Focused deterrence guide

The focused deterrence or “pulling levers” approach to crime reduction has gained popularity over the last 20 years in the U.S. and has been utilized in many jurisdictions. A new POP Guide, available here, summarizes 21 evaluations of the strategy, explains its underlying rationale, and outlines key elements and phases involved in its implementation. The guide emphasizes the importance of starting with careful problem analysis, since “Even if research knowledge suggests that a particular response has proved effective elsewhere, that does not mean the response will be effective everywhere. Local factors matter a lot in choosing which responses to use.”

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Finland is happiest

According to the latest World Happiness Report, Finlanders are happiest among 156 countries while Venezuelans are least happy. By region, North Americans (combined with Australia and New Zealand in this analysis) and Western Europeans are the most happy while South Asians and Sub-Saharan Africans are unhappiest. Over the last decade, happiness has increased the most in Togo, Latvia, and Bulgaria while Syria, Malawi, and Venezuela have seen the biggest drops.

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Toronto police history

Three excerpts from a book chapter on Toronto police history 1834-1875 are posted here, here, and here. Early on the force was “partisan, corrupt, and inept.  There were no standards of recruitment and no training.” City politics were rancorous, with vote buying centered mainly in taverns, and riots were common, especially between Catholics and Protestants. Policing followed the London constabulary system for the first 25 years, but in 1859 switched to a more American-style police force modeled after Boston.

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Interpol abuse by authoritarian regimes

This article reports the 3-week jailing in Cyprus of a Russian anti-corruption activist due to an Interpol “diffusion notice.” A political associate of a Putin opponent, he had been accused of stealing a $3 campaign poster outside Moscow, after which he sought and was given refugee asylum in Lithuania. Last year, human rights groups criticized China for using Interpol to “track down and incarcerate political opponents and dissidents” and Turkey for using it to have journalists arrested and imprisoned.

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Rural crime watch and citizen patrols in Canada

This article reports increased public involvement in crime prevention in rural areas of Alberta, Canada, where reported crime increased 41% from 2013 to 2017. Residents cite limited RCMP coverage and long response times among their concerns. New citizens-on-patrol groups are seeking authorization in 16 communities and 15 new rural crime watch groups are forming.

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Custom Blackberry CEO busted

This article reports a multi-national investigation by the U.S., Canada, and Australia into a company that provided custom Blackberry devices for secure communication within private networks, with encryption and remote “wiping” if a phone was seized by authorities. About 20,000 of the devices are in circulation with a clientele that includes drug cartels and transnational organized crime groups. The company’s CEO was arrested last week.

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Increased violence in Quintana Roo

This article reports an increase in murder, robbery, and business extortion in and around popular Mexico tourist destinations Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel. Analysts attribute the violence to disputes between organized crime groups over territory, drug sales, and rackets, aided by corrupt prosecutors and police. Tourism has not yet declined, but the U.S. government issued travel warnings for the area.

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