30 January 2009

Old Style Street Revolts seem to have rattled Sarko

Charles Bremner scoffs in the Times. Now I'm seriously worried. If he's being patronising about the return of the Trots, its inevitable. And I have been very rude about them in the past. Oops!

Europe: Dress Rehearsal for Revolution

My first reaction was to smile paternally at this piece. But then I remembered a recent French piece on the same theme. Obama seems to have pushed crime off the radar for a while, but there is a European tradition of mass unrest. What did the theorists say? Its relative deprivation that matters..when expectations continue to rise but the economy/government's ability declines is when political violence/ revolutionary ferment occurs. Well, this is a classic case, surely. What goes around comes around...Maybe its time to be less complacent. What is the role of organised crime in times of relative deprivation? Anyone fancy joining me to see if we can get a research grant?????

Moscow Times Crimewatch blog

By Carl Schreck. I dont know if this will update itself but I havent spotted a URL for the blog. Idiosyncratic take on crime in Russia. I hope it stays up!

India's Backlash Against Women

Hindu extremists attacking pubs. Demanding the same sort of changes that we may yet see here..."For women's own good". The Taliban are among us! This seemed a good post to follow the previous one about women and crime. "If they'd only stop drinking and clubbing all the problems would go away..." I'm sure the Sun will be able to find a bishop to say something like this...but it wont stop page 3. Ah how confused we all are! I hear a moral panic coming down the road...

Arrests of Teenage Girls and Women Reach Record Levels

Would like to see some comparisons witht the rest of Europe, and wonder how much of this is a change in police attitudes and how much a change in female behaviour. Arrests now much more common because it allows the taking of a DNA sample and that often seems to be the goal rather than preventing future offences. In other words: I blame David Blunkett and the Home Office for their fascination with hi-tech measures and databases.
Was Roy Jenkins the only decent Home Secretary we ever had? That's another discuss question for the finals paper!

29 January 2009

Police force reports massive reduction in gang crime

Greater Manchester's Operation Cougar hailed as a success. Massive inter-agency cooperation. let's hope it can be sustained.
But in later news, a danger of contempt of court, so shhhhh: http://tinyurl.com/b6ar59 Unfortunately th Independent doesnt tell us why!

Off! the Rapid Rise and Fall of Britain's Flashiest Referee

Every Everton supporter will celebrate the demise of Clattenburg for his disgraceful display in the Merseyside derby of October 2007 documented in this article. But for the Independent to put this in the Crime section seems a little harsh. Peers of the realm get away with much more after all, as do cabinet ministers on occasion. He is appealing [well, in the legal sense, anyway].

28 January 2009

Six arrested in £420 million fraud case

Spanish police arrest 6 people alleged to be connected to AIM-listed Langbar group. supposed to have talked up the value of the shares and sold them. Details in the article.

27 January 2009

The Johnsons: "britain's number 1 crime family"?

Interesting interview with the head of a family of travellers ahead of a BBC programme "Catching Britain's Biggest Thieves".

22 January 2009

EU aid to post-Soviet states has limited impact

EU aid to Melarus, ukraine and Moldova to fight human trafficking, corruption and smuggling achieving little, Court of Auditors say.

Gazproms $1billion gift to Tymoshenko

This isnt really crime, but its such a different take on things that I feel like including it on the blog for general interest.

Gang "tried to steal £229 million from bank"

It will make a great film. Allegedly, a security guard smuggles Belgian hackers into a Japanese bank in London. They installed cloning software to steal passwords, then returned at night to try to transfer money into bank accounts elsewhere in the world.

BBC take on crime figures

Lots of good links from this article, so I have given it a separate posting.

More on crime figures

Aha! Violent crime figures in dispute because police have been under-recording in 18 constabularies including Met. Nevertheless, overall figures continue to decline

19 January 2009

The Recession Crimewave

Article in Independent arguing that burglary robbery up significantly in UK in final four months of year, according to individual constabulary figures. The size of the increase suggests another change in methodology has occurred, but the Indy insists it's the credit crunch. When interviewed, police spokespersons disagreed.

The end of mob rule

Article from The Observer magazine that argues that the Mafia in the US is in terminal decline. Except that the author covers himself right at the end. he may only be talking about the Gotti family and the credit crunch may re-empower the loan shark. Worth a read to tease out the arguments, though.

16 January 2009

Togo sends "drug smuggler" to US

Solano Cortez Jorge, suspected Colombian drug smuggler to be extradited to US. He and seven others arrested last October. 500K of cocaine allegedly seized. West Africa has become part of the smuggling network in recent years.

EU Security database upgrade could be scrapped

This is the Schengen Information System II. Plagued by idiots who believe IT salesmen and try to get it to do too much! This article mentions some of the specific problems, but there are a number of others. These deal primarily with the compatibility of Member States hardware and software systems, but there are legal problems too. But one suspects that somehow, there will be a way of fudging through.

15 January 2009

Ketamine tops cocaine as new drug of choice [in UK]

Consequence of the credit crunch? Its cheaper. Drugscope report claims that the middle classes also see it as safe.

Rio police claim drug gangs cleared from the City of God

Pilot project to combat organised crime in the favelas

Swindlers fund growing market in foreclosures

New York Times piece on fraudsters trying to con homeowners into paying money to avoid foreclosure...which doesnt avoid it at all. There are, apparently legitimate cpm[anies in this sector...and total scammers. Surprise, surprise, the sector isnt properly regulated. Coming across the Atlantic soon, if not here already.

14 January 2009

Police crack China baby sale gang

Police in Hunan province have cracked a gang that abducted toddlers to sell in other provinces.

