.

Organizations can strengthen their ability to address this diverse array of risks by establishing digital forensics as a standard procedure very early in internal investigations and making sure investigations encompass all possible data sources, while avoiding some potential pitfalls in forensics application.

“Digital forensics in the mobile, bring-your-own-device and cloud era” talks about the 3 potential pitfalls in digital forensics and how important it is to regard digital forensics as a standard procedure, and scope it in as early as possible in an internal investigation.

Why Children are Fleeing Central America

July 31, 2014 Comments off

Why Children are Fleeing Central America (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

Since last October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have fled unspeakable conditions and crossed into the United States. Most have come from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. By year’s end, that number is expected to grow to between 70,000 and 90,000. The Department of Homeland Security is preparing for more than 100,000 children to arrive in 2015. The United States is witnessing a humanitarian crisis in this situation.

Many members of Congress are focusing on detention centers and how fast the United States can send these children back to their home countries. Few are asking this question: What are we sending these children back to? Without addressing the root causes of this crisis, such as poverty and violence, this situation will continue. More and more children will be driven to flee their home countries in search of greater educational and economic opportunities, safer and more stable communities, and a path out of hunger.

This crisis is not just about the surge of new arrivals in the United States. It is also about the conditions of poverty, hunger, and violence that force children to leave their homes on a very dangerous and uncertain journey:

• 75 percent of these children are coming from three countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
• More than half of the citizens of Honduras and Guatemala live on less than $4 a day.
• About half of all Guatemalans suffer from moderately or severely stunted growth.
• Honduras has the highest murder rate per capita in the world. It is almost five times that of Mexico and twice that of Detroit.
• Residents of all ages, including children, in these countries are getting caught in gang-related violence.

EU — Fighting fraud: Major progress in anti-fraud policy but Member States must do more to combat fraud

July 31, 2014 Comments off

Fighting fraud: Major progress in anti-fraud policy but Member States must do more to combat fraud
Source: European Commission

Member States must step up their work to prevent, detect and report fraud affecting EU funds, according to the Commission’s annual report on the protection of financial interests (PIF report). The report sets out detailed recommendations on areas that national authorities should particularly focus on in this respect. The report finds that detected fraud in EU spending accounts for less than 0.2% of all funds. Nevertheless, the Commission believes that greater efforts at national level both on combatting and detecting fraud should be deployed. The annual PIF report therefore recommends, amongst other things, that Member States review their controls to ensure they are risk-based and well-targeted.

On the positive side, the report notes that good progress is being made at national level to implement new rules and policies which will strengthen the fight against fraud in the years ahead. Moreover, at EU level, the past 5 years have seen major advances in shaping a stronger anti-fraud landscape. These initiatives can have a marked impact on fraud levels, once they are fully implemented.

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