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DHS OIG Finds Notorious Felon Allowed to Use TSA PreCheck® Lanes

March 20, 2015 Comments off

DHS OIG Finds Notorious Felon Allowed to Use TSA PreCheck® Lanes (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

A recent report by the DHS Inspector General determined that a convicted felon who had been involved in numerous felonious criminal activities and was also a former member of a domestic terrorist group was permitted to travel with expedited screening through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck®. The report, OIG-15-45 “Allegation of Granting Expedited Screening Through TSA PreCheck® Improperly,” stemmed from a whistleblower disclosure which alleged that a notorious felon was improperly cleared for TSA PreCheck® screening and was allowed to use the PreCheck® lanes.

After an extensive investigation of the allegation and assessment of the TSA PreCheck® initiative, we determined that TSA provided a TSA PreCheck® indicator and barcode on the traveler’s boarding pass. After checking the traveler’s boarding pass and identification, an alert Transportation Security Officer (TSO) at the airport recognized the felon and alerted his supervisor. However, the supervisor directed the TSO to take no action and allow the traveler to continue through the TSA PreCheck® lane.

We determined that this traveler had not applied for TSA PreCheck® through the TSA PreCheck® Application Program, but that TSA granted TSA PreCheck® screening to this passenger through the risk assessment rules in the Secure Flight program.

+ Full Report (Redacted) (PDF)

DHS OIG — U.S. Customs and Border Protection Did Not Effectively Target and Examine Rail Shipments From Canada and Mexico

March 16, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Did Not Effectively Target and Examine Rail Shipments From Canada and Mexico (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

Why We Did This
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the frontline border security agency within Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charged with the priority mission of preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, as well as facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel. We conducted this audit to determine whether CBP effectively targets and examines high-risk rail shipments from Mexico and Canada.

What We Found
CBP did not effectively target and examine rail shipments entering the United States from Mexico and Canada. Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPO) did not always target shipments using the mandatory Automated Targeting System (ATS) targeting criteria. CBPOs also did not always use the required radiation detection equipment to examine high-risk shipments. Finally, CBPOs did not always record the results of their rail cargo examinations in the Cargo Enforcement Reporting and Tracking System (CERTS).

CBPOs were unaware of the correct targeting criteria or inadvertently used inappropriate criteria. In addition, one port did not have the required radiation detection equipment for its rail team, and CBPOs at two other ports used Personal Radiation Detectors to examine shipments. Rail CBPOs also received insufficient training on the use of ATS and CERTS. Finally, Supervisory CBPOs did not provide sufficient oversight to ensure CBPOs followed CBP policy. As a result, CBP may have failed to target or properly examine rail shipments that were at an increased risk to contain contraband or dangerous materials. In addition, CBP has no assurance that decisions to release these high-risk shipments into U.S. commerce were appropriate.

What We Recommend
We made six recommendations which, when implemented, should improve CBP’s processing of rail cargo from Mexico and Canada.

One- and Two-Family, Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2010-2012)

March 7, 2015 Comments off

One- and Two-Family, Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2010-2012)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires (PDF)

  • An estimated 239,100 one- and two-family residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 1,950 deaths, 8,575 injuries, and 5.4 billion dollars in property loss.
  • One- and two-family residential building fires accounted for 65 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Cooking, at 34 percent, was the leading reported cause of one- and two-family residential building fires reported to the fire service. Nearly all one- and two-family residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (89 percent).
  • In 52 percent of nonconfined one- and two-family residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of fire origin. The leading reported causes of these larger fires were other unintentional, careless actions (16 percent); electrical malfunctions (15 percent); and intentional actions (12 percent).
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 23 percent of nonconfined fires in occupied one- and two-family residential buildings. This is a high percentage when compared to the 3 percent of households nationally lacking smoke alarms.

