Archive for the ‘social and cultural issues’ Category

Infrastructure 2014: Shaping the Competitive City

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Infrastructure 2014: Shaping the Competitive City (PDF)
Source: Urban Land Institute

How do real estate developers and investors — who could pursue opportunities regionally, nationally, or internationally—think about infrastructure? How do city leaders use infrastructure investments to position their cities for real estate investment and economic development? What role does infrastructure play relative to other economic development strategies? And are public and private perceptions and priorities aligned—or do they diverge, and in what ways?

To provide answers, researchers for Infrastruc – ture 2014 crafted a series of survey questions and asked high-level public officials and private real estate leaders to weigh in. Nearly 250 public sector leaders in local and regional government and over 200 senior-level private developers, in – vestors, and real estate advisers responded to the survey. About 86 percent of survey respondents were based in the United States, with the balance located in countries across the globe.

Nearly every city aspires to grow, and high- quality infrastructure—infrastructure that is well maintained, reliable, safe, resilient, and customer friendly—contributes to well-functioning, growth-primed cities—cities that attract new residents and retain existing ones.

Infrastructure—the physical facilities and systems that support economic activity—is often seen as a driver of real estate and development, especially by those who are in the business of pro – viding it. But do the people actually building and investing in real estate agree? The Infrastructure 2014 survey tells us “yes”—and a number of other interesting things as well.

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How Much Crime is Drug-Related? History, Limitations, and Potential Improvements of Estimation Methods

September 22, 2014 Comments off

How Much Crime is Drug-Related? History, Limitations, and Potential Improvements of Estimation Methods (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service
From NCJRS abstract:

Goldstein’s model of drug-related crime identifies three categories of DAFs: “economic-compulsive” (crimes committed to obtain money for buying drugs); “psychopharmacological” crime (crimes committed due to the effect of drugs, such as assaults and homicides); and “systemic” crime (crimes committed by individuals and organizations in the course of operating a drug-trafficking enterprise). In addition to these three categories of DAFs, this paper proposes four additional types of DAFs indirectly related to drug supply and demand. Although these drug-related harmful effects may not involve specific law violations, they constitute part of the cost of drug supply and consumption. One of the four additional drug-related costs to society is the diminishment of positive contributions to society the drug-user might have provided had he/she not become dependent on drugs. A second indirect effect pertains to the adverse impacts the drug-user has on his/her children and other family members because of drug dependence. A third indirect effect is the impact of drug market activities on the neighborhood environment and constructive influence. The fourth indirect cost of drug use is the general diminishment of the informal ability of a society to mold the moral development of its members and thus deter crime. 3 figures and 53 references

Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings, 2014

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Analysis of Recent Mass Shootings, 2014
Source: Everytown for Gun Safety

Using FBI data and media reports, Everytown for Gun Safety developed an analysis of mass shootings that took place between January 2009 and July 2014. The analysis found that there have been at least 110 mass shootings in this five and a half-year period.
The FBI defines a “mass shooting” as any incident where at least four people were murdered with a gun. Below are some of the report’s more surprising findings:

  • Mass shootings represent a small share of total US firearm homicides.
  • There is a strong connection between mass shooting incidents and domestic or family violence: at least 57% of mass shootings surveyed were related to domestic or family violence.
  • Perpetrators of mass shootings are generally older than perpetrators of gun violence in the US as a whole. While the median age of known overall gun murderers in the U.S. is 26, the median age of perpetrators of mass shootings was 34.

AU – Male victims of non-sexual and non-domestic violence: Service needs and experiences in court

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Male victims of non-sexual and non-domestic violence: Service needs and experiences in court (PDF)
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

While a great deal of research has been undertaken into female victims of violence, male-focused victimology research undertaken in Australia and internationally is scant. This means it is currently unclear what the support needs of male victims are and if these support needs are being met by the currently available services and programs.

The findings of this report derive from a study commissioned by the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice Victims Services that sought to address this knowledge gap by exploring the experiences and support needs of male victims of violence (excluding sexual assault and domestic violence) living in New South Wales.

The study involved a comprehensive review of the currently available literature and interviews and focus groups with criminal justice and support service representatives who have contact with male victims of violence as part of their everyday work.

DHS OIG — The DHS Visa Security Program

September 22, 2014 Comments off

The DHS Visa Security Program (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Visa Security Program is intended to prevent terrorists, criminals, and other ineligible applicants from receiving visas. DHS assigns special agents with expertise in immigration law and counterterrorism to U.S. diplomatic posts overseas to perform visa security activities. We reviewed the program’s effectiveness in preventing ineligible applicants from receiving U.S. visas; DHS’ annual reporting to Congress on the program’s expansion; and the efforts to expand the program to additional overseas posts, including the potential impact of a new initiative, the Pre‐Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is required to employ mechanisms that measure and accurately report the program’s performance to determine its value. However, current performance measures for the Visa Security Program do not include key aspects to determine its effectiveness. In addition, ICE has not taken actions to assure that (1) data needed to assess program performance is collected and reported, (2) consular officers receive appropriate advice and training, and (3) Visa Security Program hours are tracked and used to determine staffing and funding needs. Without these types of information, ICE cannot ensure that the Visa Security Program is operating as intended.

DHS has consistently delivered their annual reports to Congress late, reducing their usefulness. ICE should take appropriate steps to ensure that Congress receives future reports in a timely manner.

To date, ICE has established only 20 visa security units. Congressional leaders have repeatedly expressed concerns that the program has not expanded to more visa‐issuing posts. ICE’s responses to these concerns have stressed funding challenges, a limited number of trained special agents, and Department of State challenges to make space and provide support for DHS’ overseas presence.

According to ICE officials, a solution to the program’s slow expansion may be the Pre‐ Adjudicated Threat Recognition and Intelligence Operations Team. ICE officials explained that this new initiative will eventually be capable of screening visa applications from all visa‐issuing posts. However, because it was still being tested at the time of our review, we were not able to determine its effectiveness.

We are making 10 recommendations to improve the Visa Security Program. ICE concurred with each of the recommendations.

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The once-tiny population of Vietnamese immigrants in the United States has grown to become the country’s sixth largest foreign-born group in the span of several decades, with the first wave beginning at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. This data profile examines the Vietnamese immigrant population by size, recency of arrival, top states and cities of settlement, college education, sending of remittances, and much more.

New Census Data Show Few Metro Areas Made Progress Against Poverty in 2013

September 22, 2014 Comments off

New Census Data Show Few Metro Areas Made Progress Against Poverty in 2013
Source: Brookings Institution

Newly released Census Bureau data confirm that, four years into an official economic recovery, the nation’s largest metro areas continued to struggle with stubbornly high poverty levels even amid improving employment numbers.


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