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Ransomware on the Rise; FBI and Partners Working to Combat This Cyber Threat

February 6, 2015 Comments off

Ransomware on the Rise; FBI and Partners Working to Combat This Cyber Threat
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Your computer screen freezes with a pop-up message—supposedly from the FBI or another federal agency—saying that because you violated some sort of federal law your computer will remain locked until you pay a fine. Or you get a pop-up message telling you that your personal files have been encrypted and you have to pay to get the key needed decrypt them.

These scenarios are examples of ransomware scams, which involve a type of malware that infects computers and restricts users’ access to their files or threatens the permanent destruction of their information unless a ransom—anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars—is paid.

Social Media: Legal Challenges and Pitfalls for Law Enforcement Agencies

February 2, 2015 Comments off

Social Media: Legal Challenges and Pitfalls for Law Enforcement Agencies
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Current statistics regarding individuals’ use of social media are staggering. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Center for Social Media website, Facebook users share approximately 684,478 pieces of content every minute, and the average user creates 90 pieces of content each month, including links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, and videos. Each day 1 million accounts are added to Twitter, and Instagram records approximately a billion “likes” for material posted on the site.

Given the thorough integration of social media into peoples’ lives and the ease with which users instantly share their thoughts, opinions, and “status” with family, friends, and strangers, not surprisingly, some users will post items that other people may find inappropriate. This becomes particularly problematic when an employee of a public safety agency posts or is depicted in such material. Because of the significant adverse effects public safety employees’ misuse of social media can have on them as witnesses, on agency operations, and on the department’s relationship with the community it serves, many police agencies have addressed their employees’ use of social media, whether proactively in the form of policy, reactively in the face of an incident, or both. A former chief of police in Smithfield, Virginia, and past president of the IACP stated, “This is something that all police chiefs around the country, if you’re not dealing with it, you better deal with it.”

See also: 2014 Social Media Survey (International Association of Chiefs of Police)
See also: Making Social Media Part of the Uniform: How policing solutions use #socialmedia to #buildcommunities and #fightcrime (PDF; International Association of Chiefs of Police)

FBI Releases Preliminary Semiannual Crime Statistics for 2014

January 28, 2015 Comments off

FBI Releases Preliminary Semiannual Crime Statistics for 2014
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Statistics released today in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report reveal overall declines in both the number of violent crimes and the number of property crimes reported for the first six months of 2014 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2013. The report is based on information from 11,009 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six months of comparable data to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program for the first six months of 2013 and 2014.

FBI Releases 2013 Crime Statistics from the National Incident-Based Reporting System

December 23, 2014 Comments off

FBI Releases 2013 Crime Statistics from the National Incident-Based Reporting System
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Today, the FBI released details on more than 5.6 million criminal offenses reported via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in 2013. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest report, NIBRS 2013, provides a diverse scope of information about victims, known offenders, and relationships for 23 offense categories (including sex offenses). It also presents arrest data for those offense categories plus 11 more.

Unlike data reported via the Summary Reporting System in Crime in the United States, data in NIBRS 2013 include all offenses within an incident, as well as additional aspects about each event such as location, time of day, and clearances. NIBRS 2013 also provides agency-level offense data by state; however, there are no estimates for agencies that did not submit NIBRS data to the UCR Program.

In 2013, 6,328 law enforcement agencies, representing coverage for more than 92 million U.S. inhabitants, submitted NIBRS data. While not yet nationally representative, this coverage represents 34.4 percent of all law enforcement agencies that participate in the UCR Program.

NIBRS agencies reported 4,927,535 incidents that involved 5,665,902 offenses, 5,980,569 victims, and 4,517,902 known offenders. In addition, these agencies reported 1,533,671 arrestees.

Of the reported offenses, 64.7 percent involved crimes against property (i.e., those crimes in which the object is property), 22.8 percent involved crimes against persons, (i.e., crimes whose victims are always individuals), and 12.6 percent included crimes against society (i.e., typically “victimless crimes” that represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity, such as gambling).

FBI Releases 2013 Hate Crime Statistics

December 8, 2014 Comments off

FBI Releases 2013 Hate Crime Statistics
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Today, the FBI released Hate Crime Statistics, 2013, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s first publication to present data collected under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009. Accordingly, the bias categories of gender (male and female) and gender identity (transgender and gender nonconforming) have been added to the other bias categories of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

Other new aspects of the report include the presentation of age categories to indicate whether hate crimes were committed by or directed toward juveniles. In addition, the data for the 2013 report were collected and published in accordance with the U.S. Government, Office of Management and Budget’s revised categories for race and ethnicity, as well as the FBI UCR Program’s revised definition of rape in the Summary Reporting System.

FBI Releases 2013 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

December 2, 2014 Comments off

FBI Releases 2013 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

According to statistics collected by the FBI, 76 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2013. Of these, 27 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 49 officers died in accidents. In addition, 49,851 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults. Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks and selected assaults resulting in injury are included in the 2013 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, released today.

FBI Releases 2013 Crime Statistics

November 10, 2014 Comments off

FBI Releases 2013 Crime Statistics
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased 4.4 percent in 2013 when compared with 2012 data, according to FBI figures released today. Property crimes decreased 4.1 percent, marking the 11th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.

The 2013 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 367.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,730.7 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate declined 5.1 percent compared to the 2012 rate, while the property crime rate declined 4.8 percent.

These and additional data are presented in the 2013 edition of the FBI’s annual report Crime in the United States. This publication is a statistical compilation of offense and arrest data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

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