12 January 2009

Satyam: Good news bad news

Good news is there has been a rebound in the share price, demonstrating confidence in the Government's rescue package. Bad news is that the World Bank has revealed it blacklisted the company in September.

Islamist rebels clash in Somalia

lots of column inches about pirates but little on the militias as Ethiopia withdraws. There's a new centre of jihadism developing in Somalia. Other articles linked from this piece, the most relevant of wjich is at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7803564.stm

On the Trail of Pakistan's Taliban

Excellent piece from the Guardian Weekend magazine. It charts the change of heart at the top of the government of Pakistan, the creation of a new investigative unit with Uk and Us support and identifies the key players. Baitullah Mehsud and his clan emerge as the source of the suicide bombers. Qetta, capital of Baluchistan is the epicentre of activity, but Baitullah Mehsud's organisation spread throughout Pakistan during the Musharraf era. The Mehsud clan is from central Waziristan.
The article finishes with a discussion of funding and crime. The insurrection is estimeated to cost £8.5 million a year to run, and funding comes from protection rackets, road tolls, kidnapping and bank robberies.

11 January 2009

Striking the Brothels' Botom Line

Hitting sex trafficking by attacking the brothel business model. "Raise the operating costs, create a risk of jail and the human traffickers will quite sensibly shift to some other trade. "

Eight Years Of Madoffs

Powerful opinion piece from the New York Times. How much fraud and deceit have occurred in Federal Government in the last 8 years?

Satyam fraud update

Satyam is a major Indian outsourcing company. A third of the Fortune 500 are its clients and it employs 53,000 people. I'm looking for more details of the fraud, but the founding brothers and the chief financial officer are under arrest. I have seen refrences to "India's Madoff"

War on What?

Book review of "The Search For Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future". Raymond Bonner is the reviewer. He seems surprised by the argument that al Qaeda is a political phenomenon as he thinks it's a criminal one. Maybe he's the wrong reviewer then? Distilling the review; the book may not be original but it is short. Nevertheless, it is a must read because it touches all the necessary bases that future policy makers will have to address.

10 January 2009

Is the number of trafficked call girls a myth?

Article claims that Fiona MacTaggart said 80% or prostitutes trafficked. She didn't and if you read the article you will see what she actually said.
But it is correct to say that no-one knows how many prostitutes in the UK have been trafficked

Lloyds pays$350 million to end US case

Let me see now. Lloyds admits criminal conduct according to the BBC. It faked records so that business could be done with US institutions by organisations against whom the US had declare sanctions. Wonder if anyone in the US will be busted for this? Guardian article has more detail: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jan/10/lloyds-forfeits-350m-to-us
No UK law was broken.

"stolen goods" fear in downturn

Interesting and researchable hypothesis proposed here. More and cheaper goods being stolen from cars in Gwent because market for them must have expanded. My own suspicion is that they may have a new group of chaotic drug users...but we as academics should be devising measurement tools to make these conclusions a bit more scientific, shouldn't we?

Police investigate "mafiosi" in Lancashire

Alleged senior members of the Camorra living in Catterall near Preston and in Chorley. Investigation ongoing.

09 January 2009

Colombian Drug Baron assassinated

Leonidas Vargas Vargas shot dead in hospital bed in Madrid. Head of the Caqueta cartel.

08 January 2009

SFO opens UK Madoff investigation

Stable doors and horses spring to mind. But at least it will keep them out of BAE's hair...What resources do they have? How many cases can they investigate simultaneously?

U.S. Plans border "surge" against any drug wars

Chertoff bequeaths his successor a "plan" for if and when Mexican drug wars spill North. Lets see...this is to back up his fence that turned amateur illegal immigration into professionalized trafficking and from the man who pushed the stick into the hornets' nest in the first place without a plan for the consequences, or even a risk profile. Wonder who is to succeed him?

07 January 2009

"IRA men" on trial for blackmail

Interesting trial. Is the defendants previous record being revealed because this is alleged to be a terrorist trial? If so, this has implications for the peace process. If not, then their previous convictions shouldnt be revealed and they already have grounds for appeal.

But the trial may give an insight into how far the protection racket reached and how it worked. The article alleges that the two victims raised money using the name of the IRA...Murky waters here, I fear, unless it's a misprint. Will keep you posted.

06 January 2009

Drugs porn and kidnapping scandals in the US most dangerous sport

Irresistible, I'm afraid! Ive heard of white collar crime, but there will soon be a criminological theory of all this stuff too...

Police launch online neighbourhood crime maps

There appear to be some bugs in the system. I had an incompatibility with Adobe report. Quite how these maps are going to make the streets safer, I really havent a clue, but I suppose it's cheaper than investing in real police officers!
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/ia/atlas.html is the URL for the master map. It doesnt go down to neighbourhoods, just to Basic Command Units. City was the lowest level I was able to reach locally, but maybe its too sophisticated for me. I was expecting something a little more like one of those house price maps. Silly me!
BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7811742.stm

04 January 2009

France braced for "rebirth of violent left"

"The Coming Insurrection" is apparently a pamphlet on how to carry out an insurrection. Scaremongering? Sounds awfully like it, but one to keep an eye on.

01 January 2009

Honey laundering

If you werent aware of the collapse of bee colonies in the US and Europe, then you should be. Now you can worry about disguised imports of contaminated honey from China, too...

Facing Down the Camorra

Letter to the Guardian which refers to a demonstration on 20th December 2008 to show solidarity with writer Roberto Saviano, author of Gomorrah, who is under threat of death from the Camorra.
There are Facebook groups supporting him and a social networking website, originally created to organise the demonstration: www.iosonosaviano.ning.com
A database is also being created
The website is, of course, in Italian