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National Criminal Justice Reference Service — Special Feature: Youth Violence

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Special Feature: Youth Violence
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

According to data released by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, juvenile arrests for violent crimes (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) declined 29% between 2006 and 2011 (Juvenile Arrests 2011, December 2013). The number of juvenile court cases involving violent offenses fell 8% between 2008 and 2009 (Juvenile Court Statistics, 2009, July 2012) and 8% between 2009 and 2010 (Juvenile Court Statistics, 2010, June 2013).

The Bureau of Justice Statistics resource, Violent Crime Against Youth, 1994-2010 (December 2012), presents trend data on a number of different points related to the topic. For example, from 1994 to 2010, the rate of serious violent crime occurring on school grounds declined by 62%. Also presented is information on the non-reporting of violent crimes by youth victims. During a 2002-10 period of analysis, the most frequent reasons youth provided for not reporting violence were that the incident was reported to another individual such as a school official (30%), was considered not important enough to the victim to report (15%), or was considered to be a private or personal matter (16%). Another reason youth provided for not reporting the victimization to police was that the offender was a child (7%).

The pages of this Special Feature contain publications and resources on topics related to youth violence and the prevention of such violence.

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Advanced Behavior Recognition in Crowded Environments

September 20, 2013 Comments off

Advanced Behavior Recognition in Crowded Environments (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

This program is designed to increase situational awareness in law enforcement and correctional settings and reliably detect and prevent disorderly conduct and criminal behavior. The program stresses developing a robust probabilistic event modeling framework that takes the uncertainty of low-level image evidence into consideration. The event-explanation and scenario-modeling graphical user interface also makes the program user-friendly. The program has led to developing intelligent video capabilities that can help law enforcement and corrections detect many different types of events and, often, can alert operators to the onset of an event, enabling early detection and possible prevention of critical events.

New Approaches to Understanding and Regulating Primary and Secondary Illegal Firearms

September 20, 2013 Comments off

New Approaches to Understanding and Regulating Primary and Secondary Illegal Firearms (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

This report confirms previous study results showing the usefulness of trace data in policing illicit firearms. The data show that jurisdictions with gun regulations recover fewer illicitly distributed weapons compared to jurisdictions without regulations. The authors suggest that more regulation will reduce the availability and distribution of illicit firearms.

In, Out, and In Again? A Life Course Understanding of Women’s Violent Relationships

September 12, 2013 Comments off

In, Out, and In Again? A Life Course Understanding of Women’s Violent Relationships (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

This research points to two main policy implications. First, it is important to learn whether a woman is leaving a violent relationship or experiences violence across relationships. This will help researchers identify which strategies successfully help women to escape violence. It will also help them develop specific interventions and treatments to help women cope with their violent relationships. Second, given the potentially disastrous effect of childhood victimization, it is important to identify victims of child abuse and address the abuse while the victims are still young and before they enter their own intimate relationships. In these cases, efforts should be made to both prevent child abuse and preemptively address the lifetime effects of such abuse.

A National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts, Final Report

December 6, 2012 Comments off

A National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts, Final Report (PDF)

Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

This report is designed to provide a descriptive overview of initiatives targeting the demand for commercial sex in the United States. It describes the process of gathering the information in this (and other) reports, discusses specific initiatives, and highlights selected communities to illustrate how and why their members have endeavored to address prostitution and sex trafficking by combating demand. The report is intended to serve as an introduction for those considering applying antidemand tactics in their communities, and for those at the state government level who are considering policies, statutes, and infrastructure investments supporting local efforts.

Identifying Challenges to Improve the Investigation and Prosecution of State and Local Human Trafficking Cases

June 27, 2012 Comments off

Identifying Challenges to Improve the Investigation and Prosecution of State and Local Human Trafficking Cases (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

The federal government has taken a number of steps to facilitate state and local responses to the problem of human trafficking. The DOJ publicly tasked the over 17,000 municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies responsible for carrying out routine policing functions of local communities to “be the eyes and ears for recognizing, uncovering and responding to circumstances that may appear to be a routine street crime, but may ultimately turn out to be a human trafficking case” (U.S. Department of Justice, 2004: 5). To support the antitrafficking efforts of this large and diverse pool of local law enforcement agencies, the federal government devoted significant resources to support local law enforcement responses to human trafficking through the funding of multi-agency task forces and police training.

Additionally, in 2004 the DOJ developed the Model State Anti-Trafficking Criminal Statute, which was widely disseminated as the first model state law. The DOJ model legislation covered both “labor,” which absent coercion or force would normally be lawful employment, and “services,” which include unlawful activities such as prostitution. The DOJ model law also criminalized conditions where children are induced into prostitution without the necessity of proving force, fraud or coercion, a departure from most existing state prostitution statutes (Farrell, 2007). However, the model statute included minimal victim service provisions and was confusing for states to implement because it categorized commercial sex acts as “services. These deficiencies prompted human trafficking advocacy groups to develop and publicize alternative model legislation templates (Polaris Project, 2004, 2006, 2010; Freedom Network/Global Rights, 2005), key provisions of which have been adopted by numerous state legislatures.

In the eleven years following the passage of the TVPA, forty-nine states have passed state legislation criminalizing human trafficking and some states have mandated more comprehensive mechanism such as police training, victim services and data collection to improve local identification of victims and response to the crime (Polaris Project, 2011; Center for Women Policy 2011). State anti-trafficking laws differ widely in both the definition of what actions constitute a human trafficking crime and the focus of the state response to the problem. While a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of various legal mechanisms in state legislation is beyond the scope of this study (see Richard 2004; Farrell 2007; Tangaho, 2008; Center for Women Policy Studies, 2011, Polaris Project, 2011 for assessments of state human trafficking legislation), Appendix A provides a breakdown of state anti-trafficking laws and their specific provisions.

See also: National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts, Final Report (PDF)

Post-Conviction DNA Testing and Wrongful Conviction

June 27, 2012 Comments off

Post-Conviction DNA Testing and Wrongful Conviction (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Forensic evidence, particularly fingerprints, has been used for more than a century to aid law enforcement investigations. However, only in the past decade has the use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing to include or eliminate suspects and exonerate those convicted in serious crimes become relatively common. DNA evidence is said to be individualizing because of its power to link a person to a criminal incident. And unlike fingerprints, the probability that questioned evidence from a crime scene matches DNA from a known person can be calculated. In past decades, the investigation of serious crimes that led to a conviction typically did not use individualizing forensic biological evidence such as DNA. Thus, it is possible that some individuals convicted in serious person crimes (sexual assault and homicide) would have been eliminated by a forensic analysis more discriminating than what was available at the time. To estimate the rate of such possible wrongful convictions and to identify their predictors, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in the U.S. Department of Justice funded retrospective DNA testing of physical evidence in cases where there was a conviction of a sexual assault or homicide and physical evidence was retained.

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