Multifamily Residential Building Fires (PDF)

  • An estimated 103,800 multifamily residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 405 deaths, 4,350 injuries, and 1.2 billion dollars in property loss.
  • Multifamily residential building fires accounted for 28 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Small, confined fires accounted for 70 percent of multifamily residential building fires.
  • Cooking was the leading reported cause of multifamily residential building fires (71 percent); nearly all multifamily residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (95 percent).
  • In 31 percent of nonconfined multifamily residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of origin. The leading reported causes of these larger fires were exposures (12 percent); intentional actions (11 percent); other unintentional, careless actions (11 percent); and electrical malfunctions (11 percent). In contrast, 51 percent of all other nonconfined residential building (excluding multifamily building) fires extended beyond the room of origin.

Residential building fire fatalities and fire injuries (2010–2012)

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Residential building fire fatalities and fire injuries (2010–2012)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Residential fires are of great national importance, as they account for the vast majority of civilian casualties. National estimates for 2010-2012 show that 82 percent of all fire deaths and 78 percent of all fire injuries occurred in residential buildings.

+ Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2010-2012) (PDF)
+ Civilian Fire Injuries in Residential Buildings (PDF)

Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries (2010-2012)

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries (2010-2012) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Report findings

  • An estimated 70,450 firefighter injuries occurred annually. Of these injuries, 31,550 occurred on the fireground, and 4,150 occurred while responding to or returning from an incident.
  • The majority of fire-related firefighter injuries (87 percent) occurred in structure fires. In addition, on average, structure fires had more injuries per fire than nonstructure fires.
  • Injuries resulted in lost work time for 42 percent of firefighters with reported fire-related injuries.
  • Fires resulting in firefighter injuries were more prevalent in July at 12 percent and peaked between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m.
  • Overexertion/Strain was the cause of 27 percent of reported fire-related firefighter injuries.

Heating fires in residential buildings (2010–2012)

February 20, 2015 Comments off

Heating fires in residential buildings (2010–2012) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, heating was the leading reported cause of residential building fires. Since then, the overall number of heating fires has substantially decreased, but heating remained the second reported leading cause from 2010-2012 and accounted for 12 percent of all home fires responded to by fire departments.

Report findings

  • An estimated 45,200 heating fires in residential buildings were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 155 deaths, 625 injuries and $351 million in property loss.
  • Residential building heating fires peaked in the early evening hours from 5 to 9 p.m., with the highest peak from 6 to 8 p.m. This four-hour period accounted for 30 percent of all residential building heating fires.
  • Residential building heating fire incidence peaked in January at 21 percent and declined to the lowest point during the months of June to August. Confined fuel burner/boiler malfunction fires accounted for 56 percent of the heating fires that occurred during these three warmer months.
  • Confined fires, those fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners, accounted for 84 percent of residential building heating fires.
  • The heat source was too close to combustibles in 29 percent of the nonconfined residential building heating fires.

DHS OIG — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternatives to Detention (Revised)

February 18, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Alternatives to Detention (Revised) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

Why We Did This
ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program offers alternatives to detention. We reviewed whether: (1) the rate at which individuals in the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program have absconded or committed criminal acts has been reduced since 2009; (2) ICE can improve the effectiveness of its alternatives to detention program, either by revising or expanding its Intensive Supervision Appearance Program contract, or through other cost-effective means; and (3) ICE’s Risk Classification Assessment is effective.

What We Found
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program is effective because, using its performance metrics, few program participants abscond. However, ICE has changed how it uses the program and no longer supervises some participants throughout their immigration proceedings. As a result, ICE cannot definitively determine whether the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program has reduced the rate at which aliens, who were once in the program but who are no longer participating, have absconded or been arrested for criminal acts. ICE should adjust its performance metrics to reflect changes in its criteria for program participation.

ICE instructed field offices to consider redetaining noncompliant Intensive Supervision Appearance Program participants, but most field offices do not have sufficient funding for detention bed space to accommodate all noncompliant participants. ICE could improve the effectiveness of the program by allocating some Intensive Supervision Appearance Program contract funds to redetain noncompliant participants.

ICE developed a Risk Classification Assessment to assist its release and custody classification decisions. However, the tool is time consuming, resource intensive, and not effective in determining which aliens to release or under what conditions.

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